Villagers bowled over by the men from Skid Row
Batting for America: Homeless XI rises to challenge at the birthplace of English cricket
Saturday 23 September 1995
A team of homeless cricketers from Los Angeles made their mark on the birthplace of English cricket yesterday when they bowled out the home team's long-standing captain.
The LA Krickets, who have played the game for only two-and-a-half months, travelled to Hambledon in Hampshire, from "skid row" as part of a project to raise awareness about homelessness.
The homeless XI comprised eight residents of the Dome Village, a long- term homelessness project which provides igloo-shaped housing to replace some of the area's shacks.
They brought with them only three professional players for support, including Stephen Speak, the former Lancashire Second XI captain who now lives in southern California.
Villagers and Hambledon cricketers alike were taken aback by the team's talent as the local side found its retiring captain sent for an early lunch with a score of 20 runs. "If I were a talent scout then I'd have my eye on a few of these men," one onlooker said.
Mike Donaldson, who was waiting to bat, agreed. "They're definitely better than we ever thought they would be three months ago when the idea was first suggested to us," he said. "We heard that they were total beginners and I didn't expect this sort of competition."
Earlier in the year the homeless men had been presented with a signed cricket bat from Hambledon by members of South Coast Metropol, a regional partnership which visited Los Angeles to forge links with businesses and communities there. The bat intrigued the residents of Dome Village so much that they decided they would try to play the sport.
"When we asked they told us it would be very difficult to learn but then the Hambledon game was arranged before we even knew how to play," said Tom Fitzpatrick, a project volunteer. "Then it suddenly became a challenge - we had all been used to playing basketball for so long and then we had to learn cricket from the beginning."
The homeless XI formed and began its coaching regime of seven hours a week with Leo Magnus, assistant manager of the United States cricket team and director for the Southern California Cricket Association.
"These boys have had to put in a tremendous amount of effort to learn the game," Mr Magnus said. "And it certainly wasn't easy to teach them the rudiments. The most difficult thing was to instil in them that cricket is not baseball, like how to bowl and not throw the ball and how to bat without lifting the bat like in baseball."
Two-and-a-half months later the team arrived in England and secured a win and a draw in three low-key matches across the country. Yesterday the LA Krickets lost to Hambledon in a limited overs match. They were 165 all out, in response to their hosts' total of 193 for 6. The tour concludes tomorrow with a friendly match against Bournemouth Cricket Club.
- 4 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Who should I vote for in the general election? Take The Independent's interactive quiz to find out which party is the right choice for you
Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
Met Gala 2015: Jason Derulo falling over in epic fashion, the event's most talked about moment, wasn't what it seemed
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...