The fifth installment of the Shelter Island Cricket Club’s annual cricket match will take place on Saturday, July 30, at the Island Boatyard. The East End’s lone cricket event is dedicated to raising money for the Shelter Island Ambulance Foundation.
The fundraising match is the only game that the Shelter Island Cricket Club (SICC) plays each year. David Shillingford, the club’s co-founder, says the event raises money “From donations by local families and businesses. We sell Shelter Island Cricket Club merchandise, do a 50-50 raffle, and make a little money on the food and drink”—all of which goes to the Ambulance Foundation to support the Shelter Island Ambulance Corps. In previous years, money from the foundation has gone towards training volunteers and providing new equipment and ambulances to serve Shelter Island’s population of 2,400, which swells to 10,000 during the summer season.
Over 300 spectators came out to last year’s match—the first time that a Shelter Island Ambulance was needed at the game. Luckily, the injured player turned out fine. On that day alone, over $15,000 was raised, bringing the Cricket Club’s 4-year total contribution to the Foundation close to $65,000.
SICC was founded in 2012 by Shillingford and Gareth Jones. As Shillingford tells it, “For years we would all stand around the barbecue each summer and bemoan the fact that we no longer played cricket and that we should get a game going on the island. We’re not very good at it anymore, but we still wanted to play it.”
They decided to make the game about more than just cricket. The Shelter Island Ambulance Corps had previously been the only ambulance corps in the country operating under the auspices of the American Red Cross. In early 2012, the Shelter Island Ambulance Corps was turned over to the Town of Shelter Island. “They were just in the process of taking it over, so when I chatted to a couple of people on the island about what we might raise money for, they immediately said to do it for the Ambulance Corps. That was fortunate timing,” Shillingford says.
The club consists of roughly 60 members, 30 to 40 of whom play in the annual game. The players divide into two teams: the “Shelter Island” squad versus “The Rest of the World.” There’s only one member of the club who lives on Shelter Island and a handful of others who own property there. The rest of the players are renters and others with links to the Shelter Island community. Those with the closest ties to Shelter Island get to play for the “Shelter Island” side, while the remaining club members play for “The Rest of the World.”
“The players come from all sorts of different professions and walks of life, all different ages and different countries. It’s a bit like New York itself, it’s a real melting pot,” says Chaloner Chute, the game’s umpire and co-owner of Chaloners of the Hamptons, a property maintenance service. No club members were born in the United States, as most players come from countries like England where cricket is a more popular sport. Thus, ironically, nearly the entire club is from “The Rest of the World.”
The match has quickly become one of the best family-friendly community events on the Island. Shillingford says, “There are six or seven tents set up around the outside [of the playing field] serving food and beer and other drinks. [There are] games set up for kids. It’s a fun day. Most people come and they stay for a while. It’s a nice way to spend a couple of hours on a sunny summer afternoon.”
He continues, “Finding the Island Boatyard as a venue was a stroke of luck. They’ve been very generous with not only their real estate, but also their time. And SALT [Waterfront Bar and Grill] does a fantastic job with the food and drinks and it helps us raise money.”
The Shelter Island Cricket Match is a fun way to help a worthy cause. “It’s enlightened self-interest,” Chute jokes about the motivations of the older club members, “because no doubt in a few years, they’ll all need the ambulance.”
So bring your family (and your dog) out for one of the only cricket events in all of Suffolk County, enjoy the marina views, and grab delectable food and drinks while you’re there.
Check out “Shelter Island vs. The Rest of the World” on Saturday, July 30 at the Island Boatyard, 65 South Menantic Road. If you’re drawn to the cause but can’t make the game, donations can be made at sicricket.com.