The Shelter Island Cricket Club will play its sixth annual match on Saturday, July 29 at the Island Boatyard on Shelter Island. This, the only cricket game on the East End, will raise money for the Shelter Island Ambulance Foundation. Sporting several tents that serve refreshments, along with activities for kids, the match has become a major event on “The Rock.”
Shelter Island’s was the last ambulance corps to be run by the American Red Cross. Management of the corps was turned over to the town of Shelter Island in 2012. The Ambulance corps serves Shelter Island’s population of 2,400, which surges to 10,000 in the summer. The annual match usually raises upwards of $15,000, which goes directly to fund the ambulance corps’s $100,000 operating budget for new equipment, ambulances and training volunteers.
The Shelter Island Cricket Club was founded in 2012. David Shillingford, the club’s co-founder says, “There are a lot of expats on the island, particularly British people, and we always talked about getting a game of cricket going. However, we needed a pitch, and a landscaper offered to help us if we raised money for an island charity, and that’s how it all started.”
The match has always been played at the Island Boatyard, located at the south end of the island. Along with help from the Boatyard, the match has key sponsors who keep it running. Shillingford says, “We really have three major sponsors that help put this all together. The Boatyard itself lets us play on the pitch that we created there. SALT, the restaurant and bar at the boatyard, provides all the food and beverages. Also, Shelter Island Party Rental donates two large tents that make a huge difference for the match.” Shillingford says the match raises money, “Primarily through donations. We also have sponsors that help raise money and set up the event. We also make a bit of money from selling food and drink, along with Shelter Island Cricket Club merchandise such as hats and T-shirts which are designed by Shelter Island artist John Yang.” The Cricket Club has monetary sponsors: 12 corporate sponsors, such as Apple Bank, along with over 20 family sponsors, which donate funds to the club.
Up to 500 spectators come out to support the match. Though many of the attendees come from Shelter Island, the match draws spectators from all around the East End.
The club has roughly 60 members, divided into two teams: the “Shelter Island” squad, which consists of members who live on or near Shelter Island, and the “Rest of the World” squad, which sports players from as far as the United Kingdom.
Shillingford says, “Everyone who plays in the match grew up playing cricket, and those who play it are passionate about it. I think it’s nice for these guys to play a game of cricket when they thought they would never play again. The majority of the fundraisers around the island are done by people that live on the island year-round, so it’s nice to have an event where the money and effort is coming from people that don’t live on the island year-round.”
Come see the Shelter Island Cricket Club play 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 29 at the Island Boatyard on 65 Menantic Road, Shelter Island. If you can’t make it to the match but would like to donate, visit sicricket.com.