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February is the busiest month of the year for the Mexico Cricket Association and 2008 has been no different with the four MCA teams in the middle of a hotly contested 2008 League Championship while preparations are also underway for the year’s biggest fund-raising event, the Spring Ball, on March 8.
The Ball, which usually attracts around 200 members and guests to the Reforma Athletic Club, is a black tie dinner held in conjunction with a tour match between the MCA and the Houston Memorial Cricket Club. The proceeds of ticket sales and raffles contribute the lion’s share of the MCA’s income during the year and this year’s event already appears to be a financial success with strong ticket sales and solid support from the business community led by British Airways, who are offering a free return ticket to London for one of the club’s raffles.
The matches between the MCA first and second teams and the Houston Club – with a social round of golf as prelude – promise to be enormously competitive as Houston will be keen to reclaim the trophy wrested from their grasp when a MCA team toured last November. This was only the second time in 29 years the team from Mexico was successful in beating Houston on the American club’s home turf.
February has also been notable for the competitive nature of the 2008 League Championship, which has been thrown wide open by recent matches. Michael Farrant’s MCCC team got away to a strong start in the competition with two wins from two matches but suffered its first defeat at the hands of Taundeep Singh’s Corinthians. The MCCC was coming off a strong win against Umesh Matta’s Aztecs, the winners of the Brian Gay Trophy competition during the first half of the season, but had their hopes of a third win dashed by a strong performance by Corinthians who secured their first points of the League Championship.
MCCC remains head of the League table with two wins from three matches – with Aztecs, Corinthians, and Kevin Bhuller’s Reforma team each with one win.
Cricket’s presence in Mexico City continues to receive a boost from informal games of cricket and practice drills being undertaken at an enclosed “futbol rapido” soccer pitch in Coyoacan, in the city’s south. Locals passing by one of the city’s major parks are often intrigued to see MCA cricketers, replete with helmets and pads, fending off rising deliveries that jump from an artificial wicket put down over the concrete court. The cricketers are often asked to explain in Spanish what their sport is called and its objectives, providing a street level showcase for the game in one of the world’s biggest cities.
Assistant editor Will opted against a lifetime of head-bangingly dull administration in the NHS, where he had served for two years. In 2005 came a break at Cricinfo where he slotted right in as a ferociously enthusiastic tea drinker and maker, with a penchant for using "frankly" and "marvellous". He also runs The Corridor, a cricket blog where he can be found ranting and raving about all things - some even involving the sport. He is a great-great nephew of Sir Jack Newman, the former Wellingtonian bowler who took two wickets at 127 apiece for New Zealand.