LHS Coach and His Family Savor Annual End-of-Summer Cricket Event

Growing up in Bermuda, Derek Dane and his family had a tradition of following up their Caribbean nation’s Cricket Cup Match with a cricket event of their own each August.

The longtime Londonderry High School varsity girls’ soccer coach and his family conducted their 10th Annual Cricket Classic at the Dane family home in Derry last weekend.

Members of the Dane family ranging in age from elementary schoolers to the 50-something.

Dane himself and his wife Karen broke out the cricket equipment and used a makeshift field which included their driveway to maintain the family tradition which began in Bermuda decades ago.

“This is a great family gathering,” said Dane. “We all go off and do our own things throughout the summer, but we all know that we’ll be coming back together here for this in August.”

The event also included some great Caribbean and classic American food timed around the cricket action. Along with family members, those folks include invited guests, some of whom have attended a number of the cricket events.

The two-day annual National Cricket Cup Match back in Bermuda is played during the first weekend of August, with the West End squad from the St. George area of the island facing off against the East End contingent from the Somerset section of the island nation.

“Everything in the country comes to a stop. Restaurants, stores, hotels are all closed for those two days,” said Dane. “Around late July you start to see people flying colors (hanging flags and wearing their side’s colors) for their team, and it’s an exciting thing.”

The Cup Matches are good-natured but still very competitive events, with bragging rights up for grabs for the two geographic areas for one year.

In the wake of that excitement, the Dane family began having their own cricket events during the second weekend in August decades ago. Ten years ago, the LHS coach – who is also a math teacher at the Hood Middle School in Derry – resumed the tradition of having late summer cricket events here in the states with his clan.

Several years ago, Dane’s mom and sister and family friends were up from Bermuda for the annual event, which only heightened the fun of the gathering.

Cricket is a centuries-old game played with a bat and ball on a large field – known as a ground – between two teams of 11 players each.

Much like baseball, the object of the game is to score runs when at bat and to put out, or dismiss, opposing batsmen when in the field. But like baseball, the rules of cricket are pretty involved and can be challenging to learn.

The origin of the sport is unknown, but it’s believed that its name was derived from the Old English “cryce,” which means “stick.” In its most basic form, the game resembled the 13th century game known as “club-ball.”

Cricket evolved in England in the 18th century, mainly because of the interest of great landowners who tried out their athletic skills on a field of play with their tenants and the local peasants.

The game was carried forth to English colonies like India, South Africa, Australia, and Bermuda where it was picked up by the natives who, in many cases, got even better at it than the Englishmen.

According to cricket-rules.com, cricket first appeared in North America way back in 1859 when an All-England team toured Canada and the United States. Today, it lives on in various areas in the United States, and cricket remains part of a summer tradition – carried from the Caribbean – by the Dane family of Derry.