The Hungarian Cricket Association (HCA) hosts its first Corporate Day tournament with the participation of teams from international companies this Sunday, September 16. The event, at which spectators are welcome, aims to collect funds for native Hungarian players and raise the domestic profile of the world’s second most popular sport.
Originally slated to take place a year ago, the event then fell foul of the traditional bane of cricketers worldwide: rain. But with the forecast fair for this weekend, the event is finally set to take off on Sunday at the HCAʼs dedicated GB Oval ground in Sződliget, 25 km north of Budapest.
Four teams are confirmed to take part, from Indiaʼs Tata Consultancy Services, the local unit of telco Nokia, Budapest-based gentlemenʼs custom tailoring boutique Stan Ahuja, and the Unique Cricket Training (UCT) cricket academy from Dubai, frequent visitors to Budapest. Organizers hope to add a fifth team by Sunday.
All the six-a-side teams will play each other short six-over games in a round-robin format. Matches will use soft rubber rather than hard cricket balls, each game lasting around 30 minutes.
Cups will be awarded to the Winners and Runners-Up, as well as special cups for Cricket Skills and Spirit of Cricket. All participants will also receive commemorative medals.
Iain Lindsay OBE, Her Majestyʼs Ambassador to Hungary and a keen fan of the game, is slated to make an appearance during the day-long event, starting at 10.30 a.m. and running until approximately 5 p.m.
“Cricket is a fantastic team game with an emphasis on traditional spirit and sportsmanship, and is a perfect opportunity for companies and organizations to promote teambuilding among their employees,” says event coordinator Paul Ainsworth, a freelance chief financial officer and keen cricketer.
Changing rooms, toilets and basic washing facilities are available in the pavilion. Funds raised from the event will enable the HCA to continue its program of coaching in schools across Hungary.
The ground is easily accessible by train from Nyugati station, direct to Sződliget on the commuter line (személyvonat) leaving twice hourly (direction Vác). By car, visitors can take Highway 2 via Dunakeszi/ Göd, or motorway M2 (E77). The GB Oval lies a short distance from the Sződ-Sződliget train station at the end of Új utca.
The Hungarian Cricket Association was founded in 2006, and Hungary was accepted as an Affiliate Member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2012. Senior league cricket in Hungary is currently marking its 12th season, with eight teams competing in two divisions. The HCA also manages schools programs and various outreach initiatives to spread the game among the local populace.
Besides dozens of Hungarian native players (including the all-Hungarian Dunamenti Kenguruk team), the local cricket community embraces players from the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and the U.S., among others.
“Cricket is a highly multicultural sport, a great way to meet people from all kinds of backgrounds and walks of life,” says HCA President Márton Kis. “We hope this event will be the first of many. Funds raised will help further our mission of taking the game to more and more Hungarians in schools and universities in the country.”
For further information on the event, and updates on developments in Hungarian cricket in general, see the HCA Facebook page here.