By Charles Randall
19 March 2015
Crunching noises on a frozen lake at St Moritz fell silent, and that meant the annual Cricket on Ice tournament had finished.
For the 28th year cricket teams battled it out in the cold at this renowned ski resort, and a Swiss-based side emerged as joint-winners on the final day when the 20-over format had to be reduced to 15 due to snow.
The 2016 tournament is scheduled for 18-20 February, and any player is welcome to apply, according to the event's affable president John Hallam. “Generally it's no problem at all,” he said. “It comes with a cost of 250 swiss francs – everyone pays this. For your money you get three games, a Cricket-on-Ice fleece, woolly hat, gala dinner and more.” He might have added this would not include a ride on the Cresta Run, though opportunities do arise. Team entries are always considered, provided money is paid up front.
Cricket on St Moritz Lake is played on a matting pitch. A special low-impact rubber ball is used because the orthodox leather version becomes too wet and heavy on the snow-covered ice. Fielders are allowed to wear gloves. High altitude means the ball flies faster, producing spectacular action, alive with the distinctive crunching sounds on weathered snow.
Hallam added: “We like to have cricketers of all standards taking part. The idea is to give everyone a good chance while still trying to win the game. It's a fun tournament, and an event that is well supported by the St Moritz Tourist Board and local community.”
Summer cricket is played in the area's beautiful mountainous scenery, with the main feature a match between Cresta CC and St Moritz CC. Cricket has been played in Switzerland since 1817, and Cricket Switzerland governs a flourishing minor sport.
This year Lyceum shared the ice title with the visiting Old Cholmeleians, ex-pupils of Highgate School, by beating them in the final game. Max Welte, of Lyceum, was named man of the tournament for scoring a fifty and for his captaincy in winning two games on the final day. The annual 'rubber duck' was awarded to John Zani, captain of Cholmeleians, who allegedly tried to get away with taking the field with 12 men camouflaged in white hats and fleeces in falling snow.
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