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June 3, 2009 > UC50 Cricket Festival

UC50 Cricket Festival

The sound of leather on willow

By Simon Wong
Photos By Mike Heightchew

Valley Cricketers and the East Bay Cricket Club each fielded 11 of their best gentlemen players and reserves for the Union City Cricket Festival on Sunday, May 31. Organized in conjunction with Leisure Services, this event is one of several sporting occasions that are part of the Union City 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Union City's Seabreeze Park, home to the East Bay Cricket Club (EBCC), was the festival's venue. Two coaching clinics and a Twenty20, or T20, exhibition match were held.

"70 youngsters attended the first clinic and about ten ladies appeared for the second," said Maynard Estrellado, Recreation Coordinator, Union City Sports Center.

All were eager to learn how to bowl, bat and field, and understand the Laws of Cricket, or rules, that are maintained by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The exhibition match lasted almost three hours, as intended. Each team played one inning and faced 20 overs. Twenty20 is one form of "limited overs cricket" which aims to complete a match within a certain period. India won the inaugural Twenty20 World Championship in 2007.

On Sunday, EBCC scored 170 runs for 20 overs. Valley Cricketers lost by 80 runs. A return match should redress the balance.

EBCC was founded in 1996 by club president Sarabjit Singh Chadha (Sanju) and belongs to the Northern California Cricket Association (NCCA). With more than 20 members, some of whom are under 16, the club won the NCCA 'C' Division Championship in 2001. EBCC's diverse membership reflects the diversity of Union City.

Valley Cricketers was founded by a group of Bay Area IT professionals in 1993 and played tennis ball matches before joining NCCA's 'C' Division. The club emerged as the division's champion in 1998. That season, NCCA named Sandeep Badida as Most Valuable Player and Vamshidhar Kandala as Best Fielder.

Valley was 'B' Division Champion in 2001 and promoted to 'A' Division for the 2002 season.

Most of Valley's members have played competitive cricket in India and two, Vinay Badami and Sunny Ramesh, have played first-class cricket (India Schools XI and Ranji Trophy). Sunny Ramesh has been named 'B' Division's Most Valued Player three times. Most members reside in Union City and the rest in Fremont and the surrounding Bay Area.

"The NCCA was established in 1892 and is one of the largest cricket leagues in the US," said Ganesh Sanap, NCCA president. "We've 36 teams and almost 1,000 members in four divisions. Members live all over the Bay Area and represent the world's cricket-playing countries." Sanap played for Valley Cricketers on Sunday.

NCCA coaches youth cricketers through local clubs in Fremont, Hayward, Union City, San Jose, Santa Clara and Larkspur.

"Three boys, Shiva Vashisht, Saqib Salim and Saami Siddi, have been selected to play for the USA Under-19 national team in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers in Canada in July. We're very proud," stated Sanap.

Cricket fan Makhan Bains of Raja Sweets & Indian Cuisine generously provided lunch and refreshments.

The organizers of Union City's 50th Anniversary celebrations need the community's continued support. Visit for more details about planned events, volunteer opportunities, sponsorship and donations. Commemorative items are available online, at Paddy's Coffee Shop and at UC50 events.

For more information on Northern California Cricket Association, visit or e-mail; on Valley Cricketers, visit or call Sriram Ramamurthy at 408-348-7262; and East Bay Cricket Club, visit or call Sarabjit Chadha at 510-304-9056.

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