But the founders of a new Hoboken Cricket Club are setting out to demystify the regal game and attract beginners, while also luring enthusiasts.
Club founders Tom Pugh and Darragh Dempsey, who hail from England and Ireland respectively, have decided to take matters into their own hands and start up their own team in the city.
One evening last year, the two expatriates were enjoying a pint of beer at their favorite local bar and mused over the days they used to play.
"It all started unraveling before us," said Pugh Wednesday afternoon. "We started talking, and that talking led us to act, and before we knew it, we found ourselves founding a team and a league."
The club was officially formed on March 26, 2001. In the ensuing months, the club has matured into a fully functional, non-profit organization with over 25 members.
Since its inception, the club has competed in several matches and is a member of the newly formed Millennium Cricket League, which has teams throughout New Jersey. The club is mostly comprised of nationals of over a half dozen countries, but native Hoboken residents are also starting to get into the swing.
Not all the players who joined the club know how to play cricket, but it is the goal of Pugh and Dempsey to teach newcomers the intricacies of the sport.
"Right now, our team looks like Hoboken itself, it's so diverse," said Pugh. "There are people from all around the world, but it's one of our goals to attract those from Hoboken who might have been raised on baseball or other sports and get them interested in cricket."
The game of cricket an outdoor game played with a ball, a flat wooden bat, and two-wickets - the equivalent of baseball's bases. There are two teams of 11 players each. The sport is mainly played in England and other commonwealth countries. Part of the confusion in learning the sport is the complexity in learning its lexicon, which uses jargon like "yorker" and "googlie" for pitches that are roughly analogous to baseball's far more prosaic-sounding "sinker" and "screwball." But in the end it all boils down to the team that scores the most runs winning.
More Americans wanted
Pugh said that right now there are only a handful of people in the club that are born and raised Americans but Pugh sees that changing in the near future. "Every time we practice, there are people that line up at the fence and are interested in what is going on in the field," said Pugh. "And at every practice, a couple of the team members set aside to the time to explain how the sport is played. When you get down to it, [cricket] really isn't that complicated. You just need someone to take the time to explain it, and we hope that we are able to do that."
Pugh added that the main reason that he believes that the Hoboken club will succeed is because the sport is so social.
"Cricket really is a game of etiquette and is social event," he said. "While on the field we do try hard and do compete, but at the end of the day its much more than that. Our philosophy is to make a social exercise where, win or lose, we are still able to head to Mulligan's [the club's official pub and sponsor] and share a pint of beer together. I think that when people get a taste of that type of camaraderie, they will be drawn to not only the sport but also everything that is associated with it."
The club has already had a very successful cricket-themed pub-crawl around Hoboken. Other upcoming events include a trip to the West Indies this winter to play and watch cricket.
The other major goal of the club is to establish a home field here in Hoboken. Currently the club holds practice sessions every Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Hoboken High School tennis courts, adjacent to the park at the corner of Ninth and Clinton streets. But there is nowhere in town to play matches, so the members are forced to play their games on the road.
According to Pugh, the club is in the process of communicating with local landowners and vigorously looking for a home for next summer's season.
"That really would mean everything for us," said Pugh. "While everything is coming together nicely, it would be great if in the near future we could have a field that is our home field."
For those who want to see what cricket is about, the club invites the public to attend their practices every Wednesday night, and welcomes curious spectators to join them at their post practice meetings at Mulligan's, located at 159 First St.
The club also invites the public to attend any of their upcoming games. For a full listing of locations and times, visit their web site at www.hobokencc.com.
Those interested in joining the club can contact the club via e-mail at email@example.com or call Tom Pugh at 315-4717.