AG- 18 KAPIOLANI PARK GROUND- HAWAII, USA
Photo courtesy : Hawaii Cricket Club
Rooted in the days of monarchy, sown with the seeds of tradition and watered with the acceptance of different cultures. That’s cricket in Hawaii, U.S.A.
In May 1893 two of the foremost cricketers of Honolulu cricket club, Mr. Aurerbach and Weedon, wrote to the Minister of Hawaii enquiring whether they might use an abandoned baseball ground in the shadow of the Diamond Head crater for their cricket matches. The Minister said yes and granted them the use of the ground for practice and play. They could also take over the run-down baseball stand if they wished for “dressing rooms’, Keeper’s room etc. The board would also gladly allow them use of the sprinkler. With this permission, the Honolulu Cricket club was established, becoming the oldest sporting organisation in the Pacific.
Cricket itself had become established in the mid-19th century under the patronage of King Kamehameha IV, surprisingly for a game which has never really been taken by the indigenous population.
Players today are drawn from cricket loving countries like South Africa, Trinidad, New Zealand, India and Pakistan
According to Honolulu CC, cricket was the King’s favourite sport and he would often practice his skills on the grounds of the Palace. A political motive for his interest can’t be ruled out as a devotion to cricket aligned his country more closely to the United Kingdom, a policy he favoured. The State flag of Hawaii still carries the Union Jack in its corner.
The matches involving English ship putting in the Sandwich Islands were being reported in local publications as early as 1847.
Cricket slowly spread to some of the other islands such as Maui and Big Island of Hawaii.
Originally called Makiki, Kapiolani Park is named after Queen Kapiolani. Queen consort of King David Kalakaua ruler from 1874 to 1891 and an honoured guest at Queen Victoria’s 50th Jubilee celebration in 1887. This Park is the largest and second oldest park in Hawaii located in Honolulu on the east end of Waikiki just beyond Kuhio Beach park and the Waikiki residential neighbourhood..
The dominant landmark Diamond Head, is a significant backdrop for the cricket overlooking very popular surfing beaches with majestic ironwood trees providing cover for visitors.
The Park began life as a race course and nowadays cricket is just one of the many sports including tennis, football, Rugby Lacrosse, Archery and baseball.
Right at the edge of the World famous Waikiki Shell and nestled at the base of Diamond Head Crater in picturesque Kapiolani Park, the Honolulu CC boasts one of the most idyllic cricket grounds in the world keeping with the Hawaiian spirit of Aloha.
Kapiolani Park is a peaceful refuge from Downtown Honolulu & Waikiki Shell. Tall trees, lawns and gardens are there. All kinds of sports are played there from Tennis to Soccer to basket ball and baseball to Lacrosse, rugby and archery and even frisbee.
“We are quite the International mix “, Berwick, the HCC President said. Part of it, has to do with Hawaii’s isolation and part of it ties in with Hawaii being a melting point. “We are as much a social club as we are a cricket club. It’s special for a number of factors. And that includes being recognised as the oldest sporting club in the Pacific. Though the Club was established in 1893, but competitions were being held in 1840s gaining the favour of Kamehameha IV.
The first cricket pitch in Honolulu is near where Makiki District park is located and was known as the Makiki cricket grounds.
HCC’s social cricket and its Hawaii Premier League matches last 5 hours. While players do wear traditional white shirts and slacks there’s no hot tea served between innings.
HCC has hosted various foreign sides and has been hosted by many teams whose club shields are displayed in HCC’s virtual club house online. Honolulu toured New Zealand in 2010 and India in 2011.
Sachin Shah isn’t sure he’ll make the trip to his home country (India) but has been happy to maintain a connection to his native India through cricket. Shah continues ,“ I lived in Chicago and Detroit where there are many Indians and cricket was common . When i came here (hawaii) in 2001, there were not many Indians , so i was really surprised to see it played“.
HCC welcomes the interested and curious , those who don’t know the difference between a carry and cherry or a doosra and a donkey drop.
Blessed with a beautiful climate, we are able to play all year round which enables us to entertain visitors from around the world at anytime. As one of only two cricket clubs throughout the Hawaiian islands along with the Maui Cricket Club, the Honolulu Cricket Club always looks forward to hosting visiting teams.
In recent years, HCC has hosted teams from Australia, California, Canada, England, Hong Kong, New York and New Zeland.