AG-22 MAIFIELD GROUND, BERLIN

AG-22 -MAIFIELD GROUND, BERLIN- GERMANY

Maifield ground.   Photo courtesy –  Cricinfo.com

The Maifield was used for the mass Nazi Rallies of Hitler’s era.  It was developed in the early 1930s at the same time as the adjoining Olympic stadium built as the centerpiece of the 1936 olympic games.   It was a huge lawn of 28 acres with standing room for 2,50,000 and seating for 60,000 spectators primarily intended for holding gymnastic displays and the Annual May Day celebrations.

1n 1936 Olympics Polo and equestrian events took place at this ground. During the games the stands at the Bell Tower 4,500 seats, and accommodated 44,000 standees. Stands on the two sides perpendicular to the Bell Tower stands each provided standing room for 14,000 spectators. This allowed 75,000 spectators to be accommodated during the Olympics. The Bell Tower was built with a searchlight that provided lighting for the Mayfield, and an observation platform that could be reached via an electric lift. After World War II the British military occupation forces  annually celebrated The  Queen’s Official birthday till 1990 on the Maifeld and used it for a variety of sporting activities including Cricket. Starting in 2012, Maifeld became home to the Berlin Cricket Club ( BCC)  In more recent years the Maifeld has also hosted many concerts.

Cricket has been played in Germany since 1850 and at one point it was a popular leisure activity.  At the turn of the 20th Century, Berlin alone had more than 30 cricket pitches.  Now, it is a fringe sport with some 50 clubs across the country under the auspices of the German Cricket Federation founded in 1988.   The National team ranked 39th in the world, takes part in Cricket European championships.

The Berlin cricket club founded in 1985, moved here in 2012.  Maifield comes with plenty of historical baggage, most obviously the Olympic stadium, the dominant 77 metre high Bell Tower and the sense of the past.  Facilities are very good including sight screens, scoreboard, nets and two fields.  It is generally agreed that the move has been a success and good for German cricket.  A youth program run by the Quentin-Blake-Europe school is developing a new generation of young players.  Women’s cricket is well established too.

Berlin cricket club has been playing cricket since 1985.  Cricket games take place on summer weekends and start at 11 a.m. at the Maifield in Berlin-Charlottenburg and normally last until 6 p.m.

The nearest railway station is S. Bahn Berlin-Pichelsberg.  There are refreshments available at the ground and you can also bring your own food and rug with you.  This ground is also ideal for young children-no traffic, no dogs!  Toilet facilities are available.  Cricket training is given every Thursday from 5 p.m. and we have to bring our own pair of training shoes and sports clothing and shower facilities are available.  Special protective cricket equipment is supplied by BCC.  And with support from Qatar International Electricity company, BBC is managing it.  

COURTESY “ cricinfo.com           MAIFIELD  GROUND with bell Tower.

The Maifeld was granted to the Berlin Cricket Club by the local sports authorities for 2012. The historic bell tower in the background was damaged in the Second World War and restored in the 1960s  •  Fabian Muir

At the center of the bell tower stands was the Langemark-Halle, the eastern entrance of which provided access to the middle platform of the stands which allowed one a view of the entire Reich Sport Field. The Langemarck-Halle was a neo-classical building with a large podium atop it. Langemark-Halle was built beneath the Maifeld’s stands, and served as a memorial to the forces that fought in  Langemark. This consisted of huge halls built under the stands of the Maifeld. Pillars were raised on which hung flags and shields commemorating all the forces that participated in a battle fought in Langemark November 10, 1914, during World War I. Since 2006, the ground floor of this structure has been home to an exhibit about the area of the former Reichssportfeld.

Photo courtesy : Cityseeker.com

Situated next to the Olympiastadion within the grounds of Olympiapark, the Maifeld is an open space which is used not only for sporting events but also for festivals and concerts. Conveniently located in the center of the city, the vast field has served as the venue for several tournaments and cultural events over the years.

Photo : Glockenturm.de

The Mayfield is able to accommodate 250,000 people, the terracing can additionally hold 60,000 spectators. Until 1994, the annual birthday parade for the British Sovereign was held on the field, attended by thousands of German spectators. The Mayfield was part of the British Protecting Powers zone. British administrators organized various athletic competitions, such as rugby, football, and polo. Today, the Mayfield continues to be used for sports competitions by German teams. The sculptures at the east end of the Mayfield, representing horses being led, is the work of Josef Wackerle.

Cricket fans, however, could do worse than start with the Berlin Cricket Club (BCC), where they will find the game played competitively on brand new pitches and in a distinctly unusual setting. All signs suggest the game is set to prosper here.

But first a little history, for just 12 months ago things looked very different. Shortly before the 2011 season, authorities quietly dug up the BCC’s pitch and expropriated the field, citing danger to passers-by and parked cars from flying balls. That the pitch had been in use since it was first laid by British servicemen in the 1950s counted for nothing.

The BCC’s story was taken up by the media, including the London Times, after which the authorities were suddenly prepared to allow the BCC to play out the 2011 season at the old ground and to engage in talks. Arduous negotiations ensued, culminating in a completely unexpected offer: the provision of new sight screens (based on the intriguing notion that these would offer protection for the cars), a substitute ground for 2012 and two brand new pitches.

For the BCC, this was their miracle of Berlin, because the new venue, the so-called Maifeld, is quite unique. 

it is clear that the BCC is no mere collection of village cricketers out for a trundle. An affable and articulate group off the field, they play the game hard on it, complete with club-branded kit. Umpires are qualified and paid for their services. The white lines are measured and marked out impeccably, and once they are crossed, a real battle is joined.

Importantly, the club is also actively engaged in promoting the game in Germany. With the Maifeld as its trump card, it is now hoping to attract new players, stimulate greater local awareness and bring in touring sides. It has launched initiatives at school level. A German member of the 2nd XI, Hans-Heinrich Mai, is coach of the national women’s team. There is even talk of ICC Division 6 matches being played there.

The scores above are from a T20 match played recently between Britannia Cricket Club (Glenn’s team) and Berlin Cricket Club. 

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