Friday, 17 February 2012

Cricket on Ice

Cricket on ice may well sound like what is to be expected during early season games in Scotland – and indeed mid and late season games in a number of exposed Scottish grounds that Fantasy Bob remembers with a fond shiver.

But Fantasy Bob is confident that his world wide readership, effortlessly familiar as they are with up-market destinations around the world, will associate cricket on ice with the annual cricket festival that has taken place at this time of year in St Moritz in Switzerland since 1988. FB guesses that on this account St Moritz is also the home of cricket on ice, although an event describing itself as The Ice Cricket World Championship has been held annually in the Estonian city of Tallinn since 2004.

In St Moritz yesterday, today and tomorrow a mat is laid along the ice on the frozen lake and stumps set to allow teams to compete over 20 or 25 overs per side in a round robin format. Just like the real thing - except that there are no grass stains on players’ trousers. 

St Moritz is among the most expensive ski resorts in the world and arguably can be regarded as the home of the Alpine tourist industry.  In 1864 a confident St Moritz hotelier made a wager with British summer guests: that they should return in winter and if it was not to their liking, he would pay for the cost of their journey from London and back. If they found St Moritz attractive in winter, he would invite them to stay as his guests for as long as they wished.  They are still there………… The first tourist office in Switzerland was established that year in the town and St. Moritz developed rapidly in the late nineteenth century. St Moritz’s Kulm Hotel installed the first electric light in Switzerland in 1878. The first European Ice-Skating Championships were held at St. Moritz in 1882 and first golf tournament in the Alps held in 1889.  And so on and so forth..........

St Moritz enjoys over 300 days sun per year – which is about 299 more days than the West of Scotland get on a good year. It therefore lays on lots of distractions to amuse its well-heeled clientele who seem to tire of endless trips round exclusive boutiques. Besides cricket, St Moritz also has horse racing on ice (the white turf) and a polo competition on ice. It is also the home of the Cresta Run the oldest and last remaining natural bob sleigh run. The 1722 meter long structure opened in 1904 and is regarded as the world biggest ice sculpture - for it is built every winter from ground up with only snow and water.

Regrettably, with the price of a beer in St Moritz approximately equivalent to the cost of a new Gray Nicolls Scoop, and significant uncertainty as to the availability of empire biscuits in St Moritz, it is unlikely that FB will have the chance to show his skills to the crowds who flock to watch cricket on the ice. They don’t know what they’re missing…or maybe they are all too well aware.


  1. Nice article. Fancy playing next year FantasyBob? Let me know if you're genuinely interested.

    1. Many thanks John - FB has yet to be wholly confident that his aging frame will survive the rigours of the domestic season - perhaps he could take a snow check on your offer and consider in the Autumn?