Almost two-and-a-half centuries after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Shelter Island is still home to Britons. So much so that this Saturday, July 27, they’ll again be hosting the annual Shelter Island Cricket Match.
Gareth Jones, one of the organizers and founders of the Shelter Island Cricket Club, is a summer resident who’s originally from London but now lives in Brooklyn. He started the club and the annual match in 2012 with his “mate,” English expat David Shillingford.
“Obviously there were some drinks involved in the conversation,” Mr. Jones said.
What started as a bet around the barbecue has turned into one of the Island’s most successful fundraisers, as well as a community picnic and sporting event for Islanders of all ages.
The club has succeeded in using the match to raise funds for the Shelter Island Ambulance Foundation, which few people seemed to have been paying attention to seven years ago, Mr. Jones said.
“It seemed many people were ignoring this critical piece of infrastructure that had just lost a major source of funding,” he added
Mr. Jones was speaking of how the Emergency Medical Services was once funded by the Red Cross, but in 2012 became entirely funded by the town and independent contributions.
While the match is free, the club strongly suggests donations during the match. All funds go toward providing financial support to promote the recruitment, training, and retention of ambulance volunteers and to secure new equipment, primarily ambulances. Since its inception, the club has raised more than $100,000 for the foundation.
Mr. Jones said, “One of the greatest things about this event is that it allows visitors and residents to give back to a community that brings us and our families so much joy.”
He gave a shout-out to the Shelter Island Boat Yard for providing the venue for the match, SALT for managing food and drinks, and Shelter Island Party Rental for the tents, tables and chairs.
The match is made up of two teams, one of Shelter Island part-time or year-round residents, versus “The World,” which seems to be anyone not claiming allegiance to the Island.
Cricket is played in almost every country Britain decided to colonize, so the game has a global reach. As a result, Shelter Island’s annual match attracts an eclectic group.
“One of the best players we played against was an older guy originally from Bangladesh,” Mr. Jones said. “Apparently, back in the day, he played somewhat professionally.”
In addition to the match, there’s plentiful food and drink and games for kids.
The two sides in the match on Saturday will, Mr. Jones said, compete for fame, glory and “a little plate made out of tin that we made.”