In the wee hours of a fall Saturday morning in 2022, 16 amateur cricket players donned their jerseys and walked onto the Burnaby Lake grounds — to play the final game of amateur cricket league, Last Man Stands (LMS) — as the crowd cheered them on.
Two hours later, eight players from Burnaby emerged on the winning side as their team, Vancouver Vikings, took the coveted trophy home and qualified to embark on an adventure to South Africa to play in the LMS world championships. At the same time, the team they defeated, the Okanagan Hawks cricket club, won over the crowd for their determination to play the sport and for qualifying to embark on the same adventure as the teams wrapped playing season in Canada.
With summer on the horizon, cricket enthusiasts (the forever-dedicated, the newly initiated and the uninitiated) in Burnaby and the rest of the Greater Vancouver Area might already be on the lookout for opportunities to play their favourite sport in the upcoming season.
As cricket becomes more popular in the area, Last Man Stands promises to deliver yet another sixer league. This time, the league with quirky, unconventional rules returns to Burnaby in full swing.
LMS, the world’s widest-reaching amateur cricket league, has been gaining popularity worldwide. Its debut season in the province saw matches being held in Vancouver and Surrey, with a single final match at the Burnaby grounds. However, according to Emrul Hasan, the director of strategy with LMS Canada, the league is poised to expand to Burnaby with more regular matches scheduled on our local grounds in the 2023 season.
The 2023 games will run from May 1 to Sept. 30 across three tournaments much like the debut season. It includes the LMS BC Blasters cup championship, whose finals were held in Surrey, the LMS BC Blasters plate championship, with finals in Vancouver, and the LMS BC Blasters early risers championship, with finals in Burnaby.
The league offers amateur players of every background a chance to play the game on a flexibl schedule.
Although difficulty in acquiring ground permits has slowed growth of the game in the province, especially in Burnaby, where there are only two grounds, Hasan said the league plans to have about 50 games in Burnaby (Sperling), about 100 games in Vancouver (Memorial, Douglas, Trafalgar and Stanley Park), and about 200 games in Surrey (Newton, Sullivan Heights, Enver creek, and more).
With a green light from the city in sight for new matches in Burnaby, the league is calling for teams — especially from the local community — to register for this year's season. The eight-per-side games for amateur players last two hours, and participants are now eligible to register here. “We’re hoping to get at least eight teams from Burnaby residents this year,” Hasan added.
The open call seeks people from all backgrounds who share a love for the sport. Through its LMS Canada DEI Foundation, the league aims to provide incentives for newcomers and other groups to come forward and play the sport at minimal costs.
According to Hasan, newcomers to Canada who have been in the country for less than two years may be eligible to play for free this season.
The league also established a foothold in Toronto last year, and organizers hope to expand to other cities including Victoria and Ottawa.
Adhering to its motto, “It’s anybody game,” the league also plans to launch a league for post-secondary students and their families later in summer, when cricket clubs from Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia will participate. They are hoping to get other universities and colleges on board for their intramural initiatives.
In 2022, LMS’s first year, around 18 teams and 200 participants played in more than 150 matches across three tournaments. LMS also plans ot launch a women's league this year.
For now, amateurs can register for the 2023 season to get a swing at playing “professional” cricket. Interested umpires, league managers and ground managers from Burnaby, Vancouver and Surrey can email email@example.com as the open call stands for the positions.
Those without a team are encouraged to apply through the three open teams Vancouver Sloggers, Surrey Challengers, and Burnaby Falcons. Teams can also register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or contacting 778-863-8693. For more information about the league, visit website.