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St. Clair blazing trail for cricket provincially

"It should be done less than two years from now."

Punj has been a big advocate for cricket since landing at St. Clair College in 2018. He left Chandigarh, India where cricket was prominent and arrived on a campus that didn't have it. He approached the SSAA at the time and started an intramural team in his first semester at school. Punj then brought a team to Fleming during second semester and that's when things started to take off.

In five years St. Clair went from being the last OCAA school to include cricket to the first to introduce it as a varsity sport. "Our college and administration supported us from the begining and i'm happy to see how far it has come." Punj said.

The sport is recognized by the OCAA but not yet as a varsity sport. Cricket has extramural tournaments under Ontario Collegiate Recreation or OCR which is dedicated to giving students an opportunity to participate through quality campus recreation programs.

Punj is the convenor of the sport and feels cricket is on the cusp of becoming recognized like basketball, soccer and volleyball. "If not next year, the year after. I don't see what's holding it back anymore."

Punj says schools are trying to get to the point where cricket players can receive scholarship money and be recognized as athletes on campus like at St. Clair College. "The only way is we're going up. It's pretty awesome."

The Saints recently hosted Conestoga in a three-game series. St. Clair won the match and have one more tournament planned at Centennial at the end of July. They'll take a month break and move the game indoors where the Saints will host two tournaments including a regional tournament in February. "You'll see literally a full day of cricket madness."



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