ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today broke ground on the County’s first designated youth cricket pitch at Lake Elkhorn Middle School in Columbia. The County entered into an agreement with the Howard County Board of Education last summer to construct and maintain the new cricket pitch. The County anticipates the project will be completed by May 2022. Photos of the event can be found here.
Cricket’s popularity has boomed over the past several years in Howard County, and this new pitch is foundational for the growth of our youth cricket league. We have some of the best sports fields and engagement in our state, and we look forward to expanding Howard County’s national reputation as the place to play cricket.
The pitch at Lake Elkhorn Middle School will be the 6th cricket pitch in Howard County, helping to meet the growing demand for fields and facilities to accommodate cricket in the County. Howard County Recreation & Parks (HCRP) operates youth and adult leagues with teams that utilize the two cricket pitches at Schooley Mill Park and the pitch at Murray Hill Middle School.
“This new pitch is the first in the County to be designated for youth,” said Raul Delerme, Director of Howard County Recreation and Parks. “It also will allow players and teams the opportunity to practice eight months of the year, including summer months and on evenings and weekends.”
"I am grateful for the partnership with the county to make this opportunity available for all Howard County residents," said HCPSS Superintendent Dr. Michael J. Martirano. "Not only will this pitch provide space for current young cricket participants, but it will also serve as a place for more young people and their families to learn and play this enjoyable game."
“I am thrilled that Howard County officially broke ground today on our county’s sixth Cricket Pitch, which will be located in the heart of East Columbia,” said Council Vice Chair Christiana Rigby. “This investment will provide students and youth cricket players with an opportunity to learn and enjoy the sport of cricket at a central location in our community.”
County Executive Ball has frequently invested in the increasingly popular sport in budget cycles. In November 2020, the field and cricket pitch capacity at Schooley Mill park were expanded, increasing the artificial cricket pitch from 108 linear feet to 450 feet in size, re-sodding the multi-use grass field and extending it by approximately 80 square feet. These capital efforts helped Howard County secure the 8th annual National Youth Cricket League (NYCL) tournament in July 2021, bringing nearly 110 teams from around the country to experience Howard County’s world-class cricket facilities first hand.
“Howard County Youth Cricket is excited to see the County’s commitments to youth cricket and growth of the sport,” said Falgun Patel, President of Howard County’s Youth Cricket League. “We started with handful of kids and now we are the leaders in terms of number of grounds and players participating. Due to the infrastructure provided in the county, we were able to host the National Youth Cricket competition in 2021, where close to 110 teams from all over the USA participated."
“As a member of the USA National Cricket Team, I am proud to see my home county is fully committed to growing the sport,” said Sunny Sohal, USA Cricket team member and Howard County Youth Cricket League Coach. “Infrastructure is a key to the success of cricket in USA, and I am very happy to see the commitment from Howard County Recreation and Parks and the County Executive’s Office.”
In addition to building the new pitch, the County will improve and maintain the four existing baseball diamonds on the shared fields for Lake Elkhorn Middle and Cradlerock Elementary.