When I left England in 2007 to start a new life in France, I thought that I could say cheerio to my assorted cricket equipment, helmets, pads, bats and the like.
Little did I realise, that there is a thriving cricket scene here all over the country. The teams range from ex pat old boys who play an occasional game against touring sides, to full blown leagues playing league and cup matches on a more or less weekly basis.
On top of that, there are winter tournaments playing 6 a side games in gyms dotted around the country. I first heard about the chance of playing a couple of years ago when I saw an ad for a team based near to Poitiers. I subsequently joined and played a few games. Unfortunately this team folded, but by chance we had played at Mansle in the Charente which was even nearer. I am now in possession of the fine kit sported by Mansle Cricket Club.
The only downside to playing is the travelling to away games such as Bordeaux which is a 6 hours round trip. The upside is that we played there in the grounds of a magnificent wine chateaux with a taste of the local tipple after the match!
The league is surprisingly competitive with some excellent players who would grace a lot of very good standard teams back in the UK. The teams are usually made up of expats, asian players along with French born younger players of British, Irish, Australian or Pakistani extraction.
With the exception of a very small number of teams,(Saumur comes to mind), the wickets are artificial, such as ones that we used to see at schools in the UK.
So if you played cricket back in the UK, why not have a look on the internet and see if there is a team near to you?
If you are within any driving distance of my team Mansle in Charente, then please contact me on 05 49 97 02 91. You will be made very welcome and please bring the family. The pitch is in a picturesque setting by the River Charente with a childrens play area and a short walk into the town.