By Peter Ash
There are a lot of underrated teams at Ryerson. From fastpitch to volleyball, it’s safe to say that crowd attendance and coverage is inconsistent. But of them all, there’s a powerhouse that’s gradually improved since its start in 2014: the men’s cricket club.
On Aug. 31, the Ryerson Rams won their first-ever Canadian College Cricket (CCC) national championship, defeating University of Toronto-Scarborough to get the title. But given their track record over the last two to three years, the team still feels like they haven’t received enough attention.
“We don’t get that much support from the university,” said Rams cricket president Zulqarnain Imtiaz. With the success of the women’s team—added with the national championship victory—Imtiaz hopes that it’ll start to let everyone know that the cricket program is legit. Imtiaz, also one of the main players on the team, said that his group is doing everything to gain more recognition.
“A lot of people aren’t aware of Ryerson cricket. Now, winning this national championship, I feel like this is just a stepping stone for us to get recognized by the Ryerson community.”
Because the group is designated as a “club,” they aren’t offered an official loan by the school for supplies, tournaments and travel costs. They have to make a budget—and depending on what Ryerson wants to give them, they’ll likely have to contribute themselves or find a source from the outside.
But due to their recent success, the team thinks that they shouldn’t have to deal with the limited amount of funding and support much longer. Having been the president for only a year, Imtiaz also said that the lack of respect is something that his team has “gotten used to.”
Despite being under the radar, the team still gets a decent amount of recruitment. Their ability to win has made students reconsider going to different schools, as they’ve won numerous tournaments within the country. According to Rams spin bowler and MVP of the CCC tournament, Anees Ahmad, there’s been a “handful” of students who have cited the cricket club as one of the primary reasons why they decided to go to Ryerson. “I chose Ryerson over other Canadian schools because of the cricket team. [John-Paul Rocke] also chose Ryerson over other schools for the same reason.”
Rocke, who’s been called to play in tournaments for the Canadian national team, was aware of the amount of success the team had before he joined Ryerson. Rocke saw them perform at the 2017-18 American National Championships, a tournament the Rams eventually won. Ahmad also thinks that the club could help recruit more pro-level and international students.
Since the team doesn’t have a stable organizing body, they have to constantly work things out on their own. Richard Perkins, manager of the club, mentioned that the team creates all of its practices and organizational scrimmages.
Despite their lack of resources, the team manages to get by with their own form of scouting. “Whether we win or lose in our [scrimmages,] we just try to observe the team’s gameplan and learn from our good moves and mistakes,” said Perkins.
Moving forward, the team will head to Detroit from Sept. 29-30 to partake in the American College Cricket Regional tournament. Although the group doesn’t plan on using their lack of coverage as a source of motivation, they’ll be looking to make their presence felt in order to keep the ball rolling throughout the school year.
“We’re not just a little club,” Imtiaz said strongly. “Our club is open to anyone—newcomers, basic and advanced players…we’re just trying to spread the sport and let everyone know that we’re for real.”