By Mandy Cook
If you ever wanted to know anything about how burrowing creatures impact ancient marine sediments, Dr. Liam Herringshaw of Memorial’s Department of Earth Sciences is your guy.
But while the 33-year-old British ex-pat and post-doctoral fellow has been working away at a pioneering procedure creating 3-D images of burrows made by worms, shrimp and other creatures in both ancient rocks and modern environments, he’s also been plugging away at his other obsession: reviving what was once known as the St. John’s Cricket Club.

“We resurrected the club last year, but it has a history going back to at least 1824 – making it the oldest cricket club in Canada,” said Dr. Herringshaw. “And we hope to get a proper league going at the provincial level next summer. Newfoundland and Labrador is the only province in Canada that doesn’t have one.”

To say the medium-paced palaeontologist – as he refers to himself on the fortnightly Newfoundland cricket blog he writes for the sports network ESPN – is fixated on the sport is putting it mildly. Determined to satisfy his cricket cravings in a land that appeared bereft of the activity, Dr. Herringshaw began to search out like-minded souls soon after he arrived in St. John’s two years ago.

While he discovered there had been various attempts to initiate a league over the past eight years or so – typically by groups of cricket-mad international students – no organized structure had formed. There were, however, regular casual games taking place at a nearby park, which Dr. Herringshaw began to participate in. Soon enough, he and his team mates were on the hunt for a proper match.

It came in the form of an exhibition game between two teams comprised mostly of Memorial students and graduates and hailing from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Britain, and took place at the King George V soccer pitch. From there, a team travelled to Fredericton, N. B., to participate in the annual Maritimes cricket tournament – and Memorial’s own fourth-year commerce student Rakesh Negi made quite a splash while they were at it.

“It was brilliant,” said Dr. Herringshaw. “Despite our losses overall, Rakesh won Man of the Match for his all-around performance in our very first outing, against New Brunswick. We also gave PEI a run for their money in the next match. The participating teams and the Cricket Canada umpires were suitably impressed.”

Their first inter-provincial tournament under their belts, the newly minted association is now dreaming big. They are in talks with the caretakers of the St. John’s soccer field Feildian Grounds about using the grounds that were originally constructed as a cricket pitch, and are hoping to secure an indoor facility to keep the momentum going throughout the winter months.

And although Dr. Herringshaw won’t be around to provide his special brand of cricket enthusiasm, he says he is confident the seed has been firmly planted. Besides, he believes a burgeoning – but devoted – cricket presence and Memorial’s international student recruitment strategy will ultimately prove to be mutually beneficial.

“We have guys from India and Bangladesh contacting us, saying, ‘I’ve been thinking about doing grad studies at Memorial – and now that I know there’s a cricket league . . . ‘”