Basel Cricket Club had its beginnings on the notice board of the Carnival Squash Club in Allschwil in 1978. Anyone interested in playing cricket was invited to put his or her name down on the list. Thirty people did in fact put their names down declaring their interest.
The person responsible for trying to get up a cricket team in Basle was a Scotsman called Ian Bigland who was a translator at Geigy AG in Basle. Ian had played cricket in his younger days for Scotland and was an excellent squash player eventually becoming Chairman of the Swiss Squash Association.
Ian paid for a coconut mat, and all the equipment a cricket club needed and it was agreed that the club would reimburse Ian over the next few years as the club’s finances improved. (This was to take a long time!)
Our first match was against Bern Cricket Club on the 10th of June 1978 played on Bern’s ground at Marzilimoos. That was the fist match of many subsequent matches that Basle played against Bern who became our archrivals. I believe that I am the only person still living in Switzerland who was in the team for our first match. Needless to say we lost. Bern batted first and scored 105 all out. Basel were bowled out for 86 (for 13 wickets). We had too many players but all were allowed to play!
Our second match was against Geneva Cricket Club arguably the strongest side in Switzerland. There were only four clubs then. Bern, Basel, Geneva and Zurich Cricket Clubs. Against Geneva we were thrashed. Geneva scored 143 all out and Basel were bowled out for just 30 runs.
We only played three games in 1978 and lost all of them, and again in 1979 we played three matches and lost all of them again. But in 1979 Bob Schlumpf joined the club. He was a great cricketer and organiser. Always motivated and hard working he helped to build the Basel Cricket Club into one of the best teams in Switzerland in the 80’s. Ravi joined the club in 1980, as did Assad Sadiq another wonderful cricketer. The number of clubs in Switzerland was now increasing. We played against CERN Cricket Club and also we had a match against the school team from the Lyceum Alpinum School in Zuoz.
On June 27th 1981, we had our first victory against Bern beating them by 7 wickets. A historic day for the club.
In 1982 Benji Roberts joined the club. Benji is from Dominica and played exciting cricket and he helped us to many great scores. 1982 saw the formation of the Zurich Sri Lankans with whom we had many great games.
1985 saw the influx of a number of very good players into the club. Jamil Chaudry and Philip Rae were extremely good players; Jamil probably was the best player in the country at that time. We played 17 matches in the season and won the Brennan Challenge Cup for the first time beating Geneva in the final in Bern by three wickets. A wonderful result and a wonderful season. The Brennan Challenge Cup was donated by the then Australian Ambassador to Switzerland, Mr. Brennan to be competed for in a knock out competition.
Basel Cricket Club won the Brennan Cup three times and on the way to these successes no game could have been more exciting than our semi-final against Bern which we won with the last ball of the match! We were also runners up twice. Jack Aston who was our President for many years and prolific opening batsman left to go to Nairobi, Assad went back to Pakistan. Other players have come and gone but Basel owes a big thankyou to all players past and present and it is great to see the club is still in existence thanks to Jay Singh and his team.
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