Club Origins and History
Some Early History:
Empire Cricket Club was born in the spring of 2003, from the desire of four "mature" expats - Laurence Suba (AUS), and Lloyd Polak-Laune, Max Kernick and Nick Burton (ENG), otherwise known as the Founding Four Fathers (hereinafter the FFF) - to give their boys something more than just a knockabout in the grounds of Herttoniemen Kartano (Herttoniemi Manor) every once in a while. And so, with untold financial resources at their disposal, the four intrepid "cricketers" put their heads together over a pint or four of the local brew, and a legend was created overnight.
The name Empire, by the way, was simply one of a dozen or so dreamt up by the FFF and put to the lads. This one simply stuck - and no, sorry, it isn't anything to with George Lucas, in case you were wondering!
So, there they were, at the beginning of 2003, without the squad, resources, or to be honest the experience to join the Finnish Cricket Association FCA 'off the bat', so to speak, so the team was built around the FFF and their lads, with new recruits hammering at the door every, oh, five months or so.
Impromptu practice sessions, sometimes with no more than three or four kids and Lloyd present, led to an appearance at the Suomenlinna 2003 Spirit of Cricket Festival, as well as three unofficial games against our good friends Stadin Kriketti Klubi III team (SKK). The results of these practice games were somewhat mixed, and so, during the short winter break (September to the end of May!!) much scheming, recruiting, and planning was done.
So much so in fact, that on Saturday 6th March 2004, with snow still on the ground, a small convoy of cars, and a dozen bleary-eyed cricketers left Helsinki at stupid o'clock for the 100 mile drive to the delightful ;-) seaside town of Turku, to take part in the annual Indoor Eights tournament as the newest fully paid up members of the FCA. The official blurb, put out by the organisers of the tournament listed all the teams and gave a short bio of them. The section on Empire said something like - "they stand no chance whatsoever..." So it must have come as something of a surprise to the powers that be when Empire won both opening group matches, and came top of the qualifying group. We lost, in the quarter-final, to the eventual winners of the tournament. The drive home didn't seem as long as the one coming down - mind you, all the Juniors slept the two and a half hours back to Helsinki!
Empire Cricket Club had arrived.
The upshot of Empire's first ever competitive season in Finnish cricket was that we were victorious in three of the five games we actually managed to put a team out for, and on the journey, won the FCA Plate.
The "Seniors" played a major role in securing this, of that there is no doubt, but it's safe to say that were it not for the juniors, ECC wouldn't have even competed in 2004, never mind won a trophy.
Watch this space...