Catching on to cricket
Ballplayer makes successful switch to new kind of pitch
For more than a quarter century, Sheryl Tittlemier spent a good part of her summer batting, fielding and throwing, whether as a T-Ball, softball or slo-pitch player.
But three years ago, the members of her Ottawa slo-pitch team started to go their separate ways and the team folded. As a result, the Health Canada research scientist figured it also was time for change.
In the process of finding a new summer pastime, she thought of her good friend, Gregg Tomy, and his connection to cricket.
“I wanted a team sport,” she said in a recent interview. “In the back of my mind, I heard Gregg. (Cricket) is similar with catching, batting and scoring runs. But it’s totally different. If you say it’s similar to baseball, cricket players don’t like to hear that.”
Tittlemier, 33, can say that because she’s a full-fledged cricket player now.
She is the only female player in the all-male Ottawa Valley Cricket Council’s two leagues and has worn New Edinburgh Cricket Club colours for the past two years as a member of the B team.
In that time, her skills have taken her to national and international levels.
Tittlemier recently was selected to play for the Canadian women’s cricket team on a 13-day tour of Trinidad and Tobago, which ends Tuesday.
“I had a decent feeling that I had a good chance of making the team,” she said. “Now, I’m getting an opportunity to play in a country that has cricket as its main sport. It’s neat.”
While her skills put her on the Canadian team with other players from Toronto and Victoria, she probably wouldn’t be there without the acceptance of the New Edinburgh Cricket Club and the encouragement of the OVCC.
The OVCC suggested Tittlemier try out for the national women’s team in Toronto. She played in an exhibition women’s game in Toronto last year and occasionally trained with the team during the winter.
But Tittlemier is thankful to the New Edinburgh team for letting her experience the sport, apprentice with them and fit right in.
“I showed up, but I was a bit apprehensive. They gave me a shot. I asked if I could come back and they said go for it,” said Tittlemier, whose debut came on a picture perfect summer evening.
“I didn’t think too much about it. I had nothing to lose. If I made a fool of myself, so what?”
But Tittlemier’s first practice focused on fielding and for that she was thankful.
“I think it was good I started with that. I was able to catch with my bare hands because there are no gloves. It was a good stepping stone.”
As for the batting, she was used to having the ball come at her in the air as opposed to taking a bounce and then going left or right.
“You must be more focused and sharp. It took getting used to,” she added about the bowler’s running delivery.
Just before Tittlemier joined the national team, she was touched by her New Edinburgh team’s sendoff.
The players, many of whom are from India and Pakistan, gave her a club T-shirt with the inscription: Chak De Sheryl.
Chak De! India is a motivation movie about female Indian athletes playing field hockey for their country.
“I can feel the improvement, especially the batting. People have showed me and I can do it,” she said. Winners’ circle:
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Sheryl Tittlemier, the only female player in the Ottawa Valley Cricket Council leagues, was selected to play for the Canadian women’s team during a current 13-day tour of Trinidad and Tobago.