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Enjoy cricket in the Loire
IF you’re stumped for ideas on getting fit this summer, why not give cricket a try? You might even bump into Mick Jagger. The sound of willow on leather may be more associated with an English village green, but you can also play right here in the Pays de la Loire.

Saumur

Ever since 1992, members of Saumur Cricket Club (53) have enjoyed the quintessentially English game every summer in France. Over the years, players of all ages and abilities have been drawn to the Boulevard de la Marne to enjoy a friendly match in the beautiful surroundings of the Maine-et-Loire. The location of this cricket club is not the only thing that sets it apart from others throughout the world. It’s also unique in having an international rock star as honorary president. Nearby (occasional) resident Mick Jagger became involved by chance thanks to a member of his French staff being friends with a founder of the club. The self-confessed cricket fanatic has visited and even played for the team a number of times over the years, but only when his day job allows. Saumur president Andy German explained: “Mick hasn’t been at the club for a few years, but his bodyguards still turn up occasionally.” Apart from international rock stars, the club is also made up of English expats and even a couple of French players. In fact, Andy has been successful in recruiting a number of French players to a team he coaches in Nantes, where he lives. “We’re hoping more French people will become interested as there’s no other summer team sport in France. But it’s a real surprise to me why cricket hasn’t yet caught on here.” Andy, originally from Weston-Super-Mare, added: “They’ve adopted football and rugby, which are both English sports. But I think it would work very well as cricket is a very sociable sport and the French love the social side of life.” There’s certainly no shortage of socialising at Saumur as the club is a popular destination for touring English teams. However, it’s not all one-way traffic as Andy and his colleagues have organised a trip the other way. They’re due to play the Free Foresters in south-west London, a team in Cambridge and at the president’s hometown club at Weston-Super-Mare. Apart from hoping the French will take to the game more, Andy is also appealing to expats to come along and join him at Saumur

As well as playing visiting English clubs, Saumur also play in a league, although there are few away games. Some experience of playing the game would be preferred, although enthusiastic novices would also be welcomed. If interested, visit here for additional details or email.

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