2014 John Bart King Award winner: Norris Guscott (Harvard) !

Norris in action vs Princeton at the 2013 American College Cricket Ivy League Championship at the historic Philadelphia Cricket Club

Norris in action vs Princeton at the 2013 American College Cricket Ivy League Championship at the historic Philadelphia Cricket Club

The primary purpose of the John Bart King Award is to recognize & encourage our American players who did not grow up with cricket, but chose to learn and play the game – each year the Award to goes to the best. It primarily honors players whose parents did not come from a ‘major cricket playing country’ but may include any American.

In the 2014 American College Cricket Home & Away season Norris Guscott took 10 catches (tied for #1) and had 7 Stumpings. In 2013 he took the most catches, 6.

Norris grew up in Lynn,Ma and like the typical American boy he was, he played football & baseball whilst his close friend “like a brother to me” Danny Yetman (2013 John Bart King Award winner) played hockey & lacrosse. If Norris heard of cricket during those years it had no meaning to him, and there was no Youtube, ESPN3 or any way to accidentally see cricket in Lynn, MA, “I had no idea about cricket until 6 years ago ! “

On vacation in England though Norris saw a cricket match, and being the young Napoleon he was,he thought, “What if I got the boys back home playing this, I bet we would dominate !”

A conqueror needs soldiers so Norris recruited his childhood friend Danny Yetman and a couple of friends.

“I learned the basics and then introduced it to Dan and a couple hometown friends. One night Danny and I watched a NZ test and he really surprised me the next day by giving me Martin Guptill’s stats- That’s when I knew he was taking it seriously. We upped the ante and took one of his goalie sticks and snapped the blade off for a perfect cricket bat and also constructed a wicket with the appropriate measurements (I also constructed a mini cricket set in my dorm !).

Our first time “playing cricket” was in the snow in a cul-de-sac. My first pair of “wicket keeping gloves” were heavy duty garden gloves and a baseball served as our cricket ball – we made it work though. Ultimately, we moved to school yards and then settled on a caged in area very near and dear to our hearts called called Flax Pond; This where we learned the basics of cricket: batting, bowling, and fielding (friendly sledging). The beauty of Flax pond is that it taught us to play controlled aerial shots and to hit along the ground because if you didn’t– right in the pond it would go. Also because it was usually just us 2 and one other person, we had to learn how to do it all- bowl,bat, and wicketkeep.

I tried out for a club,United Athletic CC under Grant Headley in the MSCL and appreciate them for giving me the opportunity. Halfway during my cricket season, I felt Dan had all the basics needed to try out for my club and he made it. In terms of practice and development, Dan and I are extremely,viciously hard on ourselves. When we practice or work out – we go all the way and all day. We spend hours watching/reading current material on technique and even more applying them in practice.

Dan and I are trying (and succeeding) in bringing our American friends to matches and introducing them to cricket. I don’t know why people reckon it’s so hard to get Americans into cricket.

Ivy League Champion Norris with Anja & Lloyd Jodah

Ivy League Champion Norris with Anja & Lloyd Jodah

The 6′ 2 200 lbs Norris made the new Harvard team in 2012 as wicket keeper and has now played in 2 American College Cricket National Championships, 2 Ivy League C’ships & a North East Regionals and 2 Home & Away seasons. In 2013 Harvard won the inaugural American College Cricket Home & Away season, and in 2014 they won the Ivy League Championship for the Colin Michael Jodah Trophy. Harvard is currently ranked # 3 in the country in the Power Rankings. Norris’ contribution has been incalculable.

Though Norris’ Mom was Jamaican (unfortunately he lost her in 2014) & his Dad English, Norris grew up in Lynn with no connection to cricket. He has 2 sisters & 3 brothers. His favorite cricketers include Brian Lara and Shiv Chanderpaul (increased because of Shiv’s support of American College Cricket) whilst he strives to emulate New Zealand’s record setting BJ Watling.

Harvard’s former Captain Ibrahim Khan said,“Norris is a passionate cricket player, and a dedicated student of the game who is constantly studying cricket’s many intricacies in an effort to improve.”

Friend Danny Yetman said,”Norris is a life-long friend and a great wicket keeper. He carries the spirit of the game where ever he goes.”

Norris is currently “doing grad work with Harvard’s iLab working with other students on a start up that aims to deliver healthcare to rural villages in India utilizing mobile technology” whilst working at the Harvard School of Public Health.

American College Cricket President Lloyd Jodah stated, “From the moment I met him I saw Norris’ passion for the game, and his delight, which he expressed to me, at what American College Cricket was doing. He, like Bart King himself, and the previous John Bart King Award winners, truly epitomizes how cricket can capture one’s soul.”

Previous winners of the John Bart King Award are :

2009 – Curt Sonnet (George Washington U)

2010 – Ian Carlin (College of Wooster), appeared in the pre-Super Bowl Jan 31, 2011 issue of Sports Illustrated

2011 – Darren Stortz (U of Iowa)

2012 – Nick Mancino (U of Pennsylvania)

2013 – Danny Yetman (Harvard)

The John Bart King Award is named in honor of America’s greatest cricket player. It is awarded annually to an American College Cricket player, who learnt, and plays despite not having grownup with the game.

Posted by ljodah | Harvard,NEWS,Universities