The only fully accredited ODI Cricket ground in Kenya outside Nairobi.
History of Cricket at the Mombasa Sports Club
The cricket pitch is the centre piece of Mombasa Sports Club and has been so since 896. It is generally considered to be the most picturesque ground in Kenya, circled by ancient trees, including baobab and huge mangoes. Although some form of cricket in Mombasa is recorded as early as 1881, on Church Missionary Society land at Freretown, It is certain that the Sports Club is the oldest "proper cricket ground" in Kenya. It is probable that the earliest games were fairly informal, maybe not even "eleven-a-side" and played by a group of enthusiasts from the Colonial and Military services, early in 1896.
It is also probable that the playing area at that time I was not quite as extensive as today, nor as smooth. I Nevertheless, the earliest photograph, in 1897,shows the original pavilion with the mango and fig trees behind. The first photograph of a game, taken from the pavilion side, shows our baobab clearly, with the mangoes near the present practice wicket. Mombasa's first game to make the press was the match in September 1896 against HMS Sparrow, as recorded in the Zanzibar Gazette of October 14th 1896. The same newspaper recorded the official opening of ground when the same teams met on April 19th 1897.
Thereafter, weekend games became a regular feature of Mombasa's sporting and social life. In 1901, dle Parsee Cricket Club was formed, playing on the "Mnazi Moja" ground, although we cannot trace details of contests between the Clubs. By 1903, cricket was being played in Nairobi and in the same year, a military team from Somaliland came to play against the Sports Club. There are also records of cricket being played in Kilifi, in about 1912.
From these early beginnings, cricket developed rapidly in Mombasa and in Kenya. Coast Stragglers, playing on the pitch adjacent to Loreto Convent School, were regular opponents and Kenya Kongonis, the "MCC" of Kenya cricket, made annual visits from Nairobi. Over the years, there have been frequent visits by teams from England, India, Pakistan, South Africa and even further afar, all of whom have praised our facilities. The more recent eminent visitors from England include MCC, on several occasions, English Minor Countries, Warwickshire, Lancashire and the strong Club Cricket Conference side, who met their only tour defeat at Mombasa.
Mombasa Sports Club once again hosted some exciting International cricket matches to welcome in the New Year. Six One-Day International matches were held on the 17th to 24th January 2007. Kenya hosted the cricket teams from Scotland and Canada, who played each other in a Tri-Series cricket tournament in the heat of the Mombasa sun.
With the World Cricket League, featuring the six leading Associate countries, which is being held in Nairobi from January 30th, and the start of the ICC World Cup in the Caribbean only eight weeks away from the opening match, these matches were an excellent warm-up for all three countries.
The opening match saw Kenya beat Scotland by 190 runs, after Kenya posted 328-5 and then bowled Scotland out in the 37 over for 138. The second match was a lot closer, with Scotland (293-8 in 49.5 overs) narrowly beating Canada (292-5) by two wickets with one ball remaining. Scotland’s Ryan Watson hit 123. Unfortunately the third match between Kenya and Canada was forfeited to the Kenyans as some of the Canadian team had fallen ill to a virus. The fourth game was a tense affair, as Kenya beat Scotland by 6 runs, as Kenya posted 259 runs thanks to a comeback 113 run by Ravi Shah. Scotland could only muster 253 runs from their 50 overs with Steve Tikolo wrapping up the game with his best bowling figures of 4-41. Scotland beat the Canadians in the fifth game by 2 wickets after Canada scored 208 all out in 44.3 overs thanks to Scottish captain Craig Wright’s best ODI bowling figures of 4-29. Scotland scored the needed 209 runs with 16 balls remaining. In the closing match Canada scored 213-9 and then managed to bowl Kenya out for 144 runs, giving them their first win of the tournament by 69 runs.
The tournament was a huge success, and thanks to the Members, Management and Staff at Mombasa Sports Club for maintaining and preparing such wonderful facilities for these countries to play Cricket in. It was also a success for the Kenyan side, who meet Canada in their opening game of the World Cup, which won all but one of their matches.