If you want to play pickup soccer all you need is a ball and a field.
If you want to play pickup cricket you need a bit more.
A tennis ball (or four, in case one bounces away) will do in place of the hard leather ball typically used in games. Wooden spikes will do for wickets, and sticks with blue surveyors’ tape on them work for denoting the outfield boundaries.
Playing cricket also requires a flat wooden bat but Keith Clarke, who works at the Beach Plum Inn, took care of that dilemma, creating bats out of scrap boards. And on a recent Friday afternoon, it is Mr. Clarke, wearing a bold yellow T-shirt with a Jamaican flag on it, who stands in Julie Flanders’ horse field in Chilmark, measuring out the outfield to regulation size before planting the sticks. He pounds the wickets into the ground with a rock.
“We started planning about two weeks ago,” he explained. Cricket is big in Mr. Clarke’s hometown of Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and he and his fellow Jamaican coworkers at the Inn and at the Home Port decided to bring the sport to the Vineyard before going home at the end of the month. He asked Ms. Flanders if they could use the field, and “arranged it up.”
The field is dry and littered with horse droppings, but there are no horses to be found; they are in a different pasture. During the first cricket match, Ms. Flanders said, the horses peered over a low stone wall at the far end of the field, curious about the ongoings.
Late on Friday afternoon, players and fans arrive from down the road in Menemsha. Most are wearing some piece of white clothing, the standard color of cricket uniforms. One player has brought a pair of white Puma sneakers that she slips into with ease. Jade Deerle of the Beach Plum has found a friend to cover his shift so he can play, too.
In a regulation game, there would be 11 players on each side, but for pickup cricket you really need only four or five. Players have already divided up into Team Menemsha and Team Windmill. Based on the first inning, a smart bettor would choose Menemsha.
Cricket has a reputation for being a time-consuming endeavor, and it’s easy to see why during Friday’s game. In this version of the game (there are less lengthy ways to play), an inning is not over until every single player on a side is out. If a team has a pair of ringers like Calbert Roberts and Kiran Morrison, as Team Menemsha does, it can be a while before the next side gets to play. Mr. Morrison racked up 34 of Team Menemsha’s 73 first-inning runs.
Mr. Roberts, wearing all white (T-shirt, pants and baseball hat) in the style of a regulation cricket uniform, belts the tennis ball all the way up the side of the hill, prompting loud laughter and cheers, and scoring six runs in the process. He raises his hands in celebration, then taps bats with Mr. Morrison.
“That’s a six!” someone cries. “Another one, Cali!”
Team Windmill finally gets to take the field, but they are quickly dispatched by the Menemsha bowlers (pitchers). Team Menemsha cheers and runs a victory lap before two players stop in the center, between the wickets, and pose a la Jamaican countryman and gold-medal sprinter Usain Bolt.
Mr. Clarke said that in his hometown he usually plays on concrete pitches. When he went scouting for locations in Chilmark, however, he knew he had found the right spot.
“Yes,” he remembered thinking on seeing the field, “This is the perfect place.”