SAULT STE. MARIE – The Local Immigration Partnership and the City of Sault Ste. Marie hosted a Cricket Showdown as a way of welcoming newcomers to the area on November 9.

Dhairya Dave has been part of the Sault College cricket team since he moved here from India almost a year ago.

"It's my passion and since childhood, I have been playing with my father this particular game. And coming to know that this game is being played in our city… I was motivated to be my 100% with this team," he explained.

Cricket is the fastest growing sport in Canada and it's particularly popular among newcomers who come from countries where the sport is big.

The first annual Cricket Showdown is an effort to celebrate that by giving players at Sault College, Algoma University and the Sault Ste. Marie Cricket Club a chance to compete against each other.

"Create opportunities for newcomers to participate in recreational opportunities and sports that they themselves are familiar with, and an opportunity to meet and to get out and to have social opportunities here in these wonderful facilities that we have in Sault Ste. Marie," said Adrian DeVuono, Local Immigration Partnership Coordinator.

The players are also sharing their love of the game with community members by teaching them how to play.

"Building the community aspect of it, the training aspect of it, I think that's important moving forward… that we don't just look at the competitive aspect but we look at bringing community members that might be interested and providing a space for them," said Dave Mornix, co-founder of the Sault Ste. Marie Cricket Club.

Dave says being part of the Sault College Cricket Team has helped a lot with his transition to the city.

"Helping everybody to get to know each other and get something they want from the community like support, family, warmth… everything that I have received is part of this particular game and sport," he expressed.

Organizers said the main goal of this event is to bring newcomers and Saultites together, creating a sense of community and belonging for everyone involved.

The idea is to hold events like this every year and potentially even expand it into the summer.