Wednesday, September 15, 2010

About the Sticky Wicket series

"Watkins at Bat"  was the first in the three-part series, followed by "Watkins Fights Back,"  and "Watkins' Finest Inning." The series concludes with "Watkins' Overseas Tour."
Volume 1: Watkins at Bat
Fernwood Cricket Club is a multi-ethnic, multi-national team from suburban Fernwood in southern New Jersey, USA.  Jamaica Rebels Cricket Club is a homogeneous team from urban Newark in northern New Jersey.
Last season, Fernwood, a team that knows how to win only on paper, did the seemingly impossible. It knocked the reigning champs out of the playoffs. It did so by claiming the points when the Jamaicans showed up late for the game on Fernwood’s home grounds.
Today, in their first meeting of the new season, Fernwood is short of players and Watkins, the club’s manager, comes out of retirement to bat for his team. The gritty Jamaicans, still smarting over the loss by default, are out to give Watkins and his rag-tag team a whipping they will never forgot.
But, like they say, cricket is a funny game; the best team doesn’t always win. The field action comes to a head when the president of the Fernwood Little League shows up with scores of uniformed youngsters and demand that the cricketers get off the field so the kids can play.
Volume 2: Watkins Fights Back 
After pledging anew to his wife that he will give up his cricketing life and spend weekends with his family, Freddie Watkins gets some bad news: Fernwood officials have reassigned the cricket field to Little League.
The instigator of this action is none other than the president of the Fernwood Little League. With a membership that vastly outnumbers the cricketers, Little League has political clout and whatever Little League wants Little League gets.
Watkins’ is not about to go quietly.
But asking his wife for another reprieve so he can take on the local anti-cricket, pro-Little League crowd will be a risky move. However, standing idly by while the club he founded 25 years ago is forced to disband for lack of a field isn’t an option.
Volume 3: Watkins' Finest Inning
It’s showdown time in Fernwood, New Jersey, USA. 
Rebuffed by the establishment in his efforts to find a playing field for his cricket club, and to become part of the mainstream, the intrepid Freddie Watkins marshals his forces – including an unlikely group of middle-school recruits – for a final confrontation with the anti-cricket establishment.
The eleventh-hour offensive could backfire, with dire consequences for his club and his marriage, or it could turn out to be Watkins’ finest innings.
Watkins’ Overseas Tour
The season is over, and instead of going their separate ways, members of the Fernwood Cricket Club decide to go on tour to Jamaica. Watkins, with the help of his wife Gina, organizes a dance to raise funds for the trip.
When the dance money disappears suspicion falls on one of the players, fast bowler Napoleon. As Watkins tries to sort things out, everything that can go wrong goes wrong as Napoleon leads the reader on a see-saw of trust and distrust. 

In these books, I draw from my own experience as one of thousands of immigrants who made America home, but can't seem to shake that fondness for a sport many Americans find most puzzling.

These books are meant to rekindle the childhood passions of many young boys from Trinidad, Grenada, Southeast Asia and other lands where Cricket is King, and introduce my American audience to a past-time that helped a generation of new Americans feel a little less far from home.