Elisha Prophet Steele may have one of the best sporting records in Niagara-on-the-Lake – or anywhere.
He just led the NOTL Clippers to their 25th victory in the annual cricket match Sunday between Niagara’s temporary farmworkers.
Steele has only lost two matches in his 27 years on and leading the team.
“I feel great. Remember what you asked me before?” Steele, captain of the Clippers and part-time NOTL resident for nearly 30 years, said in an interview Monday.
“I told you I’m not playing to lose,” he said with a laugh.
“Based on what you wrote too, so many people read it, so I had to do it.”
Despite a ferocious 90 minutes of lashing rain, which delayed the game, the Clippers’ spirits never dwindled and they beat the Vineland Lions 106-81.
Steele was sufficiently happy with his team’s performance and gives credit to the Lions for making it a great game.
“They put up a good challenge but they need the trophies more than I do,” Steele said with his characteristic laugh.
“They were fighting very hard and I like the challenge.”
Some of the players on the Clippers were on the team for the first time this year. When The Lake Report spoke with Steele about the game last week, he said he needed to be sure he picked the right guys.
“Well, they have certainly done the job,” he said afterward.
Steele thanked The Lake Report for the advanced coverage of the event, which he said helped bring out a bigger crowd than in previous years.
And people in attendance reiterated that reading about the “Men of Steele” drew them to the match.
“We found out about this through the paper,” said Colette Williams as she hid from the rain under an elm tree at Memorial Park
“It was a great interview (with Steele),” her husband Clark said.
“We’re hockey fans but the Rangers lost,” he said.
“But, really, we love to learn about the game,” Colette said, noting she has played cricket in the past but had a tendency of throwing her bat across the field when she swung.
“Supporting these guys (is why I’m here). They are an amazing group of guys and, of course, a huge part of the community,” said Sue Dale, who is a volunteer at the Farmworker Hub in Virgil.
“And you know? What a great opportunity it is to learn about another culture. It’s a privilege and great insight into how a whole other part of the world lives,” she said.
The match is organized by the Caribbean Workers Outreach Program in partnership with GateWay Community Church.
Sponsors included Baskin-Robbins and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc., which brought food for everyone and even purchased uniforms. Simon Bollie performed music for the crowd.