• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
My Swedish Career
Meet the Brit bringing cricket to Sweden
David Williman at a Sweden-Norway cricket match. Photo: Private

Meet the Brit bringing cricket to Sweden

Catherine Edwards · 1 Feb 2016, 08:01

Published: 01 Feb 2016 06:59 GMT+01:00
Updated: 01 Feb 2016 08:01 GMT+01:00

Before the move, Williman, from Ipswich, had worked in banking for 26 years, though he had played cricket for fun since the age of nine and even trained as a coach.

“It had always been my passion, but paid no money – especially not compared to banking!” he explains.

But in 2014, he and his Swedish wife Marie decided they wanted a change. They had visited Sweden regularly, and Williman says he was always impressed by the Scandinavian nation. “It’s so clean, so empty, so organized – all the things England isn’t. And suddenly we began to start talking seriously about moving.”

“You get one go at life,” says Williman. “We were both getting a bit bored with what we were doing, and with both our sons at university, it seemed like the perfect time to do something different. I felt that I had always taken an easy option in life, and now was the right time to take a risk.”

Williman moved to Blentarp in the far south of Sweden at the start of 2015, still with no fixed career plan in mind.

“Then I found out they have cricket teams here too. I joined Malmöhus Cricket Club, and the chairman there was an ex-Swedish national cricket player. He told me that cricket was about to take off in Sweden, and that with my coaching badges I could be very useful.”

Williman was invited to coach the national under-17 team, leading them to victory against Norway in a three-day match last August. “That gave me a little bit of kudos,” laughs Williman.


Photo: Private

At around this time, cricket was awarded the status of a national sport in Sweden, meaning there was government money to train coaches and provide facilities, a huge boost for the sport. “Up until then, it had been starved of resources,” Williman tells us, explaining that particularly in Sweden's harsh winter, it is important to have adequate training facilities.

He decided that the timing was right to turn his passion into a career, and launched his own cricket coaching company, drwcricket, on January 1st this year. However, he realized it might be an uphill battle when he first approached the Swedish Public Employment Service for support.

“In my first meeting, when I mentioned cricket, the woman asked ‘Is that where you sit on a horse and hit a ball with a stick?’ But somehow I convinced her and got some support for the first six months of my business.”

As well as community work and taster sessions in schools, Williman has put forward a project proposal for a cricket programme for refugees, based on a successful scheme in London.

“I want to use cricket as a vehicle to bring disadvantaged young lads together in a safe environment," he explains. "It can help them integrate and teach the values they will be expected to follow in their new country, like respect and timekeeping.”

Cricket has helped Williman personally to integrate in his new nation. “I turned up at the club, and within three days I had 12 new mates. It has helped me meet all sorts of different people.”

Williman has also recently been named as Head of Development for Swedish Cricket and Assistant Coach to the National Team, and he says the game is "slowly growing" in Sweden.

“We’ve got around 3,000 players and 50 teams across the country, with a big hotspot in Stockholm where there are about 25 teams,” Williman tells The Local. This summer, from August 16th-21st, Stockholm will play host to the European Cricket Championship for the first time.

So how are Swedes reacting to this very British sport?

“It is still very much a minority sport, and not enough native Swedes are playing,” he admits, adding that it is often expats from places such as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka who get involved. But he hopes that it will catch on once Swedes realize that cricket uses the same skills as more popular sports such as ice hockey and handball.


Photo: Private

Story continues below…

And Williman has another trick up his sleeve when it comes to piquing Swedes' interest in cricket. Williman coaches in English and says that he takes advantage of Swedes' ‘anglophilia’ to help promote the sport.

“It’s a new game taught in their favourite second language!”

In gender-equal Sweden, Williman is also focusing on including girls in the sport and is working on women's development sessions.

"It's a good sport for girls, because it's a tactical, thinking game and it isn't all about strength," he says.

Indeed, women's cricket is a fast-growing sport worldwide, and last October, a woman played in a professional men's team in Australia.

One year after arriving in Sweden, Williman couldn’t be happier. He smiles: “I’m doing something I’ve always wanted to do in a country I never imagined I’d be living in!”

Catherine Edwards (catherine.edwards@thelocal.com)

Today's headlines
Swedish ex-prime minister Thorbjorn Fälldin dead at 90
Fälldin in 1981. Photo: TT/FLT-PICA

Thorbjorn Fälldin, the former farmer who became prime minister in Sweden's first non-Social Democratic government since World War II, has died at the age of 90.

Swedish police fear serial rapist on loose in Malmö
The attacker is thought to be in his mid-twenties and had been seen riding his bike in the area prior to the incident. Photo:TT

The rape of a 14-year-old girl in Malmö has led police to conjecture that there may be a serial rapist operating in the southern Swedish city.

Stockholm Pokémon hunter impaled on metal fence spike
Another Swede playing Pokémon Go in Stockholm. Photo: Izabelle Nordfjell/TT

He tried to climb a fence to find more Pokémon.

Video
When Alicia Vikander taught us to put our pen in the bottle
Swedish actress Alicia Vikander and US talkshow host Jimmy Fallon. Photo: Tonight Show/NBC/Screenshot

We're not even sure if that's a euphemism or not.

Muslim man fired for not shaking women's hands
File photo of people shaking hands. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

A man is suing a local council in Sweden after he lost his job for refusing to shake hands with female colleagues.

Swedish bus driver who hit asylum seeker: 'I'm not racist'
The story has grabbed global headlines. Photo: Nobina

A Swedish bus driver caught on camera beating and kicking an asylum seeker has for the first time spoken to media.

Stay out, the water's filthy! Germs ruin Swedes' swims
Seagulls only.

Fancy a dip? If so, you might want to keep your mouth shut.

Man kicked off flight from Sweden over 'Isis tattoo'
A Norwegian plane at Stockholm Arlanda Airport. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

A flight from Stockholm was delayed on Thursday after it was claimed that one of the passengers had an Isis flag tattooed on his arm.

Homes
In pictures: Are Swedes falling in love with colour at last?
What happened to the Swedish greyscale? Photo: Linda Åhman

Antonia Wiklund of Houzz.se investigates why the Swedes are abandoning their sleek and clean interior design for vibrant colours.

The Local Recipes
How to make Swedish cold poached salmon
Cold poached salmon. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

Poached salmon is a Swedish summer classic. Food writer John Duxbury shares his recipe with The Local.

Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
National
Watch this Swedish weather host leave his fly open... on live TV
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
The Local Voices
'I fled war in Syria. I never expected to be beaten in Sweden'
National
WATCH: Asylum seeker brutally beaten by Swedish bus driver
Blog updates

14 July

Boris Johnson: why Britain’s new foreign minister is cordially loathed (Globally Local) »

"There are lots of things to say about Boris Johnson, Britain’s new foreign secretary. He is…" READ »

 

11 July

Swedish quizzes (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I have created some quizzes you can take online to test your Swedish skills. Here…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
Technology
Why everyone is talking about Sweden's GTA pride parade
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
EU hits truck cartel with record price fixing fine
Society
OPINION: Why Sweden is the most extreme country in the world
The Local Voices
'There is equality in accommodation in Sweden: Everyone is suffering'
Sponsored Article
What can newcomers learn about Sweden at Almedalen?
Gallery
Property of the week: Gräsö, Östhammar
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th-17th
National
How to make sure you're not caught out by Sweden's old bank notes
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Business & Money
Why Sweden has been named the most innovative country in Europe
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
Terror attack: what should you do?
National
French expat on the moment he was assaulted by a Stockholm bouncer
Technology
Gunman? Nah, smartphone Swede
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
The Local Voices
'If the war in Syria ended today, would you go back?'
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
The Local Voices
‘I feel like I’m living in a grave!’
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of Berlin
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Victoria celebrates 39th birthday
Sponsored Article
Why you need a EuroBonus American Express Card
Gallery
People-watching: July 13th
National
Swedes discover surprise mountain
Politics
What Sweden's home secretary thinks of Britain's new PM
Gallery
Property of the week: Smedjebacken, Dalarna
The Local Voices
'Even xenophobic Swedes can be polite’
Politics
WATCH: A very Swedish take on Brexit...
National
Swede's fury at Daily Mail's Bråvalla 'lies'
Gallery
People-watching: July 8th-10th
National
Sweden and Denmark trolled each other on Twitter and it's hilarious
The Local Voices
'The best time to be smuggled to Europe is August 20th, 2015'
National
ANALYSIS: Why Swedes are talking more about immigration than before
National
Watch Icelanders cheer their Swedish hero coach
The Local Voices
Swedes: Stop obsessing over your material life and start talking to strangers
3,336
jobs available