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The European Cricket Council's European Cricket Championships, which are being held in Scotland, are the first to be organised under the auspices of the International Cricket Council’s World Cricket League.
The tournament will feature 13 countries in two divisions playing 30 matches in seven days at 12 west of Scotland grounds, starting on Thursday (August 3).
The Division 1 sides - Scotland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Italy - will play a round-robin tournament, from which there is no relegation. The three matches involving the first three named teams are deemed by the International Cricket Council as official One-Day Internationals, and will be played at Ayr Cricket Club, where ground facilities have been upgraded with support from South Ayrshire Council.
Scotland’s other two matches will be played at New Anniesland (against Denmark) and Hamilton Crescent (against Italy).
Division 2 consists of eight teams - France, Germany, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Hellas (Greece), Israel, Jersey and Norway - who will play in two initial pools of four, followed by crossover semi-finals and four ranking finals - and one team will be promoted to the first division in two years’ time. The facilities at all grounds have been equipped with additional weather protection and other enhancements, thanks to a range of local authority grants and commercial support.
A huge bonus is available for the Division 2 teams, with the winners not only promoted to the European Division 1 in 2008, but also a place in the new ICC World Cricket League Division 5 in 2007-08. This team will receive $20,000 towards preparation of that event, the venue of which is still to be decided.
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and AfricaFeeds: Martin Williamson
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Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.