A busy year in store for the Falkland Islands
The Commander of the British Forces XI has drawn first blood in the three-game South Atlantic Ashes in the Falkland Islands, winning the opening match against the Governor's XI by 105 runs. The CBFs, representing the military, notched up 203 in their 50 overs, before the Governor's XI, drawn from the island's civilians, were dismissed for 98.
It was the first serious game of what is going to be a busy 18 months for cricket in the islands.
In July, 2010, the Islands will be the third team in a unique triangular tournament in Scotland featuring teams from geographical locations all sharing the name Falkland. They will join Falkland CC from Perthshire, which will be celebrating their centenary and Falkland CC from Berkshire in England.
The story of how the three locations came to be known as Falkland is interesting.
"The Viscount Falkland was King Charles I deputy commander at the first battle of Newbury in the English Civil War in approximately 1634. His son was Charles II, Secretary for the Admiralty, in 1682 when the Falkland Islands were discovered and were named after him. His stately home was Falkland Palace in Perthshire," explained Falkland Islands Cricket Association official, Roger Diggle.
The first battle of the Falkland cricket XIs, however, will actually take place next month when the Berkshire club visit the islands for the Falkland Cricket Festival in the first week of March. They will take on a Stanley XI civilian team, a Mount Pleasant side, drawn from the military, and a Combined Falkland Islands XI. The club will then head off to Chile.
During the Falkland Cricket Festival two junior matches will also be played to select a representative Under-18 team to tour Chile.
Meanwhile, the second Ashes match will be played on February 14 and the decider on March 7. The teams will play for a trophy, which features a bird hatching from an egg representing the birth of the mythical Phoenix.
There's also a four team Twenty20 league involving Kelpers and Stanley, drawn from civilians, as well as military teams, Mount Pleasant and Royal Navy.
The Falkland Islands Cricket Association is also in the process of raising funds to lay a cricket pitch in Stanley. At the moment matches are played at the military base at Mount Pleasant, which requires a two-and-a-half-hour round trip from the town. "It will allow midweek matches and the 20/20 league to develop," Diggle said.
The amount of cricket played in the Falkland Islands has increased significantly. The South Atlantic Ashes was a social match played once a year which has expanded into the three-game series while the Twenty20 league is now in its fourth season.
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa