Newbies gear up for European Twenty20
Hungary, Bulgaria and Alderney will be among the newcomers in the second invitational European Twenty20 tournament staged by Welsh side Carmel & District Cricket Club.
The village team based in Flintshire, North Wales, successfully staged the ICC-supported event last year and their beautiful Pen-y-Gelli ground will host international fixtures every day from July 19-26 this summer.
Estonia, who defeated Czech Republic in the 2008 final, will return to defend the trophy in what will be useful preparation for September’s ICC European Division Five Championship campaign in Corfu.
Croatia ‘A', semi-finalists from last year, are also taking part, while Prague Cup winners Russia will hope to improve on their exit at the group stages last time out and, like Hungary, will hope to enhance their claims for ICC Affiliate member status.
The island of Alderney will make their first foray into international cricket while the tournament will also include a Flanders representative team captained by former France coach Dave Szumowski including a number of players from Lille Cricket Club.
EuroTwenty20 organiser Timothy Abraham said: “It is a real honour for Carmel to be helping the development of cricket throughout Europe and the line-up for this year’s tournament is a particularly exciting one.
“I know a lot of the countries in 2008’s event gained valuable experience from playing on traditional turf pitches rather than artificial ones, and our groundsmen Tony Ryles and Neil Taylor were praised by everyone after they produced some outstanding batting strips.
“Cardiff will be staging an Ashes Test match in July and the ICC World Twenty20 also takes place this year so it’s great that North Wales will have its own bit of international cricket to look forward to.”
Carmel skipper Danny Oliver is also looking forward to captaining the host team in the tournament and is hoping they go further than their elimination at the group stage last summer.
“The tournament was played in a tremendous spirit with some great cricket and it promises to be bigger and better this year,” Oliver said.
“Having several different cultures up at the ground was brilliant and I think we opened a lot of people’s eyes that cricket is now a global game which is played by many countries outside of the major Test-playing nations.
“The strength of the teams and quality of opposition also probably surprised us a bit last year so we’ll have to be firing on all cylinders if we are to win it.”