World Cricket League May 17, 2009

Gibraltar aiming to retain Division 7 status

Gibraltar captain Chris Rocca reflects on his start to the tournament

Gibraltar captain Chris Rocca reflects on his start to the tournament

There are mixed feelings in the Gibraltar camp tonight after the opening day of the ICC World Cricket League Division 7.

Having made such a good start in our opening match to reduce Bahrain to 52 for 4, we are full of confidence, although it was disappointing not to get the chance to see if we could record a victory against them because of the rain. We know we need to apply ourselves for our next match against Guernsey tomorrow – the only team in this tournament that we have played on a regular basis previously.

It is great to be involved in international competition again, after being a veteran of ICC Trophy tournaments in the past.

There is a great passion for cricket and the history of the game in Gibraltar stretches back a lot longer than most people would think. The sport has been played since the late 18th century, with historians believing the first ground was set up in 1800 by British serviceman.

Television coverage, live on Sky, has meant that young people are able to watch international matches on a regular basis and this has helped inspire a very successful youth development programme, with two development officers working for Gibraltar cricket at the moment.

Even outside of the structured cricket programme, you see kids playing in the park, which is something that would never have happened 10 years ago.

This has helped ensure that we have a strong, young team, who are all committed to playing the game and taking the time off work to come away to these events.

As part-time cricketers, it is always difficult to get a balance between playing cricket and work, whether you are a student or a barrister, which is my occupation.

Realistically, our aim this week is to maintain our status in Division 7. We’ll be delighted if we get promoted and very disappointed if we get relegated, but with the prospect of having to play six matches in seven days who knows what will happen in this tournament. I just hope the weather gives us a chance to play tomorrow.