May 8, 1999

Finland looks to set up organised competition structure

A meeting this week will determine whether cricket in Finland will have its own organised competition this northern summer

A meeting this week will determine whether cricket in Finland will have its own organised competition this northern summer.

Previously cricket in Finland consisted of a series of 40-over per side friendlies between the four active clubs, SKK (City Cricket Club), Helsinki C.C., Turku C.C., Vantaa C.C. and Lahti C.C., which may not form a squad this year.

SKK, which was formed in 1995, currently comprises members from England, Wales, Australia, Sri Lanka, Finland and a new recruit from Sierra Leone, whilst within the other squads are additionally players from the West Indies, Pakistan, S Africa and Bangladesh.

One of the highlights of the Finnish season is the annual Sixes tournament, which will this year be held on June 19 for the "Finnish Sixes" trophy.

Enthusiasts in Finland have contacted the ICC's European Development Officer, Nigel Laughton, regarding forming a national cricket association with a view to obtaining Affiliate member status of the ICC.

Plans for the ECC/MCC to send a coach later in the season to Finland are in the preliminary stages.

An obstacle to growth is that the Finnish cricket community does not yet have sufficient numbers to qualify for official recognition or assistance from the Finnish Sports authorities.

Presently the players compete on a coconut mat wicket which is laid out on a firm sand track. This ground is shared with the local baseball club and local cricket administrators are on the lookout for a new ground.

Not unexpectedly the weather plays its part with thermal underwear an absolute necessity for all games throughout May. Another unique Finnish cricketing experience was a game last year when the scorecard read "elk stopped play" as the beast ran wild through the outfield.

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