Finland: Vantaa wins Championship
The 2nd official Finnish Cricket Association League season was brought to a close in Ruskeasuo, Helsinki on September 9th by the 40-over final played between Helsinki CC and Vantaa CC. Unfortunately, after an exciting close to the round-robin stages when the top 3 teams could only be split on aggregate run-rate with Stadi CC losing out, the final turned out to be somewhat of an anti-climax.
Having won the toss, Vantaa chose to bat and helped by some sound middle-order batting by Mutugala with 48 and captain Shabbir Ghulam 51 followed by a typically explosive 58 from Mubasheer, they managed to post a respectable 207. However, at this stage Vantaa must have felt that the 3,4 unused overs should have been better utilised and a total nearer top 250 posted.
This fear however never materialised as Helsinki stuttered immediately in their reply. Indeed, wickets fell with a grim regularity for the last years champions and, despite a fighting 29 from A Bhatia, they were never in the chase. In the 20th over the innings was brought to a close on 92 with 4 wickets for Mubasheer and 2 a piece for Rodrigo and Ghulam. Vantaa were crowned the new Finnish champions.
Umpiring - With great help from MCC umpire, Brian J Canniford, the FCA progressed further with its Finnish cricket development program and obtained 8 passes in the ACU&S part 1 umpires exams.
These 8 umpires will form the base for the FCA's umpiring committee in 2001 and will assist greatly in raising the standard of umpiring throughout the country at all levels.
Coaching - The FCA has recently confirmed stage 1 coaching weekends in Helsinki end-November and early December which will be held by Gloucs CCC coach Stuart Barnes for 13 local players as part of the European Development Program. These coaches will then be nominated to be the driving-force behind cricket development in Finland both at junior and senior school level and within the Fiinish National team set-up.