ECC Trophy: Croatia, Finland and Spain debut at biggest ever tournament

Cricket's expansion across Europe will be further emphasised when the biggest ever ECC Trophy field (10 countries) (or its predecessor - the European Nations Cup), gets underway on Saturday week.

Fittingly the tournament will be hosted by Austria, a country who's administration has done more than most to nuture the game on the continent.

Also appropriately, one of the main beneficiaries of the Austrian Cricket Association, Croatia, makes its ECC Trophy debut following its recent elevation to ICC Affiliate status, along with Finland and Spain.

Benevolence between the Austrians and Croatians, however, it likely to be limited as the two make up Group A along with 1999 finalist Greece, Belgium and Switzerland.

Fellow 1999 finalist, Portugal, heads Group B, ahead of Malta, Sweden, Spain and newcomers, Finland.

Croatia and Finland come into the tournament with the benefit of having played in Austria at last year's European Representative Festival.

A coup which ousted the development-minded administrration of winner of the Festival, Norway, has seen the country omitted from tournament play by the ECC.

The winner and finalist qualifies for next year's European Championships.

The draw:
Saturday, August 11 - Greece v Austria; Belgium v Croatia
Sunday, August 12 - Malta v Finland, Portugal v Sweden, Switzerland v Greece, Croatia v Austria
Monday, August 13 - Spain v Portugal, Sweden v Finland, Croatia v Switzerland, Austria v Belgium
Tuesday, August 14 - Malta v Sweden, Spain v Finland, Belgium v Greece, Austria v Switzerland
Wednesday, August 15 - Portugal v Finland, Spain v Malta
Thursday, August 16 - Spain v Sweden, Portugal v Malta, Croatia v Greece, Belgium v Switzerland
Friday, August 17 - Semi-final 1, Semi-final 2, Match for 5th place, Match for 7th place
Saturday, August 18 - Final, Match for 9th place