A busy Swiss cricket season starts this weekend with both the national team and club sides playing their first competitive matches for 2000.
The national team travels to Luxembourg to meet the local representative side in one-day matches on successive days, while at home a League season bolstered by the addition of three new clubs commences.
The North-East League will include the two new-comers, Zurich's Classic and Nomads, as well as Royal Lankans, who have returned after several years in the Swiss Cricket Conference.
The new will join the old with North East also comprising one of the Swiss Cricket Association's founding clubs, Basle CC, and Winterthur.
Berne, CERN (Geneva), Cossonay and Geneva will contest the South-West Group.
The League will be held on a home-and-away basis with the winners of both groups meeting the runner-up in the other in the semi-finals scheduled for September 3 (reserve date September 10). The final will be played in Geneva on September 17 (reserve date September 24).
Royal Lankans official, Anil Nanavakara, predicted a successful return for his club to the establishment fold:
"The batting would be our strength with perhaps Roy Atapattu our main run maker. All-rounders Patrick Taylor and Udaya Perera are also two of our better players."
In the same group, Swiss national team player, Jacques Boschoff, is probably the key to Basle's chances this season, with his quick bowling a factor.
Australian David Sykes provides solidarity for Basle as an opening batsman, while Magsood Khan should also be a substantial contributor.
Basle has in recent years gradually changed from a club with a British flavour, to a more cosmopolitan feel with New Zealanders, Jamaicans, Trinidadians and Pakistanis among the club's membership.
Meanwhile in the South West, Cossonay hopes the departure of several key players does not dent its ambition of making the semi-finals, after missing out last year for the first time in three seasons.
It will seek big performances from Swiss internationals John Bird and Drew Gamage, and Jason Lumsden (rh bat, seamer), Llwyr Jones (rh bat; fast-medium) and David Hall (rh bat).
An interesting player for Cossonay is John Franklin who despite the anglocised name, grew up and learnt cricket in Switzerland.
The Cossonay club has a strong indigenous flavour with Beat Friedli (opener), Daniel K mpf (middle order), Moritz von Hohenzollern (slow right-arm, late order) and Alex Zecevic (slow, right-arm) among the Swiss-born in its line-up.
Its expatriates are not only your standard British, Indian and Pakistani, but also German, Dutch and French.
Following this weekend's away 'internationals', will be a visit to Geneva by the French national team, with successive friendlies to be played on May 20 and 21.
Next month Switzerland will contest a triangular tournament in Oporto, Portugal against the host nation and Sweden.
The SCA also hopes to send the national squad to either Mallorca or Malta in October. All the above are friendlies.
SCA XIs will also play Ingatestone CC in Essex on July 19 and 20 and participate in the City of Durham (GB) Friendship Festival (club sides from all over the world) from July 29 to August 6.
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