USA news January 29, 2014

ACF launches North American Championship

The American Cricket Federation (ACF) has announced that it will stage a North American Cricket Championship in Phoenix, Arizona from March 7-9.

The championship will consist of a three-match, 40-over series played between a team representing the Midwest Cricket Conference, winners of the ACF Twenty20 National Championship in Florida last October, and a team from the prestigious Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club.

"It is my hope that this elevated level of competition, along with the first introduction of national structure and context to the American cricket season, will ultimately result in better cricket throughout the country," the ACF's chief executive, Jamie Harrison, said.

"I also expect that this opportunity to compete at higher levels, given to all ACF member leagues, will spur local and national rivalries and create a new level of competitiveness that USA cricket needs to progress."

The matches will be played at Nichols Park Basin, a turf wicket facility in suburban Phoenix that is used by the Arizona Cricket Association. The ACF is also in the planning stages of organising a domestic inter-league competition, tentatively scheduled to get underway this summer, called the American Cricket Champions League that will feed into the ACF National Championship.

"The American Cricket Federation is dedicated to providing greater opportunities for all cricket stakeholders and this is just the beginning of that process," Harrison said.

The creation of the North American Cricket Championship is another step towards legitimacy in ACF's battle with the USA Cricket Association. Formed in 2011, the ACF is a rival governing body to the USACA, which is the ICC-recognised national governing body for cricket in America.

Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent. He tweets here