Busy season ahead for Zagreb Cricket Club

Invitations to compete in the inaugural European Representative Festival and the Austrian Trophy knockout competition make this season possibly Zagreb Cricket Club's most exciting ever.

While Croatia's only cricket club has survived on friendlies in past seasons, inclusion in the two tournaments will make this the busiest in Zagreb's short history.

The two competitions will provide different experiences for the club mainly built on Croatians who have returned from cricketing countries such as Australia and New Zealand.

The Austrian Trophy will give Zagreb a chance to compare its standard against opposition hardened by regular matches in the local domestic league.

Its first round game is against Vienna CC on June 3 in Seebarne near Vienna and should it win it will play fellow Viennese club Lords CC the next day at the same ground. The club hopes that its 20-30 loyal supporters will join the 20 or so players in the trip.

August's European Representative Festival will pit it against clubs with similar one-club country status - Warsaw, Budapest, Prague, Ljubljana as well as combined teams from Austria and Finland.

Officials have also arranged friendlies against Slovenia's Ljubljana CC next month and are confident of a game against Velden from southern Austria.

Zagreb official, Ivan Bilic, says increased interest and support has created a dilemma.

"We have an increasing number of people interested in playing and becoming involved in cricket. However, this is a big problem considering that we basically train on a basketball court when it's free, which doesn't allow us to schedule regular training sessions. Until we get a ground it'll be very difficult to work on any serious development of the sport."

The club is hopeful the problem has been solved with the discovery of land on the outskirts of Zagreb, which has potential for a suitable base.

Once access to the ground is confirmed, officials will begin organising a pitch and basic facilities. Mr. Bilic said officials will need to work quickly should that access be granted to obtain funding for essential facilities such as the pitch and nets.

That task has been made easier with the club's successful application for membership of the Zagreb Sports Association.