In a year when research revealed that cricket could have been invented by the Flemish it was perhaps fitting that Flanders were the winners of the second Carmel EuroTwenty20 tournament staged in North Wales.
The Australian National University in Canberra uncovered a reference to the sport in a poem written in 1533, in which cricket is linked to Flemish weavers working in England. The weavers from Flanders are known to have settled in rural areas around Kent and Surrey, where it is generally believed that cricket originated.
And the newly-formed Flanders team, captained by former France national team coach Dave Szumowski, did their ancestors proud in the eight-team tournament which also included Bulgaria, Hungary, Russia, Croatia ‘A’ as well as the island of Alderney.
Flanders won by nine runs in a dramatic final victory over hosts Carmel & District Cricket Club thanks to a crucial knock of 32 not out from Szumowski before Brett Meredith (4-21) spun the Flemish side to victory.
Croatia ‘A’ won the plate competition with an emphatic 59-run win over English side New Victoria thanks largely to the performance of promising teenage fast bowler Nikola Davidovic who finished as the tournament’s leading wicket-taker.
Alderney, who were making their first foray into international cricket, picked up the EuroTwenty20 Spirit of Cricket Award for the enthusiasm and effort they showed both on and off the pitch.
EuroTwenty20 organiser Timothy Abraham admitted the competition had been a success despite the difficult weather conditions, and revealed exciting plans for the future of the event.
“A lot of credit has to go to our groundsmen Neil Taylor and Tony Ryles who had to battle with the elements during the week to get the ground playable,” he said.
“Luckily we managed to get every single match played and a lot of the teams gained valuable experience which will help aid their cricket development and preparation for future ICC events.”
Abraham continued: “In terms of the future, we are hopeful that one of the nations who have taken part in the past two years will be able to stage the tournament in 2010, and it can also be staged overseas in 2011, before it comes back to North Wales a year after that.
“There is a drive to try and get Twenty20 cricket into the Olympic Games so I am hopeful of persuading various stakeholders – including the ICC - that staging a tournament to coincide with London 2012 could be the way forward.
“Having laid down a maker over the past two years by staging two European Twenty20 tournaments I believe that North Wales would be a fantastic location for such an event.
“I hope we could expand the tournament to at least 16 teams, but we should certainly be ambitious so why not 32 countries?
“However, it would only be possible with significant funding from the Welsh Assembly Government so with three years to prepare I will be strongly lobbying them for support.”
For detailed scorecards, results and pictures visit the tournament website at www.eurotwenty20.eu
Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo