Domestic cricket across Europe is coming alive as the summer begins. This weekend has seen the domestic leagues in Spain, Iceland and Guernsey get underway.
Two of Spain’s regional league began over the weekend. The East Coast and Central League (ECCL) got underway with three fixtures. Firstly, Madrid made the long trip to Murcia for a double header against La Manga Torrevieja and San Javier.
Madrid has just emerged from a regional lockdown, and you could forgive the players for being rusty in the first game of the season. Perhaps more so given they were playing against the defending champions La Manga Torrevieja. Madrid won the toss and batted, and if there was rust, LMT quickly found it. A top score of 30 by number-five Harry Young was the highlight as Madrid were bowled out for 93 just shy of the 30 over mark. LMT made short work of the target, with Akash Panchal’s unbeaten 53* taking the hosts to 9-wicket win.
Perhaps, with the cobwebs dusted off, Madrid might fare better on Sunday. Well, only slightly.
Madrid batted first again but lost three wickets in the first two overs. Firmly on the back-foot, the lower-middle order battled on, but Madrid were ultimately bowled out for 146. San Javier lost regular wickets, but a punchy 60 from Lovejit Singh put the match firmly in San Javier’s favour, eventually winning by three wickets.
The final ECCL match of the weekend saw the Intellectuals take on Sporting Alfas. Batting first, the Intellectuals struggled throughout the innings, being bowled out for 97. A 14-ball blitz of 38* by Chris Munoz saw the Alfas complete the chase in 13 overs, winning by 7 wickets.
Elsewhere in Spain, the Costa del Sol cricket league began. The Costa del Sol Colts proved more than a match for the Codgers, a 76-ball century by Maanak Nayak proved to be the difference, as the Colts’ 225/4 trumped the Codgers’ 125 all out.
In the League’s other match, Costa del Sol Crusaders blitzed a huge 334/6 in 35 overs, thanks to centuries from Louis Bruce and Nadeem Malik. Opponents Granada CC could only manage 189/8 in 35 overs, suffering a 145-run defeat.
The season also got underway in Guernsey. The first weekend of the Odey Wealth Championship saw two matches, with Old Elizabethans taking on the Canaccord Griffins, and Cobo CC playing the Wanderers Irregulars.
At the King George V field, Cobo won the toss and elected to bat. The innings never really got going, as Cobo slid to 88 all out inside 30 overs. It was not all plain sailing for the Irregulars, who slipped from 42/0 to 74/6. However, the batting was able to complete a 4-wicket win inside 20 overs of the allotted 50.
At College Field, Griffins won the toss and put the Old Elizabethans into bat. The top four got the Elizabethans off to a steady start, lead by 58 from Charlie Birch. Strong bowling from the Griffins kept things tight and restricted their opponents to 194/8 after 50 overs. Despite 59 from Luke Le Tissier and 47 from Jordan Martel, regular wickets kept things in the balance throught the chase. A remarkable spell of bowling from Matthew Stokes, 10-5-8-5 looked to tip things in the balance of the Elizabethans, but an 11-run final wicket stand saw Canaccord to a narrow one wicket win.
Furthest North, the cricket season got underway in Iceland on Sunday. The Islensk Premier League (ÍPL), the domestic T20 league, has expanded to include a 4th club over the winter, the Vestubær Volcanos.
The first round of matches saw the newcomers take on the defending champions, Kopavogur Puffins. Batting first, Vestubær were able to amass 130/7 from their 20 overs. The Volcanos got off to a brisk star, and despite a mid-innings 5-fer from Puffins’ bowler J Subramaniyam, a later flurry of runs from Volcanos’ captain Nagarajan saw the debutants raise a respectable total.
The chase got off to a poor start for the Volcanos, with both openers out for single figure scores. A solid 42 from S Bala kept the game in the balance, but regular wickets from the Volcanos in the 2nd half of the innings saw the Puffins restricted to 120/8. The Volcanos won their first match in the ÍPL by 10 runs.
In the day’s other game, Reykjavik’s Vikings took on the Hafnarfjörður Hammers. The Hammers batted first, and thanks to a punchy 42-ball 69* from new recruit Dushan Bandara, were able to post an impressive 157/8 by the close of the innings. The Vikings’ reply never truly got going, and despite some late order hitting from keeper Bimsara, Reykjavik were bowled out for 139, with Hafnarfjörður winning by 18 runs.
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