ALL eyes of European cricket lovers will turn to Cartama near Spain’s Malaga next February.
The 2022 Bet2Ball European Cricket League draw has been made based on the latest ICC T20 country rankings.
ECL22 will take place over six weeks at the Cartama Oval, Malaga, Spain starting on February 7 next year with Group A action including the English champions Tunbridge Wells.
Hailed as ‘the Champions League of European cricket’, ECL22 is an expanded 30 team tournament including the champions of England, Ireland and Scotland.
Originally set to be held at La Manga Club in Murcia last year, it was postponed due to pandemic travel restrictions.
This year the Federations and Champion Clubs of Jersey, Guernsey, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Portugal, Bulgaria, Malta, Turkey, Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, Luxembourg and Switzerland have been added.
V.O.C. Rotterdam from the Netherlands are the reigning champions having won ECL19.
The European Cricket Network (ECN) CEO Roger Feiner told the Olive Press: “People don’t realise it, but cricket is the fastest growing sport in Europe, and second fastest in the world.
“In Germany there are now 350 clubs – there were only a handful a few years ago.”
Despite the pandemic, the European Cricket Series – where games are designed to last around two hours – has now seen matches played for 180 days in a row across 30 affiliated countries. Matches are televised and streamed on YouTube and have attracted an incredible 130 million viewers.
Jay Wild, of the Costa del Sol Cricket Club, based at Cartama added: “We see this as an opportunity to develop the game not just in Andalucia, but across Spain.
“We need more juniors and want to diversify the player base – and this tournament will have a direct impact on that.
“While we have a reasonable schedule of matches we really want to grow the game. We need more juniors and want to diversify the player base – and this tournament will have a direct impact on that.
“Many people don’t realise that cricket is even played in Spain – I am sure once they find out many people will come along, and hopefully bring their kids as well.”