surinenglish

A brief history of cricket in Spain

One of the Spain team in Cártama this week.
One of the Spain team in Cártama this week. / ECN
  • One of Cricket España's long-term aims has been to secure the sport federation status, which would entail governmental funding for the 80+ clubs throughout Spain

Cricket was first played in Spain in 1809 by the soldiers of General Lord Wellesley (later the Duke of Wellington). It was during the Peninsular war that the soldiers played the game in and around Ciudad Rodrigo, Lugo and Orense. From that date there are many recordings of the game being played by visiting British land and sea forces, either between themselves or against local British expatriate communities.

However, the game really started a new era in Spain with the founding of Madrid Cricket Club in 1975. It was based on British and Indian players, but soon crossed other national lines when West Indians and eventually Spanish members joined. That was only the beginning.

Most of its growth in the country has taken place since Spain joined the International Cricket Council in the mid-1990s.

One of Cricket España's long-term aims has been to secure the sport federation status, which would entail governmental funding for the 80+ clubs throughout Spain.

"This is a major goal for us as it gives us access into the school curriculums, where we can have cricket as part of the Physical Education programme," John Howden, CEO of Cricket España, told SUR in English.

The Andalusian government has already expressed interest in this and has said it will look into putting together a programme for state schools.

"What they said is they want the programme in English, because they want the Spanish kids to learn some more practical English. The Minister of Education in Andalucía is all for that."

Applying for federation status has been a tiring, tape-bound endeavour, but Cricket España is nearly there at last.

"Hopefully, before the end of this year, we will have some good news and can pop the champagne," said Juan Carlos Rodriguez Martinez, President of Cricket España.