Friday, 24 February 2023, 14:00
Cártama will host the European Cricket League (ECL) Championships at the Cártama Oval cricket ground from 27 February until 24 March.
The international T10 Tournament - the 'Champions League' of cricket, will include 30 European clubs.
The ECL consists of the initial group matches being played in the first three weeks, before finishing off with a four-day championship week. There will be a total of five games played every weekday, between 11.30am and 9pm. The teams are divided in six groups, with the winners of each group joining 2022 winners Pak I Care Badalona (Spain) in the Finals Week (20-24 March) to determine the overall champions.
The tournament is played in a T10 format and is considered a short form of the sport, with games lasting around 90 minutes. Teams play a single innings and they are limited to a maximum of ten overs per side.
The tournament will be officially opened by the mayor of Cártama, Jorge Gallardo; along with the secretary general of Sport at the Junta de Andalucía, José María Arrabal; CEO of European Cricket Network, Roger Feiner; the founder of the European Cricket League, Daniel Weston; and the president of the Costa del Sol Cricket Club, Jay Wild.
The championship is organised by the European Cricket Network, the digital home of cricket in Europe. Founded in 2019, the ECN is focused on growing the sport by developing top events, while using cutting edge technology to create entertainment, promotion and digital fan engagement of cricket being played all over Europe, then taking it to a global audience via ECN media partners.
European cricket has attracted huge numbers in the last few years, in terms of the quantity of teams, viewers and consumers of the sport. There are currently 30 contracted national federations within European cricket, and between them they offer over 300 days of live cricket action to over 20 million European fans of the sport, with over one billion worldwide.
The ECL was broadcast to around 35 million viewers worldwide last year, making it an important affair in the world of cricket and showcasing Cártama all over the globe.
This will be the third year the European Championship has been held in Spain. The first was staged in Murcia, while last year it was held for the first time in Cártama.
The Cártama Oval has the potential of becoming the future home of European cricket and it has proved to be the perfect venue to host the championships, due to the climate and the accessibility of the location, given that it is just 23km from Malaga, which can be easily reached from almost anywhere in Europe.
Roger Feiner told SUR in English that it was an «honour» to host the event and he said that he had high hopes for the future of the championships in Cártama.
«We are hoping that this will be a permanent event in Cártama. We think it will be held here for a while to come, although exactly how long has not been decided yet. We want to establish it here in Andalucía, and the Cártama Oval is the ideal location. There is only one other professional ground in this area, which is in Gibraltar, but we are hoping to keep it here as the ground is a fantastic location,» he said.
Once again, this year, the Cártama Oval will also host the 'Cricketschool', whereby each week of the tournament, students from local schools are invited to learn and practise cricket. Last year, around 450 children enjoyed the experience, which was, for most of them, their first contact with cricket. This year, more than 1,000 students from 15 different schools will participate in the initiative, which is sponsored by the regional government.
On the day of the final, five children from each of the schools will return to the cricket ground to take part in an interschool event.
Of course, one does not have to be a cricket fanatic to enjoy this free event, because it is a family day out, whether sitting and watching the live action unfold on the pitch, or simply enjoying the weather and views and the delights of the catering area.