José María Arrabal, the regional government's director for Sport; Jorge Gallardo, mayor of Cártama; Abraham Geifman, of HCL Software; and Roger Feiner, CEO of ECN at the first day of the championsip. / ECN

International cricket returns to the Cártama Oval

Some 21 nations will compete over the next five weeks at the European Cricket Championship, including reigning champions England

ANDREA JIMÉNEZ

The Cártama Oval will once again host five weeks of high-level cricket from today (Monday 12 September) until 14 October as the European Cricket Championship gets under way, with 21 nations set to fight for the crown, including reigning champions England.

The tournament has a total of four groups with five sides competing against one another in 90-minute matches to qualify for the final, which will be against England, who won the previous edition last year at the same venue.

Participating nations include Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands and Portugal, among others. Spain finished in fourth place last time.

Spain is in Group A alongside Ireland XI, Portugal, Czech Republic and Austria; while Scotland play Belgium, France, Malta and Luxembourg in Group C.

40 million spectators

The European Cricket Championship is followed by over 40 million spectators in more than 30 countries; with 30 associate nations, some 6,000 clubs and thousands of players.

The Cártama Oval also played host to the European Cricket League in February this year. On that occasion, 30 clubs from 29 countries took part in a six-week tournament in an attempt to become Europe's best club. It was Spanish side Pak I Care, from Barcelona, who took the win after defeating Tunbridge Wells CC in the final.