Cricket Development in Spain
Hi friends in this artilce let us discuss about how cricket was developed in one of the most powerful nation in Europe,i.e, Spain
How cricket Originate in Spain?
Historical record says that first ever cricket match played in Spain by soldiers of General Lord Wellesley((who later became the the Duke of Wellington) in the early 1800's and especially in 1809 .These soldiers used to play cricket during the Peninsular warand they played the cricket matches around
Formation of Cricet Association and their activities
These were played in 1the 1800's and after that the development was not very rapid and the people hardly knew about cricket.But the real development of cricket which is the development of the new era begin from 1975, when the Madrid Cricket Club was established.
But the club doesn't contains many Spanish Nationals as it was dominated mostly by of British and Indian players,and followed by the West Indians joined the club and at last many Spanish members also joined.
It was in 1982, the first club match was played and it was played between Barcelona and Madrid, at the Polo Club, and this also coincided with the opening of the soccer World Cup. After this there was a huge increase in the number of clubs being formed, and 3 clubs were formed in 1985 and another 3 in 1986.
Another important step was that the Malaga Cricket Association,who was the forerunner of the Asociacion Espanola, founded the National Association (AEC) so that they could co-ordinate cricket throughout Spain.
The first national executive committee of the AEC was held in 1989 and this was formed at a meeting which was held in Madrid.
In this meeting the first steps were taken to unify all of the clubs which are present in Spain.As a result of this number of clubs were formed and they also got the uproval from the association. These clubs includes
i)In 1990 second club on Mallorca was founded
ii)In 1992 the birth of Marbella CC and Javea CC was formed and these two clubs were the first club on the Costa Blanca.
The most important achievement of the AEC was achieved in the same year,1992, when got the Affiliate member status of the ICC.
The inaguration of new purpose-built cricket ground on Mallorca took place in 1994 and in the same year Agrupacion Mallorquina De Cricket was founded.
The AEC managed to bring in new rules of association and they started a centrally run umpires correspondence course and the following year historic three-year sponsorship agreement was signed with Columbus Insurance for the Spanish National League program and this has marked as the major development step for the game of cricket.
Development of cricket
i)Formation of clubs and tours
Spain also made their first international tour and they toured Italy,where they played against the local clubs and also against the Italian national team. Apart from this Spain also played against Portugal in an historic full international match, which was played at Cartama.
Another important development was the formation another club, in the same year, called as Alfaz del Pi - Sporting Alfas Cricket Club - and here cricket was played on a golf driving range provided by the Town Hall.
The MCC also toured Spain ,and they played matches on Mallorca, the Costa Blanca and Cost del Sol for over two and a half week period.This was really a great opportunity as this was helpful to get trained in courses for both umpiring and also for coaching of the game.
Ultimate development for the game was expected when the Spanish government sports body approved cricket as an official sport, and as a result of this an historic agreement was reached between Javea Cricket Club with the local town hall and this includes the commitment to teach the youth of Javea the game of cricket.
The town hall committed themselves to the provision of funds and facilities. Finally the Spanish Umpires and Scorers Association was formed.European Cricket Federation accepted Spain as their new member SunAlliance Insurance Group agreed for the sponsorship of the Spanish Cup competition and the final of the cup was held at Alfaz. An MCC coach was brought so as to give training for coaches and players.
The chairman of the AEC was appointed as director of finance and sponsorship officer of the European Cricket Federation.Apart from this in 1996 another new club was formed at Las Palmas in the Canary Islands and at the same year also saw the National League and Cup double victories by the Javea Cricket Club.
AEC also got increasing level of sponsorship for the National Cup Competition, as Royal and Sun Alliance Insurance Group signed an agreement for the sponsorship in 1997.
Spain saw a dramatic advance in the playing of Kwik Cricket amongst schools, particularly on the Costa Blanca, as it was strongly backed by ECC, ECB and MCC and this was a great achievement as young Spaniards at last showed interest in the game.
As a result a new initiative program was signed with the Copeland Insurance Group and it supports the growth of youth cricket within Spain, which also assisted the clubs and the schools to encourage their youngsters.
21st century started on a high note when Spain hosted its first ECC Tournament in and the conducted the 2000 Indoor competition, where in the first attempt itself Spain managed to finish fourth.
For the first time Spain competed ECC Trophy and U15 2ND Division competitions. In 2002 The inagural European cricket Academy toured Costa Blanca and this was considered as the historical development
After that Spain saw a very fast development in the game,and it started to represent in ICC European tournaments and their association name was changed from AEC to CE (Cricket Espana).
At present CE flourishes with approximately 30 clubs and the future looks very positive for the Spanish cricket as it is trying its level best to achieve Association status.
ii)Domestic ciruit and Development Programs
With respect to the league competition, it includes mainly the regional sections.Here in the domestic competitions, the North, Central and South leagues are joined by the Lanzarote league at the end of the season to play off for the honour of National Champions.
Apart from this a national Twenty20 tournament event takes place every year. Several clubs in spain welcome several touring clubs and in recent years and as a result many from Italy, Holland, Ireland, Norway and the United Kingdom visited and played matches in Spain.
As the ICC Europe supported the CE constantly and with the help of the other cricketing authorities a youth development program was established in Spain which sets cricket in Spain on the right track.
CE also invited Chris Porter of Derbyshire County Cricket Club to ensure that Junior Development program was goin in the correct way.
The Cricket Espana also started the schools program which creates awarness of thee game and also assist the PE teachers in schools to help students how to play cricket.
Apart from that Cricket Espana ensures supplies to each school who are ready to take up the offer with 2 Kwik Cricket sets, an introductory coaching course, discounted equipment, and the supplying of coaching manuals which is written in Spanish language and in this program Mar Azul International School were the first school to take part and they participated with 150 boys and girls and they were taught cricket in a structured program at that school.these programs also ensure that the development of cricket will take pace among boys and girls
Spain hosted to 2000 Indoor cup which is an ECC tournament and finished seventh.For the first time Spain competed ECC Trophy and U15 2ND Division competitions.In 2002 The inaugural European cricket Academy toured Costa Blanca and this was considered as the historical development
In 2001, Spain made its international debut in the ECC Trophy in 2001and they finished sixth in the tournament.Spain played its first international match on 13th August 2001 v Portugal at Seebarn Cricket Centre, Austria.
Again in 2003 Spain played this tournament and finished seventh.Spain managed to put an extraordinary performance as they finished third in European Affiliates Championship held in 2005.
But they just missed out on promotion to Division Two of the European Championship.Spain played in the Division 3 tournament in Belgium in 2007,and they did well to finish as runners up.Apart form this they also hosted the ICC Europe Division 2 Championship in La Manga where they finished fourth place.
At present the Spanish National team currently plays in the ICC Europe Division 3 Championship.
The Madrid Cricket Club partnered with UNICEF on October 2007 and they agreed to organise the first Solidarity Cricket Tournament, held at the Cantarranas sports facility and the funds raised from the event being donated to UNICEF for their work.
In 2009 Madrid organized a Charity event to raise money for the Vincente Ferrer foundation in Anantpur, India and 8 clubs from Holland, Spain and the UK participated and in this event the Lancashire and Indian legend was at the event to support the tournament and this event was considered as a showcase event as part of the ICC Centenary celebrations.
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