ECCL Regional Junior Squad V STK Cricket Academy
Over the last six months Cricket Espana has been working hard with its junior development, and in 2013 plans were put in place to introduce a street cricket program supported by ICC Europe to various regions in Spain that allowed younger players to experience a shorter fun version to the game of cricket.
One of the regions that has introduced Street Cricket to its region is the ECCL (East Coast and Central League) which covers the Valencia and Murcia regions. The street Cricket programme was introduced and played in the region by various schools and clubs and now some of the players have progressed from this to an indoor league that was formed with players from 8 to 16 years of age taking part. Taking this a step further CE have now managed to create a regional Eleven a side squad playing hard ball cricket.
With the Street Cricket programme in place it is proving a starting point and catalyst in allowing children of all ages to be able to play Cricket as a new sport, and within a year represent their region, from this hopefully it wil allow some players will represent their country.
Today was the first day that the regional squad got together as a team to play the STK Academy from Scotland run by Steven Knox, however, due to school commitments the regional side was a little unbalanced but they still managed to put up good performances in both games.
The Under 16 game took place on the top pitch at L Manga with ECCL winning the toss and electing to field, the STK Academy started very strongly with both Johnson and Pearson both going on to score 50 runs a piece, ECCL bowlers bowled well at times but were being punished on the wayward deliveries, Oliver and Peterson came to the crease next with Peterson going on to score 50 before being bowled by La Manga Kings star, Rupert James. STK Academy finished on 231 for 2.
ECCL opened with Tyler Brown of Sporting Alfas and Connor Brail of La Manga Kings, but both found it difficult against some good tight bowling from STK Academy, Tim Stevenson came into bat after Connor was bowled which turned out to be an excellent innings, finishing not out at the end by scoring 38 runs he was supported by Kieran and Jack Perman as well as Anton Bonderec with the Academy finishing 112 for 7.
Although ECCL lost by over a 100 runs it was an excellent performance all round by some young players experiencing cricket of that standard for the first time.
The U13 Game went in similar fashion with STK deciding to bat first, the ECCL U13 opening bowlers faired better with Kyle Roper taking 2 wickets for 13 runs well supported by Theo R.
Matthew and Stuart came to the crease to ease the pressure on the STK innings both scoring 30 to steer STK to a creditable score of 157 for 7. The pick of the rest of bowlers for ECCL were Charlie Hunt who also picked up 2 wickets, and he was well supported by the rest of the team.
ECCL Openers started steadily with both Theo and Charlie batting well beyond their years against some good tight bowling before Charlie was caught at short square leg with the score on 30, Theo shortly followed by being run out by some smart fielding in the deep,and then the inexperience of the ECCL batting started to show as STK took wickets regularly. One bright spot near the end was Hannah James staying not out, batting for a full 10 overs.
ECCL were finally all out for 54 runs, overall the ECCL performance was very promising for the future with some young players having their first taste of this type of cricket, so well done to Pablo, Saul, Juan Luis and Joe, it was great to see two young girls playing in the side Hannah James and Isabelle Brook.. Overall a great day was had by all, I would like to thank Steven Knox and his Academy for a fantastic day and hopefully a return fixture next year,
The final word is left to Kyle Roper of the Under 13 squad who commented after the game on his facebook page .."Just got in from La Manga playin for spain got my firsts two wickets and got bowled for 1 very good team and some very good work from the other players from my team I had a great time"..
Director of Cricket Espana