Last weekend an experimental Spanish 'A' side finished runners up in the T20 La Manga Classic competition.
The annual event at the Murcia based complex attracted six teams this year included a team from Germany. The hosts were joined by Dusseldorf CC, Barking CC, Barnes CC, The Royal Engineers and the ECB England Deaf squad.
During the round robin group stage it became apparent that the two strongest teams in the competition on this particular weekend were the Spanish 'A' side and the England Deaf squad.
The home team included trialists from Cataluyna, Madrid, Lanzarote and the East Coast and the squad bonded well to go unbeaten throughout the group stage.
The Deaf squad were equally dominant winning four out of their five games to ensure the spectators would be in for a very competitive final.
Spain batted first and struggled for the first time against a strong bowling attack. A late ninth wicket partnership saw the hosts post a total of 112 all out.
The Deaf squad lost the early wicket of Valjee but soon after George Greenway and Andrew Wood started scoring runs quickly to put the UK side in control. Looking down and out the Spaniards kept plugging away gamely and got their reward when both Greenway and Wood got out in quick succession.
This gave the gritty Spaniards a slight chance of oveturning the odds and some tight bowling ensured the game went down to the very last ball. Requiring two to win the visitors could only manage one run.
According to the rules the team with the least wickets were crowned champions, so consequently, the England Deaf Squad became the latest winners of the La Manga Classic.
Some members of the Spanish side took the loss hard leading to tears in the dressing room but every one of the squad acquited themselves well during the weekend and can be proud of their performances.
The tournament was played in great spirit throughout, which reflected in the camraderie between the six teamsd at the Gala Dinner on the last night of the competition. Bookings for next year are already being taken and any clubs interested can get in touch with Cricket España for further information.