SPAIN JUNIORS TURN THEIR FOCUS TO THE ISLE OF MAN
With less than a week to go until the Division 2 Under 17 tournament CE looks at the players selected to represent Spain and their opponents in the group stages.
Spain will be managed by the Junior Director of Cricket Neil Brook, and coached by the Spanish international Armaghan Khan. Armaghan is in charge of the Junior set up in Cataluyna and three of his prodigies Sandeep Singh, Abdullah Danish and Faisal Mohammed will make up an integral part of the team. These three players were selected for performances for the Cataluyna Junior XI, and for excelling at the Junior trials day that was held in Barcelona earlier in the season.
(Spanish Director of Junior Cricket and Spain´s Tour Manager for the Isle of Man, Neil Brook)
Combined Colleges in the South will have two players representing Spain. Pace bowler Ben Girling, who played for the Under 17s in Germany two years ago, and Callum Murphy will be the fortunate duo, whilst Malaga based Jim Cobb will be the third member of the squad with links to the Southern section of the league.
Lanzarote Cricket Association can boast their first ever Spanish Junior player. Charlie Cook who has impressed with the bat all season in the Lanzarote league got the call up from the Director of Cricket Neil Brook to give Lanzarote cricket a great fillip. The hard work of LCA chairman Jack Talbot with the Collegio Hispano Colts is begining to pay off, and this could be the first of many Lanzarote players to represent Spain.
(Ben Girling bowling a Belgium player at the 2008 Div. 2 torneo)
Murcia based wicket-keeper batsman Charlie Johnston will be hoping to continue last seasons impressive form for the national side with the bat, and newcomer Ravi Panchal has an interesting pedigree, having been involved with Warwickshire prior to moving to Spain.
The youngest player in the squad, is the effervescent Jamie Roper, who is attached to Sporting Alfas Cricket Club.A product of the clubs youth academy he has been putting in some telling performance for the Alfas second team, and he his sure to prove a popular member of the squad throughout the tournament.
La Manga supply the other members of the squad. Regular internationals Alfie Harris and Tom Vine will be expected to do the lions share of the bowling during the tournament, and the side will be relying heavily on captain Joel Brook´s opening batting to get the side off to a telling start in all their matches.
The official party is completed with scorer John Jones, who is rewarded for his behind the scenes work at La Manga with his first ever tour for the Spanish National team in this capacity.
( John Jones, Spain´s scorer for the Isle of Man torneo)
Spain have been given what looks on paper to be a favourable draw and will be in Group B along with Austria, Germany, Switzerland and the hosts, the Isle of Man.
Spain start off their campaign with a game at Crosby against Switzerland on the 24th of July. Switzerland and Spain were in the same group two years ago in Germany when Spain were comfortable winners. However, under the guidance of their Junior Director of cricket Patrick Henderson the Swiss continue to be on an upward curve and the Spaniards will have to be switched on from day one to register a positive result.
Next up for " La Seleccion" is the Isle of Man on the 26th July at St John´s. On paper the hosts look to be strong challenges for the title, but hopefully with Spain coming off a rest day they will be more than up for the challenge from the Manx, who will be playing their third consecutive fixture.
(St John´s Cricket Ground, Isle of Man)
Thursday the 27th sees Spain entertain Austria at Cronkbourne cricket ground. Austria are a little of an unknown quantity, having not played in the Under 17 tournament in Dusseldorf two seasons ago. Spain´s final encounter in the group stage will be Germany who have several players, including Konrad Fuchs, who have experience in playing in previous ICC European tournaments.
The winners of each group will play off for the final, the seconds for 3rd-4th place and so forth. CE send their best wishes to Neil Brook and the Spanish National team for an enjoyable and successful tournament.