The Spanish national side warmed up for the ICC Europe Division Two tournament in September with three victories over stern opposition last weekend in La Manga. This was the last get together for "La Seleccion" before they jet off to Corfu for the ICC event. The draw in Greece will see Spain play Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Estonia and Israel in the group stages. All of the squad were available for the three games in La Manga except for UK based Pedro Venus and Jimmy Morgan.
Saturday Spain played a Costa Blanca select with the national side bowlers Sajid Ali and Mohib Hussein guesting for the select XI. Spain batted first and scored 150 for 3 from their twenty overs.All the batsmen got into double figures with necomer Nisar Ahmed top scoring with 44 not out. Opener Armaghan Khan also hit a fine 38 as the home side posted a competitive total on a slow outfield.
The Costa Blanca Select, made up mainly of La Manga first team players struggled against the pace of the Spain opening bowlers as they were restricted to 29 for 3 of the first 10 overs.Spanish junior Ravi Panchal showed great promise with a fine 29 and Spanish national loanee Sajad Ali added a quickfire 30 to take the Costa Blanca Select XI to 102 for 5 at the end of their innings. Tight bowling by the opening three bowlers for Spain were reflected in their match figures, Bowling four overs each Talat Ali took 1-10, Armaghan Khan 1-8 and Tanveer Iqbal 3-14. The 48 run victory proved a good workout for the side and Spanish coach Bobby Denning thanked the select XI after the match for being so flexible in a game that was crucial to his teams warm up to the forthcoming tournament.
Sundays games were even more testing as a Girona XI travelled down to La Manga from Cataluyna intent on causing an upset. Again batting first Spain put a total of 157 for 9 on the board with Tariq Ali and Mark Spencer the main contributors to the home sides cause. Goldy Jawail for Girona returned fine figures with his spin bowling, bagging three wickets for 36 runs.
In reply,Girona started confidently and put on 57 in nine overs for the first wicket. However, once the slower bowlers came into action wickets fell quickly and Girona ended up with 119 runs for 9 wickets at the end of play. The leg spin of Gary Crompton took 4 wckets for just 18 runs and he was well supported by Sajad Ali who took 3-21 from his 4 overs.
Lunch was taken in the SI Bar and then the second game started soon afterwards.Girona were invited to bat and this time they found the pace bowling of Tanver Iqbal and Talat Ali a diferent proposition. They struggled to 29-5 after an opening burst from the Spanish openers that brought three wickets for Talat and two for Tanveer. However a fine 39 not out by Gurmeet Singh and a supporting 38 by Sunny put a total of 107 for 8 on the board for Girona.
Spain came out all guns blazing, and despite the early loss of Armaghan Khan, took complete control thanks to the swashbuckling batting of Tariq Ali, who hit 54 off 30 balls before getting out with the score on 88 in the tenth over. Crompton and Spencer carried on with the same momentum and looked to be closing out the game when Crompton got caught on the mid wicket boundary eight runs shy of victory. With no further hiccoups Spain ran out easy winners with sven wickets and five overs to spare.
Again Bobby Denning thanked Spain´s opponents for their efforts and support, and then commented on what a postive weekend it had been and how great the team spirit was within the camp. Spain fly out from Alicante to Corfu on September the 2cd and return on the 9th. You will be able to follow "La Seleccion´s" progress o the official ICC Europe website. The squad for the tournament is as folows..
COACH BOBBY DENNING
TEAM MANAGER GEORGE WAMBEEK
SCORER JOHN JONES
MARK SPENCER (CAPT) SPORTING ALFAS CC
ARMAGHAN KHAN CATALUYNA CC
TARIQ ALI ALCORCON CC
GARY CROMPTON SPORTING ALFAS CC
TANVEER IQBAL FALCO CC
SAJAD ALI LA MANGA CC
FARHAT MAHMOOD LA MANGA CC
CHRISTIAN MUNOZ MILLS SPORTING ALFAS CC
NISAR AHMED CATALUYNA CC
TALAT ALI LA MANGA CC
MOHAMMAD YASIN FALCO CC
MOHIB HUSSEIN FALCO CC
PEDRO VENUS GRAVESEND CC
JIM MORGAN LA MANGA CC