Lanzarote Cricket Association
A brief history of cricket in Lanzarote
From Ashes to Astroturf
Seventeen years ago, you could play cricket if you wanted. Maybe once, possibly twice a month representing an ex-pats XI versus what is now called Lanzarote Cricket Club. There is not a lot of grass here and initially all playing surfaces were covered in ´pecon´, (small, ground volcanic gravel); therefore a length of coconut matting would be laid down to give a semblance of an even surface, stumps measured out across the centre circle, the toss called, game on, and the beginning of something marvellous on this tiny island, sixty miles from the African coast.
The first games were played in Yaiza football stadium which quite bizarrely is located at the foot of some very impressive volcanoes and is the most surreal location to be playing cricket. As much fun as the cricket was, the highlight would be the huge pot of curry waiting for us at the break and the cooler box of beer after the game. Then, around 15 years ago astro-turf started appearing on the pitches around Lanzarote, which provided for a much better playing surface, though often unpredictable. Games started becoming more organised and frequent and they even started opening the bar in the morning for a cup of coffee and some cheese and ham ´bocadillos´.
A mini tri-league was created between Lanzarote C.C, Playa Blanca C.C. and St. George´s C.C, the three founder members of what was to become The Lanzarote Cricket Association. (To avoid any further confusion, The L.C.A. is also the name given to the representative team made from the best XI players selected from their individual clubs). There were more than enough players interested and an important part of selection depended on your presence in The Sports Bar on a Thursday night after training, bringing the all-important social element to proceedings.
(St. George´s Cricket Club – Lanzarote)
Cricket was definitely on the up for lovers of the great game and by 2006 the L.C.A. was formed, a Committee headed by Chairman Jack Talbot was established, and a league implemented involving five teams with the latest addition of The Commitments C.C. and Dragons C.C. in the mix.
As matters progressed, more teams joined the league and more pitches became available as the local council started to recognise this strange game played by mad foreigners who spend their only day off running around after a little red ball for five hours in the hot, hot midday sun. Games were now being played in the holiday resort of Puerto del Carmen, the local town of Tias as well as the quaint village of Yaiza – still considered the spiritual home of cricket.
Over a couple of years, three more teams joined the league: The Diablos C.C, The Fisherman´s C.C. and a youth team called the Colts Cricket Club, from which we later sent a young lad to represent Spain U19´s. (Later to become The PDC Cobra´s).
So, there you have it, a bright beginning for cricket in Lanzarote. Eight teams competing in the League and Cup competitions, a home base and a club house. The next step was to bring cricket to the Island and to start competing as a Select XI representing Lanzarote……………
2008 saw the first representative side from Lanzarote travel to La Manga in Southern Spain to participate in a 20/20 tournament and left with heads held high after making a comendable impression on all concerned and have been frequently invited back, though unfortunately have not managed to lift the trophy as of yet.
2009 held a landmark change with the arrival of our Flicx mat, providing a professional artificial cricket surface. The standard of cricket increased significantly, and the Association became a far more professional set up with strong links to Cricket España. At last, the perfect track for these conditions. The mat stayed at Puerto del Carmen stadium, a firm favourite with all teams, and brought another dimension to the LCA. Permission was granted to construct the first cricket nets; players became more serious and teams from England were approached to come over and tour for a long week-end or so. Previously the only team to come over and play had been our closest rivals Tenerife C.C. so it was fantastic to greet our first touring team at the airport, get them to their accommodation and then show them some good old Lanzarote hospitality and sportsmanship.
Bringing you up to 2014, the majority of games are now played at the Puerto del Carmen Football ground – ‘campo de futbol’ – with 4 teams now playing for the League Title, and a 20/20 cup, (L.C.C., St. George’s, The Cobras and a latest addition; The Lions), which were both won last season by St. George’s Cricket Club. Alongside this has been the regional tournament, and February saw the second LPL, (Lanzarote Premier League), with players being auctioned off to various franchises to play in a separate league – and has proved to be a very enjoyable fundraiser.
Touring sides arrive throughout the year and in 2013 we held the first L.C.A. International T20 Tournament involving six teams over a three-day period which was subsequently won in a very impressive final by Lanzarote
The 19th/20th/21st of March 2014 had 4 teams from England and a team from Ireland over for the second tournament which was yet again another fantastic event with Rickmanswoth Gentlemen C.C. putting on a batting masterclass to earn them this year’s trophy, and the bragging rights throughout the year .
We have made many contacts in the cricketing community, particularly with our continuing allegiance to Cricket España, and are very keen on developing youngsters, which includes Youth Cricket Festivals.
As well as providing youngster Charlie Cook to the Spanish Junior squad in the past, the have also had an healthy representation in Spain´s Over 40 side and last year islander Gilly Singh had a successful trial with the National team.
Fast forwarding to 2020, unfortunately our International Tournament scheduled for March had to be cancelled but plans are already afoot for the 2021 tournament. Anyone interested in particiapting in next years event can contact Pete Starmer – [email protected] or Jack Talbot – [email protected]
PETE STARMER – LANZAROTE CRICKET ASSOCIATION