CRICKET IN THE BASQUE REGION
Report from Bilbao
The last summer visit to the regions took us to Bilbao.
Contact had been made earlier in the year via Madrid CC.
Making contact with cricketers in the north of Spain has been at the top of Cricket España´s priority list for while now.
With cricket being played along the East and South coasts, in the centre of the country with the Madrid based clubs, the Balearics and the Canaries, to make contact with the Northern Regions begins to make the Spanish cricket jig-saw look more complete.
We were met by Azam Ali Khan who had corresponded via email with CE.
Studying for his exams, he took time to explain to us how cricket in the Bilbao region is progressing.
We were joined by several of his cricketing colleagues, who were keen to find out what is happening in the rest of Spain, and how CE can help them progress further.
Presently there are three teams competing every Saturday in a shortened version of the game. The games are played in a local park with a soft ball. This instantly showed how committed they are to playing the game, as at this moment this is the only available option to them.
Therefore, like many clubs, identifying a suitable facility is top of their priority list.
This priority is being actively pursued, and hopefully, if discussions go well with the local government, the use of the baseball ground maybe an option for the Bilbao teams.
This will then allow them to take cricket in their region to the next level.
We discussed how CE could help them in their development, and an umpire’s course looks to be top of the list.
When a facility to use a hard ball is found, then help with the proper equipment will also be needed.
We discussed the possibility of a Bilbao representative team coming to the T/Twenty tournament at La Manga later this year, which I know these cricketers would enjoy greatly, and they would then have the opportunity to meet with other cricketers from around Spain.
They are already in contact with cricketers in Vitoria,( which is some 1ookm inland from Bilbao) who have also been in contact with CE. Tom Rivers from Vitoria is liaising regularly with David Stirton in Madrid . Unfortunately we did not have time to meet up with Tom, who was also busy with exams, but hopefully next time we can arrange a meeting that all can attend.
Also, there is apparently a strong Irish cricketing contingent in Getxo, just a few kilometres up the road.
Potentially there could be a regional league up and running in the not too distant future, and CE will make sure that we are there to help in anyway possible.
If you are in the Biblao area and would like to get involved, then below is a list of names and contact numbers.
Bilbao Cricket Muhammed Azam Ali Khan email [email protected]
Basaur Cricket Hassan Bilal Tarar email [email protected]
For cricketers in Vitoria contact Tom. Email [email protected]
I would like to thank the guys for the warm reception they gave us, and look forward to seeing them progress further over the coming months.