After months of collaboration between the two countries, the Cricket España v Cricket Finland T20I series has entered its first phase.
Hectic efforts behind the scenes prior to the tournament have led to massive media exposure for the Spanish team, including a full page article in El Pais, and a news slot on the countries national television station, TVE La 1.
The team set off for Finland the day before their first match on Thursday the 15th of August. Converging into Helsinki from three airports (Alicante, Barcelona and Heathrow) all members of the squad had early starts with the Heathrow flight the latest scheduled departure at 7.30 am local time.
The Alicante party had a four o´clock meet at the airport for their six am flight, and the Barcelona group also met at the same time, despite a departure time of 8 am, because of a ongoing strike at the Catalan airport involving security guards.
The Alicante and Heathrow flights took off and arrived in Finland without fuss but because of technical difficulties the Catalan contingent had an eleven hour delay and finally ended up getting into their beds at the Gustavalund Hotel at two am local time.
(Barcelona boys finally on the plane after a delay of eleven hours)
A development game is scheduled for Friday, with no ranking points on offer, and then there will be two T20I series matches on Saturday and a further official T20I on the Sunday before the squad fly back to their respective destinations on Monday, the 19th of August.
On match days the Spanish National side will receive free bottles of water, sponsored by Veen Water, a company that came to Cricket Espana´s attention during their recent sponsorship of the ECL (European Cricket League) in La Manga a few weeks ago.
(Veen waters – https://veenwaters.com/ )
Spain´s last competitive match with Finland ended in defeat for the Spanish by 19 runs in Holland, when the teams played each other in Hazelwaag, Rotterdam in a World T20 League qualifier. In 2014, the two teams met in La Manga in the ICC Europe Division Three event and Spain chased down a target of 153 set by the Finns with five balls to spare.
The hosts should prove to be a very stiff test for Spain as cricket continues to flourish in Finland and participation numbers continue to grow. The have eight leagues in total that play either T10, T20, 30 overs and 40 overs. The T10 is usually televised by the Finnish BBC (YLE) and they also have a winter indoor league.
The country can also boast three cricket grounds, with Kerava recognised as the National Stadium, and they have a school programme that concentrates on three large municipalities. Most recently, their women´s team played an unofficial friendly against Sweden.
(KeravaNational Cricket Ground – Finland)
All matches including the development game will be screened live. To tune in please follow on the Youtube links below…
First T20I: https://youtu.be/s9KXj8Vukpo
Second T20I: https://youtu.be/k5dCB63v3j4
Third T20I: https://youtu.be/Vj1Wg3SbcCE
(The Bulls v Bears Trophy that is up for grabs)