SPANISH SIDE RUNS THE ELITE YOUNGSTERS OF ENGLISH CRICKET CLOSE…
The Desert Springs Resort (Close to Vera) hosted The inaugural Tom Maynard Trust Academy from 13th to 21st February. This event, featuring 11 of the elite young cricketers from 8 of the professional counties, saw the new grass net practice facilities used for the very first time.
Matthew Maynard (the former England and Glamorgan cricketer) headed the coaching staff and was supported by world cup winning former England Wicket Keeper Paul Nixon, World Cup Winning Australian All-Rounder Ian Harvey, Former England, Middlesex and Glamorgan star Jamie Dalrymple and former England Physio Dean Conway. All helped offer a fantastic mix of coaching and education to this group of highly talented young cricketers.
To end their time in Spain, on Friday 21st February the group travelled to LA Manga Club to play a 40 over match against a team selected from the Spanish ECCL league. A mix of Spanish National side players and players aspiring to make the squad were selected from La Manga CC, Alfas CC and Levante CC for the game which was hoped would showcase the development of cricket in Spain.
The Academy side elected to bat first and made 227 for 9 from their 40 overs, including 57 from Jon Webb (Warwickshire) and 42 from Cameron Herring (Gloucestershire). The pick of the Spanish bowling were Ravi Panchal (3 for 41) and Farhat Mahmood (3 for 19) and the Spanish side were praised for pulling themselves back into the game after the academy made a flying start.
(Ravi Panchal celebrating one of his three wickets for Spain)
In reply, the pace of Surrey’s George Edwards, and Nottinghamshire’s Andy Carter caused early problems and despite 50 from Sajid Ali and 44 from Shafique Ali, the regular loss of wickets kept the Spanish side just too far out of reach of their target. Surrey’s Tom Curran, with 3 for 43, was the pick of the Academy bowlers as the home side were dismissed 50 runs short of their target for 177.
This game was a real test for the Spanish side, and the team’s performance impressed their guests from the UK who commented on how much they enjoyed the challenge they were provided. There was good support on the cricket ground from the surrounding villages who enjoyed tea, cake and some stronger beverages as the afternoon progressed.
The event was an overall resounding success. Spain now has a fantastic new facility at Desert Springs to attract cricketers of all levels requiring grass pitch practice, and also has developed a great relationship with the Tom Maynard Trust, who will be a benefactor of the La Manga Club 20/20 event at the end of the 2014 season. A return for the Academy has already been provisionally booked for 2015.
The national website for cricket, www.cricketspain.es also featured live scoring for the first time and as we watch the rain falling in the UK, we move into the start of the cricket season in Spain with blue skies and the hope that interest in the game here continues to grow, people continue to support the effort all clubs are putting into the development of cricket in schools and at junior level.
Tom Maynard Trust XI before the game v Spanish Select XI