Below is an in-depth report of the recent Spanish Over 40’s tour in Newport, Wales when Spain played in an International tournament against Denmark, Holland and the UK.
Many thanks to one of the players on the tour Harmit Phull for his report …
This July The Spanish over 40’s squad travelled to Newport Wales to compete in an annual quadrangular tournament, competing against the best from England (The Forty Club), Holland (SGS) and Dansk XL from Denmark.
The venue for the tournament was the impressive Newport Cricket ground with it’s perfect grass pitches, something the Spanish guys would have to get used to afters years of playing on artifical pitches.
To the surprise of all teams, the practice 40 0ver games played on Sunday 19th were played in magnificent Sunshine, and Newport CC looked liked the perfect home of cricket.
The Spanish team played against a team made up of combined players from the other squads. The combined XL batted well on a wicket which was clearly going to help the batsman all week, scoring 185 for 6 of their 40 overs.
In reply the Spanish team were in fiesta mode with David Smith, Geoff Evans, Kevin Laundon and Kevin Smith all scoring quick runs to give the Spanish team victory needing just 29.4 overs.
The Tournament was officially opened that evening by the Mayor of Newport, welcoming all teams and wishing them the best over the next 5 days of competition.
Monday saw the 45 over clash against the English Forth Club, the home team tipped to win both completions. Batting first it was clear to see why they were favorites, all their batsman, helped by the friendly batting wickets, made it look easy against all the Spanish bowlers.
Only Neil French and Harmit Phull were in the wickets. Phull did stop the No three batsman scoring 100 getting him out on 93, and only his brilliant run out eventually stopped the opener who was on 137 at the time.
Setting a huge 370, the Spanish team really had to be at their best to make a game of it. Refreshed after a smashing tea the lads were ready to go for the win, unfortunetly for them, and fortunately for the Forty Club, the rain came and washed out the rest of the days play!!! All teams picking up 1 point.
Tuesday was the start of the T20 tournament, with Spain playing the Dutch team first up and then facing the Forty club in the afternoon match. Delayed due to morning rain fall, SGS made a good start batting first, but once the openers were removed, they restricted the Dutch to 156 of the 20 overs, H Phull and D Smith being the pick of the Spanish bowlers.
Cruising in chase of the target with a sparkling 34 from D Smith and a gritty 50 from J Rose, a win was looking good. But then, in a blink of an eye lid the Spanish found themselves behind the run rate. Dispute K Laundon’s efforts, the Spanish finished 10 runs short of their target.
Dissapointed feeling they lost a game they should have easily won, they now knew they had to beat the Forty Club in the next match to keep their hopes alive.
The weather had changed by the afternoon and the strong winds made bowling difficult, even so the Spanish, in this must win game were far better disciplined in the field. A fine performance restricted the opposition to 156 for 6 of their 20 overs.
Chasing, D Smith continued his good form with a rapid 55 supported well by K Smith. There were no lapses in concentration this time as A Khan (44 not out) smashed the ball all round the park winning the match in just 17.2 overs. A great performance against a strong side.
Days of grueling fielding in cold wet and windy conditions was always going to be a testing challenge for a squad a little light on numbers.
That proved to be the case during the next few games. On Wedenesday when playing SGS in the 45 over tournament on another wet drizzly day, our boys just didn’t show up, and mistakes in the field and dropped catches allowed a fortunate Dutch squad to pile on the runs, finishing their innings on a match wining score of 282 for 7. Only G Wambeek managed to get something out of the day picking up four wickets.
With all the inform batsman also unable to perform, the Spanish lower order batsman got some batting practice in but finished on 132 for 8, losing by a massive 150 runs.
Despite the heavy defeat the Spanish were upbeat as ever in the club house providing plenty of entertainment and humour for the other teams.
Not needing spikes in Spain, one – because they don’t play in the rain and two – they play on artificial pitches. Indeed, some of the players took out their old cricket boots that have not seen the light of day for some 15/20 years. However being kept in the dark for that long did not keep them well.
Two players spike boots had already fallen apart during this match but then the sole of G Evens spikes decided to come apart, it looked like he was trying to run after a ball with crocodiles on his feet!!! It just wasn’t their day.
The Spanish lads took on the Danish team on the Thursday, knowing if the English Forty club beat Holland in their T20 match, and our lads won their game, there was every chance that the Spanish could win the trophy.
However it was not to be on both counts, the Dutch easily beat the Forty Club to be out right champions while the ever improving Danish managed to defeat the Spanish squad who once again let themselves down in the field allowing the Danes to post a target of 179 for 2 of their 20 overs.
The Spanish batsman never gave up the chase and despite a brutal 79 not out from K Laundon, finished 17 runs short.
The rain on the final day of the tournament did not stop, bringing the tournament to a sour end, depriving the Spanish team a chance to settle the score with their Danish opponents.
Teams gathered in the Newport club house one last time, swaping momentos and H Phull and G Wambeek on behalf of the Spanish club thanked the organisers for their hard work in making all the arrangements for the tournament.
Special thanks were given to the staff at the ground, particularly the excellent ground staff who had their work cut out due to the weather, and to the bar staff and tea ladies who kept all reams and spectators well fed and watered.
So came to end another excellent tournament in which the Spanish squad battled hard, many through injury and pain on the field of play, and off it represented Spain proudly, once again being the life of the party. Well done lads.
Next year the tournament is in Spain and the Spanish squad will no doubt be a much bigger and stronger squad on home soil.
The players would like to thank Cricket España, Own a Share, who sponsored our shirts and red zip tops, SJ&A Digitial printing services (Torrevieja) Bar Restaurante Ricos (Torrevieja Park of Nations) for helping to sponsor the tour.
The Spanish Over 40’s is always looking for sponsors for forthcoming tournaments, any one interested please go onto the cricket España website for more information.
Harmit Phull (Rico)