Earlier this month should have been the Women´s Cricket Festival for softball and hardball at La Manga. Unfortunately plans for the scuppered for the obvious reasons. First played in 2013, the brainchild of Andy House, the event has turned into one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the Spanish cricket calendar.
Andy takes up the story with some welcome input from Han Newman of Wansted Cricket Club, who have been regulars and staunch supporters of the Festival.
Late in 2013, with the support of the La Manga CC committee I launched a ladies cricket festival. This was a 6 a side event which would be held every weekend after May Day Bank Holiday weekend. In 2014 the first event took place with 3 teams travelling across and we made the numbers up with one of our own ladies Bev Buckley and some lads from the Spanish junior squads.
From this we persevered and last weekend were due to welcome 192 ladies to La Manga for what would have been the 7th year of an event that now has both a hard ball category for experienced sides and a soft ball festival for developing teams. In 2019 players ages ranged from 15 to 78 and this has become one of the “go-to” tours for Women’s Club Cricketers from around Europe.
One constant throughout has been the attendance of Wanstead Ladies who have been fantastic supporters and have really embraced the spirit of the weekend. Han Newman from Wanstead Ladies CC has kindly written the following overview.
“In May 2014 a keen bunch of cricketers from Wanstead Cricket Club headed to La Manga Club for the inaugural Women’s Cricket Festival. Three teams from the UK made it across that year – us, Hampstead, and Mistley. We didn’t really know what to expect but we had a great time, so much so that we’ve been back every year since! 2019 marked our 6th year, and 2020 would have marked our 7th.
The success of the tournament is evident through the ever-increasing numbers of teams from the UK and other countries, with 20 teams competing in 2019.
We’ve now been back to La Manga so many times that we have developed our own annual traditions. With the tournament held on the Friday and Saturday, we now arrive on the Wednesday night – dinner at Luigi’s obviously, and then Thursday is beach day. Sand, sea, sun, plenty of beers for those who drink them – the perfect warm up and preparation for two full days of cricket. Thursday evening we always have one of Tashy B’s famous BBQ’s on our apartment balcony, often accompanied by Ickenham too.
Two full days of cricket played in a fantastic competitive but friendly spirit, the tournament is great fun every year. The cricketing days nearly always end in the Last Drop, which has been a regular for us since our first night out in La Manga in 2014, where we all danced on tables then returned the next night for more but the tables were mysteriously gone! Oops! And of course we can’t forget the Saturday night presentation night and dinner, where all the teams come together for the final night celebration. Sunday morning usually sees lots of sore heads gathering on sun beds around the pool to grab one last bit of sun before the transfer back to the airport.
Always great cricket, great social, great weather and just an all-round fun trip packed with laughter and memories. Andy always does a fantastic job in putting everything together and the team at the cricket club too. We were gutted to not be there this year, but we’re sure that next year will be the best yet to make up what was missed this year. We can’t wait to be back in 2021!”
The dates for 2021 are confirmed for 6th to 9th May, so for more information on the cracking weekend of cricket please email Andy using [email protected]