Spain’s Over 40’s played in their annual International tournament earlier this month against the Forty Club sides from Denmark, Holland and the UK. In recent years the event has taken place in Copenhagen and Rotterdam, and this year in was the turn of the UK and Newport to play hosts.
Spain, who had players and officials from the ECCL, Cataluyna and Lanzarote leagues in their ranks started their tour with a warm up game against a local Invitational XI. The local side batted first and made 185 for 6. The Spanish batsmen took to the task at hand with ease and surpassed the required total with eight wickets to spare. Kevin Laundon (38) K. Smith (36) and Geoff Evans (35) were the main contributors with the bat.
The tournament officially started on the 20th of July and Spain were pencilled in to face the Forty Club of UK. The hosts had a strong team to call upon and this was evident as they racked up a mammoth 370 for 3 from their 45 overs. Then, the heavens opened up, leaving the Spanish unable to bat, and they gleefully took a point from the game thanks to the Welsh rain.
The following day Spain had two T-20 games as a T-20 competition was also being run in conjunction with the 45 over tournament. Spain first entertained SGS (Still Going Strong XL Club of Holland). The Dutch made 159 for 6 with Harmit Phull bagging three wickets at a cost of just 19 runs for the Spanish.
In reply, Spain were always in the game but finally fell just ten runs shy, ending their innings on 149 for 6. Former Mojacar batsmen Jeremy Rose, guesting for the Spaniards top scored with 50.
Later in the day Spain took on the Forty Club of the UK and faired better. Batting first the hosts made 156 for 6. The Spanish tracked down the score mainly thanks to a fine 55 from Dave Smith and a supporting 44 from Adnan Khan to romp home by six wickets and get their first points of the tournament.
Wednesday it was a return to the 45 over format and once again the Dutch proved too strong for the Spanish. The Dutch posted a total of 282 for 7. For Spain, skipper George Wambeek brought his “A game” to the party and took four wickets for 43 runs.
Spain’s batting struggled against a strong Dutch bowling attack and they finally ended their innings on 132 for 8, 151 runs away from the required score for victory.
Thursday it was back to the T-20 format and a match up for the first time with the Danish Over 40’s. Batting first the Danes posted the very strong total of 178 for 2 from their 20 overs. Spain were always in the game whilst Sporting Alfas star Kevin Laundon was at the crease, but when he departed for 79, so did Spains hope of victory. The Spaniards finally finished on 161 for 5 as the Danes ran out winners by 17 runs.
The final day of the tournament pitched the Danes and the Spaniards together again in what was to be a 45 over contest. Unfortunately, the rain came and the match was cancelled without a ball being bowled.
A mixed tournament on the field, but off the field the Spanish made many new friends and represented Spanish Cricket with pride and professionalism. Next year George Wambeek and his team will play hosts to the tournament that continues to be highlight of the calendar year for many of the cricketers of all the four countries participating.
Roll on 2016 and La Manga …..