Last weekend two teams from the UK and two teams from Spain contested the annual La Manga Twenty/Twenty competition at the Murcia venue. At the end of three days of fiercely competitive cricket it was the UK Asians who claimed vicory, downing La Manga in the final.
The first two games Friday morning matched Andalucia against the UK Asians and Chorleywood against the hosts La Manga. Andalucia included in their team the three Barratt brothers and the skipper of Combined Colleges CC. UK Asians, past winners of the competition, again looked a formidable proposition on paper with players congregating from several regions, including Bristol, Derby and London. The game proved to be a one-sided affair with the UK Asians being way too strong for the Southern Spanish side.
Simultaneously, La Manga were overpowering Chorleywood on the bottom pitch. The Hertfordshie based team boasted Jeremy Hinds as captain and in Freddie Dare, Neil Ret and Andrew Lowe they had useful cricketers who could always cause a threat to the opposition. However, it was La Manga newcomer Tariq Ali Awan, a Spanish international signed from Alcorcon, who stole the limelight as he put on an excellent batting display to give the hosts a comfortable opening victory.
Friday afternoon the winners of the first two matches UK Asians and La Manga were scheduled to play each other. Again Tariq Ali was in sublime form as La Manga made it two wins out of two and looked favourites to maintain the trophy they had won last year. Chorleywood gave a better performance than in the morning against Andalucia but it was the Spanish side that took the spoils thanks to an unbeaten innings by John Barratt, the younger of the three brothers on show.
Saturday morning UK Asians rooted Chorleywood as the social side of the Hertfordshire team came back to haunt them. With several players deprived of sleep and still hungover from the night before they were second best in every department to their UK counterparts. La Manga did a professional job in beating Andalucia to remain unbeaten through the group phase of the tournament.
Saturday afternoon saw the group winners La Manga ease into the final past the hapless Chorleywood whilst UK Asians had a tougher ride in securing their final berth over Andalucia. Thoughts then turned to the evening and the excellent gala dinner that all four teams attended. Guest speakers were former Northants and Kent opening bowler John Dye and Rachel Heyhoe Flint, previous captain of England Women´s cricket team. A raffle raised money for Mabs Cancer Charity (Murcia branch) and the whole evening was efficently compered by Neil Brook, the new director of Spanish cricket.
Sunday morning Chorleywood received a walkover as Andalucia relinquished the match. Next came the afternoon final with the eagerly anticipated re-match between La Manga and UK Asians. Asians won the toss and elected to field. This immediately seemed a good decision as they quickly removed the dangerman Taiq Ali and when Munib Ranja fell soon after the hosts looked like they had a major problem to stay in the game. However,mini cameos from several of the La Manga players ensured the innings ended on a respectable, but sub-par total of 152 for 9.
UK Asians came out to bat in a purposeful mood after the interval and the openers quickly racked up the runs. Well above the run rate the UK team controlled their innings to perfection to get home with a couple of overs and 7 wickets to spare. Opener Adnan Malik saw the innings through to its climax and deservedly won the man of the match award. La Manga did have some joy in the sense that their debut boy Tariq Ali was named the Man of the tournament by the adjudicating officials.
It was left to Rachel Heyhoe Flint to present the trophy to the joyous UK Asians and for Neil Brook to call time on another successful Twenty/Tenty event here in La Manga
There will be a feast of cricket over the forthcoming weeks at the resort, firstly an Over 40¨s competition with teams from Spain, Denmark, Holland and the UK. The following week the resort hosts the Spitfire torneo, an event for Over 65´s that includes a West Indian XI and then later in October the Taverners Charity event is taking place with ten teams already committed to the event. The season finale in November will see the Spanish league finals take place with La Manga and Sporting Alfas from ECCL1 and the two top teams from Cataluyna contesting for the bragging rights of Spanish League Champions for 2012. For further details on any of these events please contact George Wambeek on (0034) 610006783