England’s last-gasp win provided an unbelievable climax to the 2019 Cricket World Cup and a new event is set to make a similar global impact, with the inaugural European Cricket League (ECL) predicted to attract a major worldwide audience when it takes place in Spain this month.
Billed as cricket’s equivalent of the UEFA Champions League, ECL19 will be held for the first time at La Manga Club from July 29-31, with the domestic champions of Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Russia and Spain competing for the chance to be crowned as continental Europe club cricket’s ‘Kings of Europe’.
Played over 17 matches in a T10 format, interest in the competition is set to be huge, with all the games being televised live in Europe, Asia, North America and Australasia across a combination of broadcast, digital and social channels, including the newly-launched European Cricket Network.
Broadcast coverage will be shown in countries including the UK, Australia, India, Middle East, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Turkey, Spain, USA, Canada and the Caribbean.
“Spain’s weather is perfect for year round cricket, and La Manga Club’s facilities and proximity to the beach makes it an awesome destination for cricket fans and holiday makers,” said Daniel Weston, founder of the ECL.
“Featuring southern Europe’s best cricket facilities, the resort is the perfect destination for cricket fans and champion clubs to combine world-class cricket and entertainment in equal measure.
“There has never been a European-wide league of this nature and it’s our desire to make the ECL the flagship competition in continental Europe. The team behind the league has vast experience of organising and promoting events of this nature to a global broadcast audience, and we can’t wait to get started.”
Widely-known as the ‘home of cricket in Spain’, La Manga Club features an outstanding range of first-class cricket facilities ideal for hosting teams and staging tournaments – including the continent’s only European Cricket Performance Centre, and will stage the ECL for the next three years.
ECL 19 will feature sides from Dreux (France), Rotterdam (The Netherlands), Svanholm (Denmark), Bremen (Germany), St. Petersburg (Russia), Brescia (Italy) and Cluj (Romania), with players from 18 different nations taking part from all over Europe as well as more traditional cricket-playing nations.
Teams will be split into two groups of four with matches being played on a round-robin basis on La Manga Club’s two cricket ovals, with the top two from each progressing to contest the semi-finals and final.
The first league – which is free to watch for supporters and guests staying at the resort – will be limited to eight champion clubs from official ICC member federations, but event organisers plan to increase the number of qualified teams in the coming years.
And to help the inaugural event get off to a flying start, La Manga Club will be staging food markets and creating a “Hormiga Hippy Market”, where fans will be able to browse the best local products and latest design products, clothes, arts and crafts by designers, artisans, artists and entrepreneurs from the Murcia region.
La Manga Club’s European Cricket Performance Centre has been designed to help international teams, counties, schools and colleges, as well as assisting with the development of players and coaches. Extensive facilities include six first-class grass pitches, plus 23 grass and five artificial net lanes – all with 25-yard run-ups – a specialist grass fielding, catching and wicket-keeping areas.
And, with its grass pitches bedded in and fully operational, the resort has been hailed as a “must-visit” warm-weather training camp destination, with. Hampshire, Middlesex, Northamptonshire, Glamorgan and Gloucestershire all visiting in the build-up to this season.
Also the official overseas training base of the Lawn Tennis Association, La Manga Club’s unrivalled other facilities include three 18-hole golf courses, a 28-court tennis centre and a 2,000sqm Wellness Centre. It also offers the choice of a five-star hotel, four-star serviced apartments and more than 15 bars and restaurants.
Fixtures for the European Cricket League 2019
Day 1 (29th July 2019)
V.O.C Rotterdam vs Dreux Cricket Club
Dreux Cricket Club vs Svanholm Cricket Club
V.O.C Rotterdam vs Cluj Cricket Club
JCC Brescia vs Catalunya Cricket Club
JCC Brescia vs SG Findorff
Day 2 (30th July 2019)
Cluj Cricket Club vs Dreux Cricket Club
Svanholm Cricket Club vs Cluj Cricket Club
V.O.C Rotterdam vs Svanholm Cricket Club
St. Petersburg Lions vs SG Findorff
JCC Brescia vs St. Petersburg Lions
SG Findorff vs Catalunya Cricket Club
Day 3 (31st July 2019)
TBA 1 vs TBA 2
TBA 1 vs TBA 2
TBA 1 vs TBA 2
TBA 1 vs TBA 2
For more information on the European Cricket League, please visit www.ecl.cricket/ .