La Manga Club has paid a glowing new tribute to former owner Gregory Peters and ex-England women’s cricket captain Rachael Heyhoe Flint for their roles in helping to establish the resort as Europe’s top sports and leisure destination.
To recognise the pair’s lasting legacy, the leading Spanish resort has named the two recently upgraded cricket grounds at its European Cricket Performance Centre in their honour, with the pitches being christened the ‘Gregory Peters Oval’ and ‘Rachael Heyhoe Flint Oval’.
American entrepreneur Peters was the driving force behind La Manga Club and opened the resort in 1972, two years after he first began work on the ground-breaking project in Murcia. Under his inspirational leadership, he oversaw the creation of extensive facilities including three 18-hole golf courses, a 28-court tennis centre, a four-star hotel and many properties.
Also responsible for attracting the likes of Spanish tennis legend Manolo Santana and golf superstars Gary Player and Severiano Ballesteros to the resort, Peters eventually sold La Manga Club in the mid-1980s. In his later years, he returned to America and died at his home in Las Vegas in 2014 at the age of 86.
Baroness Heyhoe Flint, who was also an England hockey international, was a familiar figure at La Manga Club for 40 years and played a key part in helping to establish the resort as a worldwide travel destination after retiring from competitive sport.
As well as being a resident for more than 30 years, she was also a long-term ambassador for the resort and worked passionately to promote its extensive facilities right up until her death in 2017 aged 77.
The naming ceremonies for the ‘Gregory Peters Oval’ and ‘Rachael Heyhoe Flint Oval’ took place in the build-up to this month’s first-ever European Cricket League, and La Manga Club general manager Nick Montgomery believes the move is a fitting tribute to the pair as the resort prepares to host the exciting new event – billed as cricket’s equivalent of the UEFA Champions League.
Montgomery said: “Gregory and Rachael are two of the most important figures in La Manga Club’s history who were so passionate about the resort. They were always looking at ways that the resort could be promoted to new audiences, and I’m sure that they would approve of this tribute as we prepare to host such an exciting new event.”
Taking place at La Manga Club’s European Cricket Performance Centre from July 29-31, the European Cricket League (ECL19) will see 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.
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.
Also the official overseas training base of the Lawn Tennis Association, the resort’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.
For more information on the European Cricket League, please visit www.ecl.cricket/ .