A brief history of cricket
Cricket in Spain
Cricket is first recorded as being played in Spain in the year 1809 by soldiers of General Lord Wellesley (later the Duke of Wellington). It was during the Peninsular war that the soldiers played the game in and around Ciudad Rodrigo, Lugo and Orense. From that date there are many recordings of the game being played by visiting British land and sea forces, either between themselves or against local British expatriate communities.
However, the game really started a new era in Spain with the founding of Madrid Cricket Club in 1975. It was based on British and Indian players, but soon crossed other national lines when West Indians and eventually Spanish members joined. That was only the beginning, as many other clubs have found out trying to persuade Spaniards to part with land for a sport with the classic "When you're in, you're out" explanations was soon found to be unworkable; and that was only one of the difficulties. Notwithstanding the many problems which confronted them, they showed the tenacity and downright hard work that has characterised the establishment of cricket in Spain.
In the first years of its existence, Madrid had to content itself with playing against touring teams or teams from the British Embassy or the like, as there was no formal structure or regular opposition elsewhere in the Country. But, in 1982, the number of Clubs in Spain doubled. This was because, Phil Smith, one of the founders of Madrid CC, was transferred by his company to Barcelona, and he there founded the second cricket club in Spain.
The first match played between two Spanish cricket clubs took place in this year between Barcelona and Madrid, at the Polo Club, to coincide with the opening of the World Soccer Cup. The rivalry between these two clubs has continued to this day.
There followed a dramatic increase in the number of clubs being formed, three in 1985, three in 1986, when, additionally the Malaga Cricket Association, the forerunner of the Asociación Española de Cricket (A.E.C.) was started, and three in 1987.
1987 also saw the founding of the National Association (A.E.C.) to co-ordinate cricket throughout Spain. Its' three main objectives were:
1990 saw the founding of the second club on Mallorca, and 1992 saw the birth of Marbella C.C. and Jávea C.C., the first club on the Costa Blanca. In the same year the A.E.C. achieved the third of its' objectives and became an affiliate member of the I.C.C.
In July 1992, ten National European teams competed in "The European Cricketer Cup", of which Spain was a participating Nation, at Worksop in the U.K. Although the newest Country on the cricket scene, Spain competed on equal terms with the larger, in terms of numbers, and better established sides and finished in a laudable seventh position. That was the first time that Spain had provided any nationally selected squad.
It was in that year that an attempt was made to produce a national league competition, and although promised funds by a sponsor, to assist with the tremendous distances involved in playing matches, when that sponsorship was withdrawn, the league collapsed because clubs could not find sufficient cash to support a full programme. However, the Acorn Hotels Group sponsored the first Spanish National Cup Competition which was held at Mallorca.
Two purpose built grass cricket grounds were opened during the course of the year at the Cartama Oval in the Costa Del Sol and in Menorca. Furthermore, the A.E.C. started putting its administrative house in order by introducing a National player registration scheme.
In 1993 Jávea C.C. won the Spanish Cup Competition in their first full season, and the Costa Blanca Cricket Conference, which had been formed the previous year, organised the first National Umpiring Course. A new administration was elected to the A.E.C. and a concentrated effort was made, achieving substantial administrative reforms by the end of the year.
1994 saw the inauguration of a new purpose built cricket ground on Mallorca and the Agrupación Mallorquina De Cricket was founded. The A.E.C. completed its restructuring and brought in new rules of Association and strengthened financial controls and budgets, and started a centrally run Umpires Correspondence Course.
The following year saw a major advance in activity mainly because of an historic three year sponsorship agreement with Columbus Insurance for the Spanish National League programme. The first full International tour took place to Italy where matches were played against both Club and the Italian National team, and Spain entertained Portugal in an historic full International match played at Cartama.
In the same year a new Club was formed at Alfaz del Pi, Sporting Alfas Cricket Club, in co-operation with the local Town Hall and playing on a golf driving range provided by the Town Hall. This ground has constantly been upgraded and has been described by the European Cricket Development Officer as the finest ground in Europe outside the United Kingdom.
Spain was also honoured to receive its first tour by the M.C.C., who played matches over a two and a half week period on Mallorca, the Costa Blanca and Cost del Sol. During the course of this visit the opportunity was taken for courses in both umpiring and coaching of the game.
During the course of the year the A.E.C. was recognised by the Spanish Government Sports body as an official sport within Spain, and an historic agreement was reached by Jávea Cricket Club with the local Town Hall for a joint commitment to teach the youth of Jávea the game of cricket. The Town Hall committed themselves to the provision of funds and facilities. Finally the Spanish Umpires and Scorers Association was formed.
1996 saw Spain accepted as a member of the European Cricket Federation and agreement was reached with the SunAlliance Insurance Group for the sponsorship of the Spanish Cup Competition with the final being held at Alfaz where the Insurance Group's 'Showliner' vehicle provided a wonderful Pavilion backdrop.
The first M.C.C. coach was brought over to Spain to give tuition to coaches and players and the Chairman of the A.E.C. was appointed Director of Finance and Sponsorship Officer of the European Cricket Federation. A new club was formed at Las Palmas in the Canary Islands and this year saw the first ever National League and Cup Double victories by Jávea Cricket Club.
1997 saw the strengthening of the ties between the Royal and SunAlliance Insurance Group and the A.E.C. by an increase level of sponsorship for the National Cup Competition.
Spain became a founding member of the European Cricket Council and its Chairman was elected to the Executive Committee. With the appointment of the European Cricket Development Officer, Spain was able to appoint its own Development Officer, Mr. Keith Shingler, to take advantage of the opportunities that are now developing within Europe by the excellent backing of the ICC, MCC and ECB.
This joint partnership has produced a dramatic advance in the playing of Kwik Cricket amongst schools, particularly on the Costa Blanca, and it is wonderful to see young Spaniards keen to play at last. Competitions based on Kwik Cricket are being arranged and it is reliably expected that there will be around twenty teams playing by the end of the year.
A new initiative has been signed with The Copeland Insurance Group to support the growth of youth Cricket within Spain which should assist all those Clubs and Schools to encourage their youngsters.
YEAR ROUND CRICKET IN THE SUNHow many people reading this have the opportunity to play Cricket all through the year. In Spain it is possible: Not only that, it happens. There are Clubs in almost every part of the Country, and the number of touring teams is increasing annually, many coming back year after year.
We welcome any enquiries from any Club or County who would like to take advantage of the opportunities that we offer.
All enquiries will be answered and, where neccessary, the appropriate contact number will be given.
Contact Ken Sainsbury on Tel/Fax: +34 96 579 4948 or by email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Date-stamped : 30 May1998 - 09:32