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What is the European Cricket Series?
The European Cricket Series is a competition played between the best performing clubs in European countries. As the sport has become more popular across the continent, there is a demand for increased competition in many regions, and the EC T10 League helps to address that.
The competition was first played in 2019 and it currently features 31 of the best club sides across Europe. Those teams have to progress to the finals stages after making it through their national competitions. Recently, the defending champions have also been given an automatic pass into the final stages.
Unfortunately, the 2020 and 2021 editions of the tournament had to be cancelled owing to global issues, but the competition resumed in 2022. This means that the 2023 event was the third edition of the European Cricket T10 League. Hopefully, with the world moving on from the events of 2020, the tournament will continue to be played on an annual basis from this point onwards.
History of the European Cricket League
The man credited with the formation of the European Cricket League is the German player Daniel Weston. Having played at international level, Weston was keen to introduce a new competition as a way to developing the game in emerging European countries.
That first edition of the EC T10 League featured just eight teams from around the continent. However, expansion was rapid and by the time the second tournament came around in 2022, 30 sides were taking part. That figure increased to 31 in 2023, as it was agreed that the previous year’s champions would be invited back to defend their trophy.
Despite the interruptions in 2020 and 2021, the EC T10 League now seems settled, and it should continue as an annual fixture on the growing cricket calendar.
Where do they Play European Cricket?
Many of the first five editions of the European Cricket T10 League have been scheduled to take place at the Cartama Oval in Malaga, Spain. It’s located some twenty minutes outside of the main city and is the home of the Costa del Sol cricket club.
With many English and other nations’ ex-pats living in the region, cricket is actually very popular here, and this location offers a perfect site for the EC T10 League. Malaga also provides plenty of accommodation and entertainment for the teams travelling to take part.
Potentially, there could be a switch from this location in the future, but the teams are familiar with the ground and the facilities are ideal for the tournament. In 2021, there had been plans for the tournament to be played at La Manga in Murcia which is situated in the south east of Spain.
Because the 2021 competition had to be rescheduled, that never happened and the EC T10 League eventually came back to the Cartama Oval in 2022. There appears to be no arrangements in place for the tournament to be moved across to La Manga, but this shouldn’t be ruled out.
Malaga also has excellent weather and, while there are never any guarantees of play, it’s difficult to remember any occasion where rain has intervened here.
What is the European Cricket Network?
The European Cricket Network is the main broadcaster of the EC T10 League. They are a digital network so most of their output can be found online.
Coverage can be viewed via the mobile app and there is also a very active YouTube channel in place. As well as the live games, the European Cricket Network also provides news, highlights and other essential information for anyone following the tournament.
The commentators on the matches are real characters. Look out for Mr Maximo who gets very excited whenever the ball goes over the boundary for six.
The ECN is the place to go for the best coverage, but it’s possible that we may see the European series on our televisions too. The tournament has been picked up in the past by networks such as Viaplay in the UK, and hopefully this will continue in the years that follow.
Who are the Most Successful teams in the European Cricket T10 League?
2023 marked the third edition of the European Cricket T10 League, and those three tournaments have each been won by different sides.
In 2019, the very first tournament was won by VOC Rotterdam from the Netherlands who beat Germany’s SG Findorff by 101 runs in the final.
The 2020 and 2021 editions of the competition were cancelled.
The EC T10 League returned in 2022 and this series was won by Pak I Care Badalona from Spain. After progressing through the opening rounds, the team beat Tunbridge Wells of England by seven wickets in the final.
The 2023 tournament returned to Malaga and it was won by the French side Dreux. A dominant performance in the final saw them beat Hornchurch of England by 62 runs.
That means that three sides sit at the top of the overall table with three titles each – VOC Rotterdam, Pak I Care Badalona and Dreux.
Because of the nature of the competition and the long route to qualification, it will be tough for any side to win the EC T10 League twice, but it will be interesting to see if any team can achieve that target.
How Does the European Cricket Championship Work?
The European Cricket Championship is a T10 competition. It follows the laws of cricket, and each team receives a maximum of ten overs in which to bat. The simple aim in each game is to score more runs than the opposition to win the match. Teams have ten wickets intact at the start of their innings.
The tournament format may be subject to change in future years but, in 2023, 31 teams from around Europe travelled to Malaga to take part. The participants comprised 30 national winners from across the continent, together with Pak I Care Badalona from Spain who were the defending champions.
The initial phase of the competition split those 31 sides into six groups. Within those sections, an initial round-robin stage saw each team play each other once. When that sequence is completed, the highest placed side in each section will qualify for the second phase.
We now have a second series of round robin matches with each side playing each other once. When these games come to their conclusion, the top four teams progress to the playoffs, while the rest of the sides are eliminated and travel home.
The playoffs involve a series of eliminators and qualifiers in a format which is similar to other competitions such as the Indian Premier League. Performances in the second round of group games will determine whether a club goes into the eliminators or qualifiers.
The very final stages of the EC T10 League are referred to as Championship week. Once the teams involved have played each other, the sides finishing in third and fourth place in the table will compete in an Eliminator. The team that wins progresses to the second qualifier, while the losing side goes home.
Next is the first qualifier and this will feature the teams that finished in first and second place. The winner of that game will go straight through to the final. The losing side now progresses to the second qualifier.
The winner of the second qualifier takes part in the final while the losers are eliminated. Eventually, the final of the European Cricket T10 League will take place and the winners take the trophy.
While it may sound quite complicated, it’s actually a simple format to follow and one that is seen in many T20 and T10 competitions. It’s a long tournament and, in 2023, the action took place from February 27th, right through to March 24th.
We can expect a similar sequence of games moving forward, and they may even be scope for the European Cricket T10 League to expand in the future.
I’ve actually watched quite a lot of the games from the European Cricket T10 League and I’ve found them highly entertaining. Remember that these are club cricketers, so the standard won’t match that of the professionals, but the action remains competitive and it’s great to watch multiple matches on each day of the tournament.
This is also an important event, with an aim to grow the game right across Europe. The need for the tournament was underlined by the rapid expansion in the number of teams taking part. From just eight competitors in 2019, there were 30 club sides by the time that the second competition took place three years later. Could there be even more teams in contention as the game develops?
Hopefully the league will continue to grow and expand as it is an important and entertaining addition to the cricketing calendar.