Forces join as Twenty20 takes off in Macedonia

Fri, Jun 29, 2007 4:27 PM

As the world's top cricketing nations prepare for the ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup in South Africa this September, one of Europe's countries, less well-known for its cricketing prowess, has decided it too wants a slice of the Twenty20 action.

The Republic of Macedonia is the latest country to jump on the Twenty20 bandwagon and will stage an inaugural Twenty20 competition tomorrow, Saturday 30th July.

The event, to be held at the Vardar Football Stadium situated next to the country's National Stadium, is a joint initiative supported by HM Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia, H.E. Robert Chatterton Dickson, two Macedonian businesses – British Business Group and Phalanx Capital, the British Army and NATO.

The day will see three teams take part in two twenty over matches. In the first a NATO/British Army XI will take on an Ambassadors XI and then the same NATO/British Army XI will go on to contest against a Macedonia Invitation XI.

British Business Group and Phalanx International are providing hospitality facilities for up to two hundred cricket players, VIPs, guests and media. Prominent politicians, including the Macedonian Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski, and leading business people will be in attendance and it is hoped that they will see the value of cricket and enjoy the unique spirit of the game.

Although access to the hospitality area will be by invitation only there will be access to all other areas for the general public, including various activities for entertaining children and adults alike. Food and drinks will be available throughout the day and it is hoped that the event will attract up to 500 spectators.

Equipment for the games, including stumps, bats, balls and protective clothing has been provided by the ICC European Development Program and has been flown out from the British Royal Air Force base at Lyneham. The matting on which the games will be played has been kindly donated by Notts Sport Limited.

Hugh Creal of Phalanx Capital said "All the equipment and arrangements are now place and the players a pumped and ready for action.

"We thank the ICC Development Program, the British Army, the British Ambassador and all other parties that have made this event possible. Let's hope this competition can mark the start of the development and growth of cricket in Macedonia."

After the event the equipment will be formally handed over to the Macedonian Ministry of Sport & Youth with the eventual aim of setting up the country's first cricket club. Any profits from the event will be going to support the Children's Leukemia and Cancer Organisation in Macedonia

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