Estonia win Twenty20 tournament
Fri, Jul 25, 2008 3:31 PM
Estonia clinched a tense last-over victory over the Czech Republic to lift the inaugural Carmel and District Cricket Club Invitational Twenty20 trophy and provide a fitting end to a week-long fiesta of international cricket.
In what was the first ever meeting between the two nations on the cricket field Estonia were set 123 to win from their 20 overs by the Czech side who opted to bat after winning the toss.
The Baltic state chased down the total with three balls to spare to take victory which sparked wild celebrations among their players, supporters and coaching staff.
It was the icing on the cake for the Estonian Cricket Association who were awarded affiliate status by the International Cricket Council earlier this month.
The exciting finale also capped a great week for Flintshire village club Carmel who had organised the tournament which also included cricket teams from Croatia, Slovakia, Russia and a team from the Cricket Board of Wales.
Tournament organiser Timothy Abraham, who came up with the idea after leading Carmel on a tour to Eastern Europe last year, admitted it was an honour for North Wales to host the event.
"It was only when Croatia arrived at our Pen-y-Gelli ground in their chequered tracksuits and Slovakia in their team blazers that it really dawned on me what a prestigious event this was for the area," he said.
"The majority of the games were the first time most of the teams had met each other in the history of cricket so for a small village cricket club to host that is a huge honour for us.
"Fortunately we had a pretty good week of weather and the final was really exciting but it wasn't just about the cricket. It is great to build friendships with other European countries and sample the colour and culture of different nationalities.
"This event was probably the first time a lot of the local population had ever met people from say Slovakia and Estonia - it was great for some of our younger players to broaden their horizons."
Carmel chairman Charlie Bass said it had been tough for the club to undertake such an ambitious project but admitted giving the club the chance to play international cricket had kept everyone going.
"A European Twenty20 tournament of this magnitude has never been staged in Wales and the club's committee have put in a lot of work over the past few months," he explained.
"There was a lot of work behind the scenes to raise the finances required to cover the accommodation costs of the competing teams and we are thankful to all our sponsors for their help.
"Our groundsmen Neil Taylor and Tony Ryles also deserve a special mention - they both took a week off work and were the first people at the ground in the morning and the last to leave.
"The teams certainly appreciated their effort and they have since been inundated with offers to lay grass batting pitches in Bratislava, Prague and Moscow!"
Slovakia captain Vladimir Chudacik, who picked up the tournament 'Spirit of Cricket' award for the sportsmanship and spectacular fielding shown by his side, thanked Carmel for hosting the event.
He added: "The tournament has been important for the development of the national cricket team of Slovakia and we would like to thank Carmel for staging it.
"We have never played on a grass wicket before and our players learned a lot about how to adapt to these conditions. All of the players really enjoyed their time in North Wales"
For more pictures, scores and reaction visit the tournament website www.eurotwenty20.eu