All eyes turn to Jersey for U/19 Cricket World Cup Qualifiers

Fri, Jul 10, 2009 11:51 AM

Richard Holdsworth, Regional Development Manager for the ICC Europe region, looks forward to the ICC European U/19 Division 1 Cricket World Cup Qualifier and believes that European youth teams can also emulate the success senior teams like Ireland and the Netherlands had against Full Members recently.

The event will take place in Jersey from 14-20 July 2009 and will have six teams participating - hosts Jersey, Denmark, Guernsey, Ireland, the Netherlands and Scotland. The leading two teams will reach the global qualifier, which will take place in Canada in September this year.

How do you look forward to the event?
The ICC Europe U/19 CWCQ event this year will create a new opportunity to the region. For the first time, Europe will be able to enter two teams to the global qualifier to be held in Canada in September. This will provide a very competitive event for Europe's top six countries to progress to the qualifiers. The prize for two teams will be a trip to Canada and then hopefully the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup itself in New Zealand next year.

Will the tournament be instrumental in promoting the game within the youth in the region?
Europe has expanded its Division 1 at U/19 level to six countries and has five other youth tournaments under this Division every two years. The incentive and reward for many young cricketers learning the game is huge and there is nothing greater than representing your country in any sport. This event will hopefully capture that spirit and help promote the game at the youth level even further.

How popular is school cricket in the region?
Cricket participation in schools in the region varies immensely with club junior sections being the focus in many European countries, however there are many great programmes in schools being introduced. In the host country Jersey, school cricket is strong with most schools being introduced to the game from an early age.

What challenges do you face in the growth of the game in the region?
Cricket will always face challenges from other sports, which is healthy in terms of youth being actively involved in other sports. However our society and a lack of time makes it more difficult for many to participate in cricket and there are many other activities and leisure pursuits to do, which is a challenge for cricket and sport in general. Cricket therefore needs to do all it can to stimulate the imagination of young people and make the game attractive to them for many reasons. The lack of televised cricket has been a huge issue for Europe for over a decade now, but thanks to Eurosport's involvement in the ICC World Twenty20, this has helped raise the profile significantly.

Ireland participated in the last ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup in 2008. Do you foresee similar success stories with other teams participating?
Many of Europe's top countries in the Regional U/19 CWCQ have excellent youth and performance programmes as well as good coaching structures, so I anticipate good performances by both teams progressing to the qualifiers in Canada in September. We then hope that the teams have the opportunity to excel in the ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup and defeat some Full Members just as Ireland and the Netherlands have done in the senior men's game in recent times.

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