European Cricket League challenge for Farmers CC

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FARMERS CC are hoping for some magic in Malaga this week as they begin their bid to be crowned European champions.

The 2022 Brooks Macdonald Weekend League winners have set up camp in Spain, having prepped for four matches against national club champions from the Netherlands, Denmark, Bulgaria and Malta.

As part of a partnership with Jersey Cricket, signed with the European Cricket League in 2020, Island champions are guaranteed an invite to the continental tournament the following year – dubbed the cricketing equivalent of football’s Champions League.

Farmers, who also represented Jersey at the event last March, have been drawn into Group B in 2022 and captain James Perchard believes his side are more capable of topping the table this time around – at the expense of Dutch side VOC Rotterdam, Danish champions Svanholm, Indo-Bulgarian CC and American University of Malta (AUM).

Group winners will be invited back to the Cartama Cricket Oval at the end of March, to contest the Championship Week. All travel and accommodation expenses are covered by the ECL and the competition is the focus of extensive coverage through a dedicated app, with player and match stats accompanying multi-camera live feeds and video highlights. The tournament is also being shown on Viaplay this year – Sky channel 422.

‘I’d say we’re going with a stronger touring party this season,’ Perchard explained. ‘We have a couple of really good additions to the team, particularly Joel Dudley with the bat. He’s powerful at the top of the order and the T10 format will suit him well. We also have Josh Lawrenson, who wasn’t there last year.

‘Historically we’ve always had a young team but the boys have got a little bit older and that’s going to make a big difference this year. They have an extra year’s worth of experience and I think we have a strong unit.

‘We are set for another high-standard group, which is good because we want to be challenged while we’re there and playing cricket against good sides. The profile and standard of the European Cricket League is growing rapidly and the quality of the opposition we’re facing is going up and up.’

However, should Farmers qualify for finals week, from 20-24 March, they will be without a large number of those who got them there.

Jersey’s men – potentially featuring half-a-dozen Farmers players – will be in Namibia by that point, in time for their 2023 Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off.

‘Making it to the Championship week is the aim,’ Perchard added. ‘We would be missing the Jersey players and a few of the boys who are in school, because it will be too close to their exams, but luckily we have a good second XI squad and it would give more exposure to a wider player pool at the club.’

The Caesareans begin their campaign with two matches on Thursday, against Svanholm and AUM, before facing Rotterdam and Indo-Bulgarian on Friday. The play-offs and group final are scheduled for Saturday.

Guernsey champions Independents CC are among those kicking off the 2023 tournament this week, alongside England champions Hornchurch in Group A.

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