ENGLAND have been crowned champions in the Dream1 European Cricket Championship held at Spain’s Cartama Oval.
In the climax to four weeks of T10 (10 overs a side) action, The England XI overcame Belgium to take the trophy.
Hosts Spain had a fine run, winning three on the bounce in the round robin format, but were knocked out on Friday morning by the Netherlands in an eliminator match.
Next up, England edged directly into the Final with a thrilling last-ball win over Belgium . But Belgium were not to take the loss lying down. They made it to the Final and another crack at England after beating the Netherlands in Qualifier 2.
The big-hitting Belgians blasted their way to an imposing 148 with Ali Raza (43) and Sherry Butt (54) doing the most damage. Butt was particularly brutal, hitting eight massive sixes in his 18-ball innings.
But England had no trouble chasing down the target with Sussex star batter Harrison Ward and skipper Dan Lincoln showing the way with some venomous hitting in their unbeaten fifties.
It was a fitting finish to the competition, which was held with the Malaga mountains as a spectacular background.
The success of the ground is inspired by English-born owner, David Cooper, a resident of Cartama for 35 years. Once a former Turf Nursery supplying grass to world-renowned golf resorts across Europe before its conversion into the Cartama Oval – a top-class sports ground offering high quality facilities and onsite hospitality.
“The Dream11 European Cricket Championship is a fantastic new initiative, and we are honoured to stage the inaugural tournament,” said David Cooper of Sports World Spain.
“It’s been so exciting. We have especially loved welcoming fans and the international players to the Cartama Oval. Partnering with the Dream11 European Cricket Championship has provided us with the opportunity to showcase our cricket facilities to a truly global audience.”
“My dream of making Cartama the premier cricket facility in Spain is coming to fruition and we are committed to hosting many more European Cricket Network events.”
Plans are already taking shape for the next European Cricket League, “The Champions League of European Cricket” – ECL22 – with 30 European champion clubs competing over six weeks in February and March at the Cartama Oval to be crowned “Kings of Europe”.