A New Season Dawns
There are exciting changes ahead for the new Manx cricket season which begins on Saturday.
The Standard Bank Premiership starts the week-end fixtures with teams playing each other home and away. The format is now forty overs per side with two points for a win and one point for a tie or an abandoned match.
Last year games could go for one hundred overs with a maximum of fifty overs for the team batting first and sides played each other three times. For 2012 batting and bowling bonus points have been scrapped and declarations are not allowed.
The Premiership takes a break at the end of June when the Standard Bank Cain League opens. Due to its importance, the Island’s top Twenty20 Division is switching to the week-end from its usual Tuesday evening slot.
Once again clubs will play each other home and away with two points going to the winning side. Games will go ahead under ICC rules, including the use of the Duckworth-Lewis system in the case of bad weather.
An extra evening league has been added for the new season, which will now see three divisions in the Forrester. Finch Hill is putting out a second side, but unfortunately Loaghtyn will be missing.
The Isle of Man Junior leagues will now be split into Districts. The North is based at Ramsey, the West at Mullen-e-Cloie & Marown and the South’s home ground is King William’s College. There are two Eastern districts – at Tromode and Ballafletcher.
Training of the juniors will be run by CDO Gareth Dawson and his team of coaches. Numbers playing Cricket in the Manx Youth Games are well up on last year, with plenty of future potential identified.
This week two promising youngsters are at the ICC Europe Centre of Excellence in Spain for a week’s intensive training by top international coaches. They are Matty Ansell and Jack Newbury who are accompanied by IOM coach Mike Hebdon.
The programme includes fielding and fitness training, batting and bowling skills, net sessions, video analysis and one to one player feedback sessions.
The Island squad have been training hard all winter for the ICC Europe Division Two tournament which goes ahead on Corfu in September. Twelve sides are taking part and the winner will be promoted to Division One. The bottom nation goes down to Division Three.
The line-up looks formidable with strong opposition expected from Croatia, Israel, Spain, Portugal, Malta and home nation Greece. The games will be Twenty20 with each nation often playing twice a day in temperatures likely to be well over thirty degrees.
The Island Under 17 side fly to Denmark towards the end of July for the European Division Two tournament. In a break from tradition, the ICC have decided only three nations are strong enough to compete at this level – Denmark, Italy and the Isle of Man.
The first two countries are ICC Associate members while the Island is in the lower Affiliates class. The teams will play each other in fifty over games and Twenty20 matches.
So the scene is set for what should be a memorable season. The opening fixtures are on Saturday in the Standard Bank Premiership with the top encounter at Mullen-e-Cloie where defending champions St John’s take on their dangerous northern rivals, Ramsey.
At Tromode Cronkbourne are at home to Castletown, while Crosby make their annual pre-season tour – this time to Cheshire. All we need now is for the weather to behave!
© Isle of Man Cricket Association & CricketEurope