Valencia Sports Tours with the support of Levante CC and Cricket España welcomed 4 cricket clubs from the UK to the city of Valencia for the inaugural Valencia Smash! International T20 Tournament.
Played over 4 days of sunshine from 19 – 22 October, a total of 10 matches took place at the VCG (or as the locals call it, Campo de Beisbol) with sides Cowley Drifters, Freshfields, Herts Vets and West Hagley all making the trip to Valencia.
Day 1 saw West Hagley edge out Freshfields and hosts Levante CC beat Cowley Drifters with the latter of the two matches played under lights, a novelty to the visiting side and maybe just gave hosts Levante a slight advantage.
Day 2 began at 10am with matches all day until 10pm! West Hagley continued their winning streak with a win against Herts Vets under the evening lights, plus a second win for Levante against Freshfields saw both clubs moving ahead of the rest at the end of day 2. Cowley also overcome Freshfields but it was their match against Herts Vets that was the game of the day. Cowley set a record T20 score at the VCG 274, only to be chased down by some rediculous batting by the Vets, setting the new ground record of 279.
Day 3 began with Freshfields posting their first win of the tournament after overcoming Herts Vets who also succumb to a vibrant local team which meant Levante sat top of the table. So it was down to West Hagley and Cowley. Should West Hagley beat the Drifters, they would guaratee their place in the final by finishing in the top two with Levante, however, should Cowley overcome their rivals, they would send West Hagley into the final day needing a result against Levante. It wasn’t to be for Cowley as West Hagley were too strong, however, a great game was blessed with some quality cricket.
Day 4. With both West Hagley and Levante guaranteed the top two spots, their scheduled morning final group game match was cancelled and all eyes were focussed on the final which began at 1pm in the glorious autumn blue skies and sunshine. With Levante winning the toss and selecting to bat, we knew we were in for a competitive match as the two sides looked very equal over the days passed. And the final proved just that! Some excellent bowling from the West Hagley team kept the Levante score down to 168 for 9 from their 20 overs with the only shining light a quality 66 from opening batsman Azah Abbas. As scores over the previous days had suggested, this was going to be a tough task the home side to defend but defend they did. With some stunning batting from opener Hasam who made his 50 before being dismissed by Tariq, caught behind by Morgan. the quality batting of West Hagley edged ever closer to the total but were losing wickets along the way and as a result, their run rate slowing. Unfortunately for West Hagley, they couldn’t maintain the scoring pace and fell just short by 10 runs, making 158 for 9 off their 20 overs, with captain Rowan Pinkerton of Levante taking 3 crucial wickets.
So Levante CC picked up the winners trophy following a passionate and exciting final, with the match a fitting end to a wonderful 4 days of cricket, fun, laughs, plenty of food and certainly beers! In addition awards were shared out as follows –
Best Bowler – Ghulam Ali – West Hagley
Best Batsman – Alex Gotley – Cowley Drifters
Champagne Moment – Adeel Sajid – West Hagley (Bowled hatrick and 4 wickets in 5 balls in the same over)
The SMASH! Award – Harjit Singh (Broke nose on Saturday and came back to play the final Sunday)
Special thanks go to all the players, teams, umpires, scorers, the ground and bar who were open and available for every hour of every day and anyone else who made this an brilliant few days. Until 2018…….