GROUNDS FOR OPTIMISM
There is lot going on down Grand Duchy way – cricket wise that is.
Fixtures for men’s national team have been partly finalised and first they are expected to play in a bilateral series against Switzerland at home and then travelling to Malta to compete in the Valetta Cup from 11 to 17 July in ICC approved international tournaments/matches.
In October they will also participate in ECN T10 in Malaga. Joost Mees and Vikram Vijh have been announced as captain and vice captain respectively for men’s’ national team and Ed Packard and Jatin Madan as captain and vice captain for men’s national A team for this season.
The pool of players eligible to play for the national team has increased to approximately 50 players due to the increased popularity of the game within the country.
The domestic T20 league has expanded to two Divisions, 1 and 2, with five teams in Division 1 and six teams in Division 2. Some clubs can now field two teams and in the case of Star CC, three teams.
Optimists CC 1sts and 2nds compete in Divisions 2 and 3 of the Belgium League (50 over ODI rules) on a home and away basis.
Star CC having won the domestic Pete Mitchel Cup represented Luxembourg in the recent T10 European Cricket League in Malaga competing against teams from Rome (Italy), Bucharest (Romania), Zagreb (Croatia) and Sporting Alfas (Spain).
Women’s cricket is growing apace and has been transformed over the last 18 months. The ratio of female to male cricketers is one of the highest in Europe. And in September new ground will be broken when for the first time ever Luxembourg Women will play in an ICC recognised international T20 tournament in Corfu featuring teams from Serbia, Romania and Greece. And in another first, an all womens team competed in the 2022/23 Indoor League.
Speaking of Indoor cricket, there is a vibrant scene during the off season and clearly is a reason for the overall development of the game in Luxembourg. As in the Outdoor League there are two Indoor Divisions, 1 and 2.
The governing body (LCF) report on their Facebook page
“2022/23 featured more players than ever (195 of which 16 were women and 12 aged under 17) more teams, more competitions, more excitement, more cricket.”
Indoor League action
On the youth front Luxembourg recently hosted Switzerland and Belgium in its first ever International Junior Tournament (Under 15). In March, the Under 13 national team travelled to Basel, Switzerland to compete in an indoor tournament.
The Juniors program is growing in numbers, more than ever before, with 120 registered players between 5 and 15 years old. In addition to all year round training and away tournaments for our Juniors, a key LCF highlight will be hosting the annual Tri-Nation outdoor hard-ball U13s event between Luxembourg, Swiss and Belgium teams.
The over 40’s (Griffin CC) venture abroad annually.
Lot going on but there is a problemo!
Which is that effectively there is only one ground in the Grand Duchy namely the Pierre Warner Cricket Ground in Walferdange, Central Luxembourg. And thus, all Outdoor cricket, International, Mens (including Belgium League home fixtures), Womens, Youth and friendlies are played on the mat at Walferdange.
During high summer sometimes there are three T20 games featuring six teams played on a weekend day. And the kids will play in the early morning.
Truth is there is a dire need for another ground or two in the Grand Duchy.
Pierre Warner Cricket Ground
Due to the increased profile of cricket in Luxembourg, including exposure on the airwaves of national broadcaster RTL, a number of communes (local authorities) are now looking at the possibility of providing playing facilities. Nothing definite to date but there are grounds for optimism!
Brian Gilmore 2023