Belfast’s CIYMS set off in search of European glory

27 August 2022; John Matchett of CIYMS during the Clear Currency Irish Senior Cup Final match between Lisburn and CIYMS at Bready Cricket Club in Bready, Tyrone. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

(Cricket news) 2022 Clear Currency All-Ireland T20 Cup winners CIYMS depart today for Malaga in southern Spain to take part in the 2023 European Cricket League (ECL) as Irish cricket’s representative club – and captain John Matchett says the excitement for this adventure has been building nicely.

With up to seven T10 matches scheduled to be played over the next three days, the Belfast-based club will be hoping to win through the first round and into Championship Week, starting on Monday 20 March.

The ECL is a T10 competition played at the Cartama Oval in Malaga, featuring 30 teams from across Europe in six groups of five teams.

CIYMS have been drawn in Group F, alongside Ariana KIF (Sweden), Oerias (Portugal), Istanbul KSK (Turkey), and Punjab Lions Nicosia (Cyprus).

All teams will play four games in the group stages. Four teams qualify to the next stage, with the fourth-placed side playing the third-placed team in Eliminator One. The winner moves on to Qualifier Two. In Qualifier One, first and second in the group face off against each other, with the winner moving into the final, while the loser faces the winner of Eliminator One for the chance to meet the winner of Qualifier One in the final.

It’s a massive week for the club, heading overseas to represent both CIYMS and Irish cricket, and club captain John Matchett is really looking forward to the challenge ahead:

“There will obviously still be some cobwebs when we get out there but hopefully, we can hit the ground running. The boys are really excited for it. Training has gone well. We started training in October and have had a good six weeks since Christmas.

“We had qualified for the ECL in 2019 and 2020 but it didn’t go ahead due to Covid, so the excitement has been building since then! The format of the tournament means that only one team from each group go through so hopefully we can find our feet early on and get through the group and then challenge in Championship Week.”

There have been some changes to the squad for 2023, with Nigel Jones and Keith Dudgeon departing and Ross and Mark Adair currently away on international duty, so some younger members of the squad get a chance to make names for themselves in this unique competition:

“It’ll be a great experience for the young guys we have going out, and it will be a good opportunity for them to put their hand up for selection come the start of the year.

“We have Adam Kennedy who has been bowling well with the Knights over the winter and bowling with good pace. Angus Farrell improved a great deal with his off-spin last year and will be hard to hit in Spain. We also have Adam Heasley, and Ollie Topping, two talented young batters coming who will hopefully take a lot of learnings from the tour.”

Both Matchett and Carson McCullough have some experience of T10 cricket, having been part of the Ireland Academy side that played in the European Cricket Championship last September. So, what can he take from that experience?

“I think having some experience of the approach other teams are likely to take in a T10 tournament will be the most beneficial thing, especially in terms of setting fields and bowling plans. It’s very different to what we are used to so hopefully we can adapt quickly.

“It will be a challenge as despite it being only 10 overs the games are quite intense. Equally if you can get on a bit of a roll the games coming thick and fast can be good and you can build a bit of momentum.”

How nice would it be to start the season off with a European trophy?

“It would be great to add to last year’s trophy haul. It’s a rare opportunity for some European silverware so it would be a nice bit of history to bring back to CIYMS.”

CIYMS get their campaign underway with a game against Ariana KIF of Sweden tomorrow morning, Thursday 16 March at 10.30am (Ireland time).


Adam Heasley, Adam Kennedy, Allen Coulter, Angus Farrell, Carson McCullough, Chris Robinson, Christopher Dougherty, Jack Beattie, Jacob Mulder, Jason van der Merwe, John Matchett (capt), Mark Best, Oliver Topping.


16 March: CIYMS v Ariana KIF (10.30am Ireland time)

16 March: CIYMS v Oeiras (2.30pm Ireland time)

17 March: CIYMS v Istanbul KSK (12.30pm Ireland time)

17 March: CIYMS v Punjab Lions Nicosia (6.30pm Ireland time)

18 March: Eliminator 1, Qualifiers 1&2 plus Final.

Also read: India to take on Australia in the 1st ODI at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai


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