Cricket Ireland has joined forces with Cricket Scotland and La Manga Club in a ten-year deal to create a European Cricket Performance Centre in La Manga: the first of its kind in Europe.
Notts Sport were welcomed on board to facilitate the state of the art Performance Centre in Spain, designing six new first-class grass pitches, and two artificial wickets on two existing grounds; plus 18 grass and five artificial net lanes with 25 yard run ups. In addition, specialist grass fielding, catching and wicket-keeping areas are also being created.
Scott Hawkins, Head Groundsman at La Manga Club, worked with Notts Sport throughout, and has also been able to play on the new ‘D’ System surface, as a club player:
“It plays very similarly to natural turf. It’s a good resemblance of what you would play on a natural turf pitch environment: you do get pace and bounce and a lot more consistency. It’s easy to go from the natural turf to the artificial.”
“The practice facility is a good training aid because you do get confidence from knowing
it’s going to be consistent, and also the knowledge that it’s going to resemble what you go
and play on in a match environment. Everyone that’s been here to train on this – whether it’s been club or international cricketers have benefited from playing on this surface, and have been enjoying how good the quality is. They’re making individual improvements as well as team benefits at the same time.”
Since completion in early 2017, David Moore, La Manga Cricket Club President has seen
much activity within the new facility: “Club players and our juniors had first use of the nets in March 2017, all of whom were very impressed. The batsmen were happy with the bounce and being able to attack the ball.”
“We have had a very full programme of cricket in April, with our Classic T20, Last Man
Standing European Open, UK Schools Tournament and Madrid Cricket Club T20. The
artificial pitches played extremely well with all competing teams complimenting the new
facilities. We as the home club are extremely impressed with the new facilities, and can now watch professional and international players training on a regular basis.”
Under the terms of the partnership, Cricket Ireland and Cricket Scotland will have exclusive booking options for using the centre as a warm weather training and playing base for its men’s and women’s national and provincial senior and youth teams.