The 2019 CCA #MoneyGram T20 Cup begins this weekend. The event, organised by the Cyprus Cricket Association, has been running for a number of years and always attracts keen competition from the island’s enthusiastic players.
This season there are 13 teams participating – five from Nicosia, two from Larnaca district, and six from the Limassol area. Most are civilian teams and two are from the British Bases. Games will be played at Episkopi, Ypsonas and Dhekelia.
The timing of the cricket seasons in Cyprus is different from, for example, the UK, where cricket is definitely a summer sport. The Cyprus climate dictates that serious competition takes place between September and early December, and after a winter break, again from March to June.
Readers may not be aware that, worldwide, cricket is the number two sport, behind only football in popularity. It has a huge following in many countries, although in Cyprus it has some way to go to reach the same level of participation as in India, for example.
The 13 competing teams have been split into two groups, based on previous performances. Teams will play all other teams in their group, and the top two will progress to the semi-final stage, followed by the final on December 15 to decide who are the champions.
Pool one includes the always-strong Sri Lankans CC, who are rarely out of the top two and boasted the two leading batsmen and all-rounders in the Spring League. Their captain, Dilan Madhusanka, will not be satisfied with the runners-up position that they achieved last time, and will be hoping to go one better this season.
They will face a challenge from two other teams from the capital – Nicosia Tigers, who are growing in strength, and new boys Nicosia XI Fighters – as well as Amdocs and CTL College from Limassol, and RAF Akrotiri, who can be quite formidable when they are able to field their best side.
In pool two the strongest looking team appears to be the current T10 champions Punjab Lions, who boast some big hitters in their powerful batting line-up. Their main challenge could come from Nicosia-based Riyaan CC, a new team containing some familiar faces including Shoaib Ahmed, and from Moufflons, one of the oldest clubs in Cyprus, who are led by the Cyprus national team captain Muhammad Husain.
Also in this group are the unpredictable Sri Lanka Lions and the re-formed Gladiators, both from Limassol, as well as two teams from the eastern end of the island – ESBA (Dhekelia) and Eastern Cyprus CC, based at Paralimni.
Altogether 39 matches are scheduled to be played over the next 12 weeks in what promises to be an exciting season of T20 cricket.
The future of cricket is vitally important, and coaching for young players aged 6-15 starts this Saturday, September 28, near Limassol. For details please contact firstname.lastname@example.org