THE HISTORY OF MALAGA CRICKET
The history of Cricket on the Costa del Sol began in the mid 80’s when an expat Brit saw an advert for a touring team from East Anglia wanting to play some pre-season games in warmer climates and the first game was held in March 1985 in Arroyo de la Miel.
From this event the Malaga Cricket Association was formed on 17th August 1986 by Chairman: Mr. Gregory P. Gomez, Treasurer: Mr Norman F. Ross, Secretary; Mr. Thomas G. Samuel, Committee Members: Mr. Ian M. Smith, Mr. Mike Biggs and Mr. Ashok Khiani.
The Clubs operating under this umbrella were Costa del Sol CC (formed in 1985), All Indian CC (formed 1986), Fuengirola CC (formed 1986) and Combined Colleges CC (formed 1986); playing in annual Festivals in both April and November and the Malaga League with representative cricket against Gibraltar Cricket Association.
In less than three full years, the achievements and the momentum in the Province of Malaga alone were impressive and far ahead of all the guidelines set out by the International Cricket Conference, showing that the game had a solid infrastructure. The only stumbling block was
that the Malaga Cricket Association was not a National Governing Authority. Once again Gordon, Ian and Greg set about to address the new directives of the I.C.C in an attempt to achieve International cricketing status for the Kingdom of Spain.
During the Annual 1987 November Festival, a “Steering Committee Meeting” was convened on 25th November for the Official Formation of the Spanish Cricket Association (now known as Asociacion Española de Cricket; A.E.C). On the same day, a first “All Spanish Clubs X1” took
part with players selected from Malaga, Madrid and Ibiza. The initial work for the A.E.C´s Constitution and formation is accredited to Greg Gomez, who reached out and pulled together all the known Cricketing activity scattered throughout Spain (Madrid, Barcelona, Ibiza and
Also, in 1987 Mijas CC, Nerja CC and Sotogrande CC were formed with Mijas CC taking over Fuengirola with Sotogrande CC expanding out from the Combined Colleges CC.In that year, Sotogrande CC became the first Club to have a recognised Cricket Ground, due to the generosity of Mr. Ian Bateman, a landowner, who made the ground available. Mr. Gordon Samuel and his Costa del Sol CC, became the second Club to secure a Cricket Ground when Mr. Samuel negotiated the laying down of a concrete strip at the Torremolinos Beach Club
Hotel, turning that ground from football into cricket.
In 1988 the two festivals (Gordon Samuels Costa Del Sol CC’s April week with the East Anglian’s and Greg Gomez’s Celebrity November week (with Mike Blumberg´s Cricket World Magazine X1) were still going strong and lasted a period of 10 years with the MCA and local clubs also entertaining many visiting teams and the MCA league now Five teams strong..
In 1989, Combined Colleges CC (MCA Champions in 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1990) participated in the Gibraltar League, a first for Spanish Clubs and finished second. They then went on to win the league the following year when they were joined by Sotogrande CC as the second Spanish Club to play in Gibraltar.
1991 brought a third Spanish team to the Gibraltar league in the form of Mijas/Costa CC (a combination of Mijas CC and Costa del Sol CC), with Combined Colleges CC again the eventual Winners.
The 1992 season then saw Combined Colleges emerge as winners of the Malaga league and “The Spanish Clubs Championship” making them the most successful Club in Spain, by virtue of having won every Trophy at stake. This continued success was made possible due to the
administration capabilities of Mr. Clive Woodbridge (who took over the reins from Greg Gomez).
That same year came the arrival of the original Cartama Oval, which was provided by Mr. Mike Symons, and described as the most picturesque ground in Europe. It was visited by many overseas teams including the MCC while it was open and it looked as if Cricket had taken serious root in the region.
By 1993 Malaga had gained a new team in Marbella CC but lost the All Indian CC, keeping the total at teams at five. Marbella CC (who also had for a short time a ground in the Marbella area) kept the Malaga flag flying by winning the Spanish Clubs Championships in 1994.
With the losses of Mr. Gordon Samuel and Mr. Ian Smith (retiring), Mr. Chris Box-Grainger (ill health to UK), Mr. Greg Gomez (to Oil work in Scotland), and Mr. Clive Woodbridge (relocation to Alicante from the
Malaga region), cricket in the region began to suffer and the clubs were finding it increasingly difficult to put out full teams. The ground in Torremolinos was given up to a housing development. The ground in Sotogrande was swallowed up by the new “Euro” Road construction programme and when in March 2000 the ground in Cartama was sold; Cricket in Malaga was now in something of a crisis.
From the year 2000 until November 2003 no cricket was played in Malaga but under the organisational efforts of Mr. Allan Dens, Mr. Mike Smyth, Mr. Fernando Shard and Mr. Steve White, a group of Cricketers formally from the original Clubs (Combined Colleges and Marbella CC) and some new recruits the game was rekindled with competition in the Gibraltar League under the team names of Malaga CC and Combined Colleges for five seasons.
During this time there was still a lack of cricket in the Malaga region until 2012, when the owner of the new oval ground in Cartama, Mr. David Cooper, was approached by a friend, Mr. Previn Menon to convert a large part of his turf production farmland into a cricket ground. This then became the home of Combined Colleges Cricket Club from Marbella who hosted local Spanish and Touring teams.
A league was eventually organised to include 4 other local sides made up of Fuengirola CC, Mijas CC, Costa del Sol CC and Malaga CC all re-establishing themselves under new regimes, which ran successfully for 2 years before it had to be withdrawn due to an apparent lack of
numbers from almost all the sides. This reduction in players meant the teams merged into smaller numbers with the Costa del Sol Club making up the Crusaders and the Vikings teams while Malaga CC kept their squad largely together with Combined Colleges making up a fourth side, with regular local fixtures played and organised by the Fixtures Secretary, Mr Egan Dantis.
Over the last 2 years, the local games have been weekly but with some added interest from overseas, touring teams through its association with a Sports Tour operator specialising in Sport for Spain, the fixtures are now much more varied.
With more local players joining week by week, the number of members is back on the increase seeing the number of active players now exceeding where they once were with the introduction of two new sides Granada CC and more recently Benalmadena CC, with plans to have games on both pitches each weekend.
Much of this has been largely overseen by the Club President Mr. Jason Wild, who has always looked to provide more variety for all so club members could experience numerous formats of the game adding to the appeal so all ages and abilities have interest in taking part.
A large part of that focus is now on developing the junior scene, as it is considered an integral part of any successful club long term, so Costa del Sol CC is moving into getting more coaches involved locally ongoingly on this into 2021.
It is a credit to these gentlemen that Cricket is still prominent in Malaga and now the local game has stabilised, more interest has come along with it from overseas clubs wanting to come for
weekend tours or take part in T20 tournaments with the club now looking to host the Spanish Southern League organised by Cricket Espana, as well as the upcoming T10 European Cricket
Series and Cricket District tournaments to be streamed online.
The diversity of the club is one of its strengths. It has seen players from South Africans, New Zealanders, Australians, Malaysians, Sri Lankans, Indians, Pakistani’s, Bangladeshi’s British, Irish, Gibraltarians and many more besides that all feature at the ground, with many
opportunities for all ages, both competitive and social, covering all abilities within the game.
The family atmosphere makes Costa del Sol Cricket Club a welcome place to enjoy a day’s cricket, all year round.
Want to Join The Club?
If you are new to the area, or have been living here for years and want to play cricket then please get in contact. Like all clubs, we need members to thrive so we make sure that new members of all ages and abilities are welcomed and encouraged to take part.