The 15th year of the popular Austria Cricket Club Wien Future Schools Cup took place on 6th/7th June at the Austria Cricket Stadium in Vienna. In two days, 5,715 runs were scored by the 92 young players from over 10 different clubs and schools from Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic and Austria, playing in 38 matches – all of which are records to date – on three pitches and in glorious sunshine!
For the last few years, the tournament has focused on the younger, less experienced players and particularly on schools development – with over 90 kids
aged between 5 and 14 taking part in a five team hardball (42 players) and an eight team softball (50 players) competition.
Regular visitors and friends from Munich and Velden, CCV91 were there, and in addition there were new teams – the Bat and Ball club from Budapest, Hungary, the Czech Republic U13 team and an U11 school based team trained by Cricketers Cricket Club, Vienna. It was great to have these teams taking part and they both fitted in whilst also adding to the event. Particularly pleasing was the success of the school based teams – CCC and the Vienna Bilingual School team, which is trained regularly by ACCW and SNASY, and has been softball champions for the last 2 years. In addition, cricketers from SLCC, PCC and UNCC joined the hosts, ACC, as part of the SNASY ACADEMY and SNASY Masters programs. And also pleasing, was the so named Central Europe Girls team made up of 9 players from Vienna, Prague and Munich playing together for the first time – 5 of whom were playing in their first ever tournament!
The softball competition, for younger less experienced players, showed a dramatic improvement in the quality of cricket being played over the two days, while the hardball version was most memorable for the many close matches being decided on the last ball of the allotted overs!
The perennial goals of the event were that the players should meet new and old friends, play a good level of competitive cricket, gain match practice and have fun! Through these goals are delivered the key objective – the development of players, both on and off the field. Having been involved in the tournament now for seven years, this development can be clearly seen – both in terms of the quality of the cricket being played by the teams, the number of players taking part and the performances of individuals.
Players found themselves playing not only for their own team, but also helping other teams whose numbers were lower – and this further promoted the great spirit and the positive and respectful behaviours seen. One experienced senior umpire from Hungary said “such a pleasant change to umpire without the tantrums and whining… not a single word of complaint all day”. The keenness of the players was a pleasure to see – the willingness to play for any side as long as it meant more cricket. Feedback from the young players, coaches and parents would suggest that the goals were again achieved – particularly the fun!
As ever, the support of the umpires, scorers, officers, coaches (Mike Kwan, Eric Holmes, Scot Page, Thomas Puehringer, Andrew Leckonby, Anish Gupta, Walter Blaschke, Marcus Rigler, Andrea Mae Zepeda, Taki Rezai), players and, importantly, parents of the clubs was vital to its success and the whole event was supported practically and financially by the SNASY Institute and the Austrian Cricket Association. I would like again to thank them all for their contributions – and particularly to Austria Cricket Club Wien for hosting another great Future Schools Cup
(Report by Matt Toogood, Tournament Director and Director of Cricket, SNASY)