Cricketers ‘excellent ambassadors’

Martin Eede presents a pennant to Prakash Mishra the Bulgarian captain.
Martin Eede presents a pennant to Prakash Mishra the Bulgarian captain.

Yapham’s cricketers were ‘Excellent ambassadors’, so said Professor Nikolay Korlev, chairman of the Bulgarian Cricket Federation, after Yapham Cricket Club’s tour to Bulgaria. “We would like to invite them back to both play and coach in Bulgaria again next year”, he said.

The tour started with an intense coaching day at the National Sports Academy in Sofia that involved Yaphams five coaches and all the teams’ players. Over 80 people attended the day ranging from Bulgarian schoolchildren who had never played before, young players from the Sports Academy and the women’s international teams from FYRO Macedonia, Greece and Bulgaria. The trip coincided with the second Balkan Women’s T20 competition with the teams making use of the additional coaching available.

The T-shirts and caps, donated by the YCB, were eagerly sought after by all the participants.

In the match between Yapham and the Bulgarian side Yapham batted first on the unfamiliar carpet wicket but made 165 – 6 from a rain foreshortened 25 over game. Martin Pearson made an entertaining 47 before being one of Nikolai Ivanov’s three wickets.

In reply Bulgaria opened brightly with their two experienced openers up with the run chase; however Jon Flint, Stuart Wainright and Jason Nattrass gradually worked their way through the batting line-up and when Carl Brewer took the last wicket Bulgaria had subsided to 96 all out.

The trip was an eye opener for the Yapham side as few realised the potential for cricket in the Balkans. The trip has benefited everyone concerned as players have had to adapt to different environments and the coaches have had to work with players from beginners to internationals whose main language is not English.

With invitations to return to Bulgaria and to play and coach in Greece the Yapham club will have another interesting season in 2016.

If other clubs would like more information about playing in Bulgaria please contact Martin Eede at martinhighridge174@talktalk.net