Run to a similar format to that of the T10 European Champions League, in which Guernsey’s last two Evening League champions have featured, and at the same Cartama Oval venue in Malaga, the ‘Euros of Cricket’ began in 2021 and this year’s third edition is bigger than ever before with 31 teams participating.
The ECC is played day and night over four weeks and the winners of each of the six groups of five will qualify for Championship Week, joining defending champions Netherlands XI.
For their first time in the event, Guernsey have been drawn in Group B, to be played from 28-30 September.
If they progress, Championship Week is 16-20 October.
‘The opportunity to play T10 cricket in Malaga as a national side is one which is really exciting and the strength of the playing squad we are taking shows how compelling it is from a player perspective,’ said Island selector Rob Thomson, who will be managing the squad in Spain.
‘There’s a lot of ECL experience in the squad with strong representation from both Griffins and Independents and that’s going to be a big help.
‘We’ve purposefully gone heavy with batting as a key difference when both clubs played in the ECL compared to our oppositions was the middle/lower order batters being able to walk out and hit boundaries from ball one. We certainly feel we have that covered in this squad.
‘The T10 format, combined with the Cartama Oval dimensions, are extremely well set up for batters so the variety of seam that Matt Stokes, Luke Bichard and Dave Hooper can bowl, along with Adam Martel and Tom Nightingale able to turn the ball both ways, means we are confident we can mix things up enough with ball in hand to keep batters honest.’
There will be some familiar foes with Guernsey having been drawn in the same group as Jersey.
The Sarnians will also face Bulgaria, Croatia and Belgium.
‘On the whole we’re really happy with the group we’ve been drawn in,’ Thomson said.
‘While we don’t know specifically how they will line up, Jersey will naturally provide extremely tough opposition but at the same time we obviously know them very well.
‘In Bulgaria and Croatia we expect to see lots of the players the Griffins lads played against in ECL22 and for Bulgaria, in particular, they will be very similar to what Guernsey played against last year in the ICC T20 qualifier in Finland.
‘Belgium, who we know the least about, we don’t play until last so we have plenty of opportunities to work them out over their first three games.
‘The boys have had a little bit of time off since the inter-insular but they’ve been back in this week range hitting and working on other specific T10 aspects, and that will continue right up until we leave on 26 September.
‘The competition represents another really good opportunity to showcase the progress we’ve made at national level this year – above all else we’re just really excited to go out there and play plenty of positive cricket and see where it takes us.’
Guernsey squad: Matt Stokes (captain), Luke Bichard, Charlie Birch, Josh Butler, Alex Bushell, Zak Damarell, Ben Fitchet, David Hooper, Nathan Le Tissier, Adam Martel, Ollie Nightingale, Tom Nightingale, Adam Wakeford.