The Czech Eagles (national developmental team) tour to Romania was a great success, with a squad largely made up of Czech players performing at a decent level.
Openers Wojtek Kedzior (left) and Mik Starý, ready to lead the chase (photo: Chris Pearce)
On Saturday the Eagles played opposition team the Romanian Bears in a 30-over match. The Bears batted first and racked up 168, with two wickets apiece for Lukáš, Oliver and Gary.
The Eagles recovered well from a shaky start to win by five wickets. Mik Starý led the way with 51, while team manager Chris Pearce brought them home with an unbeaten 50.
The teams went on to play two T20 games on Sunday. The morning game went to the Bears on the final wicket with the second-last ball, before the Eagles took the decider with a commanding 43-run victory.
Romania 168-9 (30ovs; L Fencl 2-21, G Pettman 2-25, O Matoušek 2-30, B Souček 2-31)
Eagles 170-5 (25.3ovs; M Starý 51, C Pearce 51*)
Eagles won by 5 wickets
Eagles 140-6 (20ovs; C Pearce 43, V Haša 19)
Romania 144-9 (19.5ovs; D Hudeček 3-16, G Pettman 2-34)
Romania won by one wicket
Eagles 166-4 (20ovs; L Fencl 68*, C Pearce 48*)
Romania 123 all out (20ovs; D Hudeček 3-11, L Fencl 2-18)
Budějovice batting against Barbarians (photo: Iryna Perrett)
In Prague, weather prevented action on Sunday, but Saturday saw the first visit of the year from the České Budějovice Barracudas. Barbarians claimed the victory by 31 runs, but cricket was certainly the winner, with a healthy amount of the Barracudas playing their first ever outdoor hardball match.
Prior to the tour, the following announcement revealed the squad and details:
We're delighted to share our Czech Eagles developmental squad that will travel to Bucharest, Romania at the end of June.
Dany Hudeček (Captain, Prague Barbarians CC)
Lukaš Fencl (Vinohrady CC)
Vojta Haša (Vinohrady CC)
Adam Holub (Bohemian CC Prague)
Wojtek Kedzior (Prague CC)
Oliver Matoušek (Prague CC)
Chris Pearce (Manager, Vinohrady CC)
Gary Pettman (Prague Barbarians CC)
Mik Starý (Vinohrady CC)
Michal Tavlaridis (Vinohrady CC)
Filip Tejmar (Prague CC) - note: Fil broke his hand one week prior to the tour, with Ben Souček of Vinohrady CC stepping in at the last minute - thanks Ben!
Eagles team manager Chris Pearce shared: "To build a sustainably strong Czech National Team, it is important to provide a pathway for young and native Czech players towards international cricket. This tour to Romania is the second Czech Development (Eagles) Team international tour, and it originated from Development Officer and Eagles team captain Dany Hudeček's attendance at the ICC European Conference in Bologna back in late 2013.
"After discussions with Cricket Romania's CEO, Rangam Mitra, it was evident that Czech Cricket and Cricket Romania have similar ambitions to allow their native players an opportunity to represent their country and a pathway to the national team.
"Whilst we're obviously hoping to have a successful tour, the whole experience of an international cricket tour, from the pre-trip training programme to acclimatisation to foreign playing conditions will be something new for a large number of the squad, and I think we're all looking forward to the experience."