When thinking about Ibiza, images of sun, sea and clubs come to mind, but cricket? Hardly, but thanks to a small group of enthusiastic cricket lovers and British residents, friendly matches were played against touring sides from the UK (such as the Jack Hyams XI) in the early 1980s at the parched goat patch popularly called the “Es Canar Oval”. Eventually, this regular group of players, led by Desmond King and Roy Charlton decided to establish the Ibiza Cricket Club officially in 1986, appropriately sharing some beers at the well known Sandy’s bar in Santa Eularia.
Beer and cricket go well together, as all cricket fans know, and this sociable side of the club has been maintained by playing and non playing members, while mixing with visiting clubs from Mallorca and Menorca, Spain, notably Sporting Alfas and La Manga C.C., as well as village cricket clubs from the UK. Extra publicity was given to the club when appearing on the popular Saturday Sky Sports programme “Cricket a.m.”in 2012, helping the fixtures calendar to regularly total 18-20 friendly matches per season.
Given the seasonality of Ibiza and peak summer months, the cricket season usually runs through April to early June, and then again from mid September to early November. The high point each year is the annual Balearic cup played each year against Mallorca and Menorca in May, and this tradition has been maintained for over 20 years. Mallorca, being the biggest island with the largest group of cricket players to choose from, has usually dominated this competition, but Menorca has won the cup several times too, and Ibiza have also surprised both their larger neighbours in 1987, 2007 and 2013.
The annual cricket season ends with the traditional tour to the Spanish mainland to play against Sporting Alfas C.C.(near Benidorm) for the Andrew Bond cup. This trip is now in its 23rd year, and is more about meeting up socially with cricket lovers in Spain and from the UK, than actually about playing cricket! Nevertheless, Ibiza have at times managed to be competitive in this fixture and even won the cup once in 2011 against one of the best cricket teams in Spain.
So, now that we’re thinking about cricket, how about coming to visit us for a friendly game and lots of beers, naturally!