ICC World Cricket League Div 5 South Africa 2017

There had been rumours that the eight-team competition would be held in either Jersey or the Netherlands, but the ICC have opted for South Africa due to the ease of obtaining visas. Benoni is 40km east of Johannesburg and one of its grounds, Willowmoore Park, has previously hosted one-day international fixtures.

It has come as a surprise to some, especially with four European nations being involved, but Guernsey Cricket Board chief executive officer Mark Latter is not one of those. ‘Because of the problems that Saudi Arabia had in getting visas for the tournament in Essex a couple of years ago and the fact they are in it again this time, it is not too surprising,’ he said. ‘It will be right at the start of the South African summer so we are not too sure what to expect weather-wise, but the pitches should be pretty reasonable at that time of the year. In terms of the timing, it is what we planned for and is better for us than playing in February in Malaysia like in the past because our players will have a season under their belts.’

Guernsey are joined by Jersey, Vanuatu (East Asia Pacific), Italy, Cayman Islands (Americas), Ghana (Africa), Qatar (Asia) and Germany from Europe, the competition from Sunday 3 to Saturday 9 September. It will be played across two round-robin groups of four, with the top two from each qualifying for the semi-finals. The Europe qualifier was between Austria, Germany, France, Belgium, Norway and Sweden in Holland.

Last year, Guernsey defeated Vanuatu in the third-place play-off to preserve their Division Five status, with the finalists being promoted and the other five sides relegated back to regional competition.

Willowmoore Park, home of Easterns Cricket, was founded by English Miners in 1924 with the name derived from the willow trees that surrounded the ground and the moor that is present at the back of the ground.

One of the new international venues on the South Africa cricketing calendar was also the ground that Denis Compton the famous English cricketer scored 300 runs in 181 minutes in a game between England and North Eastern Transvaal in 1948.

willowmoore park

Willowmoore Park, Benoni                                 ICC

Upgrades to the ground has radically changed its appearance from the old to the modern. A new world class players facility, new seating facilities (capacity now 20,000), a four-story Media Centre, a LED electronic scoreboard and various spectator facility improvements has enhanced the comfort of both players and spectators. A state of the art new sub-surface and ring drainage has been installed on the playing surface and three additional pitches have been laid to improve consistency.

 

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