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Progress Report

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FAO: Sponsors and supporters of Bulgarian Cricket

I have recently returned from a trip to Sofia to check on the progress made by the national cricket team of Bulgaria.

You may remember that last year New Victoria Cricket Club of Southport in the north west of England became the first team to tour Bulgaria. With the generous support of various individuals and organisations like yourself we were able to take with us a significant amount of cricketing equipment for children and adults to further
encourage the development of the game in the country.

I am very pleased to report that as a direct result of this support there has been significant improvement made.

Firstly, after many years of trying, the Bulgarian Cricket Federation (BCF) has finally received recognition from the International Cricket Council and is now an affiliated member. This will mean invitations to international tournaments and an opportunity to obtain further funding once certain criteria have been met.

One of these criteria is to have a specific cricket ground where international fixtures can be played. I am happy to announce that a plot of land within the National Sports Academy in Sofia has already been earmarked for development and the laying of a cricket pitch should take place at the end of this summer.

Another ICC requirement is to have at least eight cricket teams playing regularly throughout the country. Due to the large amount of equipment donated last year, six teams have now been formed and discussions are taking place with two more interested teams who hope to be up and running by the start of next season.

I was recently invited to take part in the inaugural cricket tournament in Varna, on the Black Sea coast, as part of the annual Varna Day celebrations. This raised awareness of the game in the city and further games between the teams who took part have been scheduled for next year.

Throughout the 2007-2008 season the cricket coaches from Sofia have organised practical events for schoolchildren in the city. The donated cricket sets proved very popular and over 150 children took part in the training sessions. More events are planned for the near future.

Funding has also been found to purchase a bowling machine to help the players of the national team. These are not available in Bulgaria so I am looking at the best way to purchase this and transport it to Sofia.

So in conclusion, I am happy to report that as a direct involvement of supporters like you in the UK the development of cricket in Bulgaria has moved on significantly. A framework is now in place to make sure progress continues over the next five years.

It is now hoped that more home grown players can step up and represent the national team and that more international fixtures can be played. The role of the ICC is crucial in encouraging this and now that Bulgaria is an affiliated member, and with the support and encouragement of its supporters in the UK, the foundation has been laid to bring about the birth of a new cricketing nation.

Owen Jamieson
(New Victoria Cricket Club Tour Organiser)

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