Skipper Britton delighted with European experience

The European Cricket League comes to an end in Malaga this afternoon and after a narrow defeat to Brescia in this morning’s eliminator it’s a fourth place finish for North West and Irish T20 champions Brigade.

The competition reverted to its original 10-over format for Finals Day and the Beechgrove side got off to a flyer batting first against the Italian champions in the 3rd v 4th match, with David Murdock and Graeme McCarter posting a 79-run opening stand in the first 7 overs.

Murdock, who has enjoyed an impressive few days, smashed 5 sixes and 2 fours in his 26-ball 48 while McCarter added 34 from 25 (2 fours, 2 sixes).

Unfortunately for Brigade they were only able to add another 16 runs in the final three overs and that was to be their undoing.

Defending a total of 95, Ryan Macbeth, another player to have caught the eye in this tournament, gave Brigade hope with a wicket in the first over of the reply before a 70-run stand between Ali Raza Islam (41) and Babar Hussain (25) took the game away.

Macbeth came back to claim both set batsmen and finish with brilliant figures of 3-10 but the Italians managed to get over the line with just three balls to spare.

A fourth-placed finish in a tournament where 33 teams started out was some feat for the Waterside club but it was all the more remarkable given the hurdles they had to overcome.

Britton’s men adapted quickly to the T10 format in the qualifying stages, but by the time they arrived in Spain for the finals, so too had the rain. Sitting about for 4 days and then cramming 8 five-over bashes into 48 hours is not something that these clubs would encounter in most weeks.

There was a host of injuries too- skipper Britton, McCarter, and Iftikhar Hussain- another pair to enjoy excellent tournaments- all battling through the pain while Adam McDaid didn’t manage to play at all in the second week.

The Brigade captain though refused to make excuses and speaking after this morning’s game, said it had been an incredible experience.

“We’re disappointed to lose today to be honest- Murdock and McCarter gave us a great start but we got bogged down a bit late on and it probably cost us” he said.

“Finishing fourth best of all the European club champions is still some achievement though. I’d have found that hard to believe if you’d told me this time last year.”

“We’ve enjoyed two great weeks and it was brilliant to have our families and supporters out here with us, There’s a great bunch of lads in this squad and every one of them played their part.”

“You find out a lot about players when you have to learn different skills very quickly. Ifti was probably our outstanding player over the two weeks, Murdock was really good over the last few days, McCarter excellent at the top of the order and Macbeth gives you everything every time he plays no matter what you ask him to do.”

“Even the young lads when they came in- it was a learning experience but they did it and fair play to them.”

“There’s not much time now to get a break before we start to get ready for the new season at home, but we’re looking forward to that now.”

The journey back tomorrow will no doubt be upbeat and there will be plenty of laughs shared, but one thing this tournament really has done and that is put an incredible value on the All-Ireland T20 tournament.

A bit of unexpected rain notwithstanding, this is definitely a prize worth shooting for.

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