The four counties will stage warm-weather training camps at the top sports and leisure venue in March as they put the finishing touches to their preparations for the first round of Specsavers County Championship matches, which begin on April 5.
As well as taking advantage of La Manga Club’s extensive practice facilities during the week-long breaks – organised in conjunction with Sporta Tours and Smile Group Travel – the teams will also have the chance to enjoy some invaluable match practice against first-class opposition with the resort’s new grass pitches now fully bedded in and ready for play.
Hampshire will face Northamptonshire in two 50-over games on March 13 and 14, with Gloucestershire taking on Glamorgan in three similar-length one-day contests later in the month on March 21, 24 and 25.
Giles White, Hampshire’s director of cricket, said: “We are looking forward to going to La Manga Club. I visited the resort in October and was really impressed with what I saw, it’s a fantastic facility and everything suggests it will be a really beneficial visit.
“Each time we go on these trips, they’re relatively short but you want to maximise what you can get out of it in terms of cricket. The practice and playing facilities, accommodation and travel are logistically good and we’ll look to get as much cricket in as we can in that time, ahead of coming back to the Ageas Bowl where hopefully the wickets will be in good shape if we have kind weather in March.
“We’ve currently got a groundsman helping out with the wickets so there’s a nice connection already too. We see this as a future partnership as well as a great place to play some cricket and develop some young cricketers over the winter months moving forward.”
Eduardo Ruiz, general director of sports at La Manga Club, said: “Cricket is set to play an important role in the future development of La Manga Club and we’re thrilled that four counties have chosen the resort to finalise their preparations for the coming season in the first full year since the centre became fully operational.
“The facilities that we have to offer to cricket teams of all levels are second to none, and we’re very excited at the possibilities that lie ahead to promote the resort as a first-class warm-weather training destination to the cricketing world.”
La Manga Club’s European Cricket Performance Centre has been designed to help international teams, counties, schools and colleges, as well as assisting with the development of players and coaches. Its extensive facilities include six first-class grass pitches and two artificial wickets on two existing grounds, plus 23 grass and five artificial net lanes – all with 25-yard run-ups. In addition, there are also specialist grass fielding, catching and wicket-keeping areas.
Also the official overseas training base of the Lawn Tennis Association, La Manga Club’s unrivalled other facilities include three 18-hole golf courses, a 28-court tennis centre and a 2,000sqm Wellness Centre. It also offers the choice of a five-star hotel, four-star serviced apartments and more than 15 bars and restaurants.