Cricket Ireland performance director Richard Holdsworth has paid a glowing tribute to La Manga Club’s European Cricket Performance Centre in helping to prepare the Irish team for the demands of Test cricket, one year on from the opening of the European High Performance Centre.
Ireland made their eagerly-awaited Test debut against Pakistan in May and emerged with huge credit from the game in Dublin, reducing the visitors to 14-3 at one stage in their second innings before eventually succumbing to a five-wicket defeat.
La Manga Club’s facilities include:
- A five-star hotel: Hotel Príncipe Felipe 5*
- Tourist apartments: Las Lomas Village 4*
- Luxury villas
- Three 18-hole golf courses
- A 28-court tennis centre
- Eight FIFA-sized football pitches
- 2,000m2 Wellness Centre
- The resort’s famous La Cala beach and restaurant, overlooking the Mediterranean
- More than 15 bars and restaurants
Ireland have been regular visitors to La Manga Club’s new centre since it opened last spring, taking full advantage of the chance to train under sunny skies, and Holdsworth is full of praise for the role the world-famous resort has played in the development of Ireland’s players across all age groups.
“The facility really is becoming world class and certainly the best I’ve seen in Europe, and with the warm weather, is the ultimate place to play and train for cricket,” said Holdsworth.
“The new grass pitches at the European High Performance Centre are outstanding given how young they are. After just 14 months since they were constructed and seeded, the Ireland Emerging and Senior Academy used both the grass nets and playing strip over the Easter period and were really impressed by the bounce, carry and evenness given they are still very young.
“The additional facilities including artificial nets, Bola bowling machines, fielding areas and high performance gym and pool have given the players the opportunity to gain some important practice and player development ahead of the season.
“Two of those players, Tyrone Kane and Nathan Smith, were subsequently selected for Ireland’s First Test squad against Pakistan, and there is no doubt that their preparation at La Manga Club helped them. Several Ireland squads will be practising and playing in La Manga Club during the year.”
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.
The extensive facilities include six first-class grass pitches and two artificial wickets on two existing grounds, plus 18 grass and five artificial net lanes – all with 25-yard run-ups. In addition, there is also a specialist grass fielding, catching and wicket-keeping areas.
Regularly used for warm-weather training breaks by county and international teams as well as being a regular venue for ICC European tournaments, La Manga Club is widely regarded as the ‘home of cricket’ in Spain, with Northamptonshire the latest county to visit the resort as part of their preparations for the 2018 season.
Boasting an average 300 days’ sun a year, the resort’s ideal Mediterranean climate makes it possible to train outdoors in the sunshine all-year round, and the cricket centre is a further illustration of La Manga Club’s commitment to providing both professional and amateur athletes with the perfect training experience.
Set in 1,400 acres, La Manga Club boasts unrivalled facilities including a High Performance Sports Centre and modern high-altitude training facility iAltitude. Additionally, there are 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.
Having visited La Manga in 2017 for the opening of the Cricket Facilities, I was so impressed that I returned for a family break in the Autumn, which was a huge success, staying at the Las Lomas Village 4* apartments . For active cricketers, there is also a club T20 tournament in October which attracts teams from all over the UK.
It is an excellent sporting destination for clubs and schools for short tours and training, as it is easily accessible from UK airports and other European countries and short drive from Murcia Airport.
For more details on La Manga Club, visit www.lamangaclub.com