Hosts Greece took the inaugural International Cricket Council’s European Division 5 championship at the picturesque Marina Ground at Gouvia on Saturday, completing a comfortable seven-wicket victory over the Czech Republic to retain their unbeaten record in the tournament.
It was another convincing performance by the Greeks, after their opponents got off to a solid start after winning the toss.
Scott Page and John Corness putting on 48 before Mehmood Ahmed was brought into the attack and claimed the wicket of Corness in his first over.
Mikulas Stary soon followed, but Page again displayed great tenacity in seeing the total through to 107 before he was fifth out for a well made, 112-ball 40, the second of three wickets for Anastasios Manousis, at a cost of 21 runs.
Then, as the Czechs crumbled, Dimitris Triantafillidis came back to claim three for 21 as well, while when Mehmood removed Craig Hampson to end the innings with the total on 133 he too ended with the same figures.
The Greek catching was again of a very high standard, with Stamatis Giourgas taking three including a fine running effort on the midwicket boundary to dismiss the dangerous Arif Javed.
There was time for Hellas to face six overs before lunch, but during the last of them Ahmed drove a Ben Soucek delivery to Robin Smith at short midwicket, and he took a sharp diving catch.
Chris Lagos and Imran Haider batted purposefully after the interval, putting on 58 for the second wicket, and it was not until Lawrence Acheson came into the attack that the Czechs were able to secure another breakthrough, Lagos going caught behind for 26.
Iordan Kontarinis now joined Haider, who became a second victim for Acheson when Page took a fine running catch at midwicket. Haider had made 37 from 50 deliveries, with seven boundaries.
But only 25 were now needed with plenty of overs left and Kontarinis and Manousis reached their target comfortably enough, the winning runs coming – inevitably, perhaps – in the form of wides.
It was an emotional occasion for Greek skipper Costas Vassilas, whose farewell match it was. He was given a guard of honour by his team at the start, and chaired from the field at the end.