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Budapest in the 1990s
A cricket club was formed in Budapest in 1991 and they trained on and off for the whole decade. In April 1996 Dr Padma Gannoruwa started a cricket initiative in Budapest, and led a team comprising both Hungarians and expats against teams from Germany, Austria and even a touring British club. During summer they had weekly cricket practice at the Budapest University Sports Grounds and in winter held indoor cricket coaching camps in the Budapest Sports Stadium. You can read more about this period in an article from July 2000 on ESPN Cricinfo.com.
Genpact, a company containing a number of Indian employees, played one or two matches every year against various teams, including the British Embassy. In 2003, the Brit-Magyar Club in Miskolc was introduced to cricket by a British man and they continued playing for two years.
In September 2006 Andy Grieve introduced cricket at the Comenius High School in Szekesfehervar, where he taught English. The game proved popular and soon training sessions were being held three times per week. The enthusiasm of the Comenius cricketers lead Grieve to create Hungary4cricket.com to find opponents for his team. A meeting was held in Budapest in November 2006 to lay the groundwork for cooperation on a national level - the participants were Andy Grieve, Andrew Leckonby, David Brown, Adolf Noll, and Gyula Kiss.
An open meeting was held in Becketts Irish pub in February, with 15 people in attendance - most people were sceptical about the prospects of cricket, but signed up to play for David Brown's team Dunabogdany CC. Within a few months, there was a formalised league of 6 teams with a combined total of 100 active players. This league commenced on 15 July 2007, following 2 months of friendly fixtures. The organisation of cricket in Hungary was carried out under the name of the Hungarian Cricket Association with an executive board of Andy Grieve, David Brown and Andrew Leckonby. A senior Hungary team took part in the Viennese World Cup 6-a-side tournament and a Hungarian team travelled to Slovenia in September. Junior cricketers were also travelling with Comenius CC organising trips to England, Slovenia and the Czech Republic
2008 brought the arrival of the Danubian Kangaroos, a team made up entirely of native Hungarian players, who went on to win their first match in the league! Touring teams from other countries began to visit Hungary, a trend that has continued since! A native Hungarian team played in Slovakia, and the official Hungarian national XI took part in the Prague International Cricket Cup. The Hungarian girls team took part in the 2nd European Ladies U17 tournament in Germany, and the youth team played in Vienna and Slovenia. Junior cricket was spreading too, with a junior team starting in Szolnok .
The HCA competitions expanded to two divisions in 2009, and the Hungarian national XI has progressed from losing every match in the Euro Twenty20 in 2009, to winning the same title in 2010 and defending it undefeated at home in 2011. Women’s cricket has also grown ever since the first women's cricket match in Hungary in June 2009 against a French team. In 2010, Bat and Ball Junior Cricket Club commenced in Budapest, and now boasts over 70 children aged 5-14, nearly all of whom attend at least one training per week. 2011 brought the final readiness of the GB Oval, a Test-Sized cricket ground that is now the home of Hungarian cricket. All these years brought further action, international tours, and general development at all levels and forms of cricket in Hungary: Mens, Womens, Junior, Native. More details of each of these areas can be seen on www.hungary4cricket.com
With 2 sponsored Leagues (2 divisions), a sponsored T20 Cup, a thriving national team and 2 locations with cricket nets in Budapest to add to the fantastic GB Oval and KAC cricket ground/training facility, cricket in Hungary is booming. Womens’ cricket continues to grow and expand, as signified by the recent creation of the Budapest Ladies Cricket Club and several women and girls playing in the main League competitions. Junior cricket is progressing exceptionally well, with active clubs in Budapest, Szekesfehervar, Szolnok, and Bekescsaba. The 2012 Junior indoor tournament was won by a team consisting entirely of Native Hungarian girls from Bekescsaba. Several junior players are performing well in the 2nd division of the league. A native cricket training for adults is taking place every week, and more and more native players are participating in the Leagues and performing well.
28 June 2012 brought perhaps the most significant mark of progress for Hungarian cricket: official acceptance to the ICC as an Affiliate Member. These are exciting times.
A more detailed description of the history of cricket in Hungary can be read at http://www.hungary4cricket.com/history.html