The final day of Europe Division 2 ended yesterday in Stockholm with Sweden and Germany promoted, the latter as champions.
With the ground at Skarpnack waterlogged, it initially seemed that the only match to take place would be Spain v Gibraltar at Gardet. That meant that Germany's promotion was secured, whilst a win for Spain would have likely secured their promotion too.
Gibraltar won the toss and chose to bowl first on what was in some ways a historic match between these two sides, who have never met at senior level in any major sport. Spain claims sovereignty over Gibraltar and in football the Euro 2016 qualifying rounds were redrawn when both ended up in the same group to avoid any political incidents. In the lower profile world of European Division 2 cricket though, there were no such problems.
And Gibraltar bowled well, with captain Kieron Ferrary - an air traffic control officer in his day job - taking 5-13 to help bowl Spain out for 94, one ball short of their 20 overs. Former captain Iain Latin - a physio with the Gibraltar national football team - batted well in reply, scoring 41 from 36 balls, but nobody else was able to make a significant contribution and Gibraltar were kept to 87-4 from their 20 overs, losing by 7 runs.
That result initially looked to have confirmed Germany as champions and Spain as being promoted behind them. However confusion reigned, with the twitter accounts of both Germany and Spain even publicly expressing their confusion at what was going on. It was announced that Spain would have to play Germany at Skarpnack after all, even though the German team manager had visited the ground to find it still unfit for play.
It then emerged that an obscure ICC rule said that every team had to play 60% of their games for a tournament result to be valid. With hosts Sweden on three washouts, they had to play one of those washed out matches, with Gardet the venue as that ground was suitable for play.
Their initially scheduled games for the day were against Isle of Man and Israel. However, with Gibraltar already at Gardet, the decision was made to replay that match, which had already been confirmed as abandoned the previous day. With Israel in line for possible promotion had their game against Sweden gone ahead, they have every right to feel aggrieved by the decision to play the Gibraltar game.
So Sweden headed to Gardet to play Gibraltar knowing that they needed to win by a big enough margin to get ahead of Spain on net run rate. Batting first after winning the toss, they started well with an opening partnership of 63 between Bilal Zaigham and Sadat Sidiqi, which ended when Sidiqi was bowled by Adam Orfila, who has travelled with the Gibraltar team as a scorer in the past.
Zaigham scored 58 before he was out, but he was outscored by Usman Arif who clubbed 61 from just 33 balls to help Sweden score 179-6 from their 20 overs. Adam Orfila finished as the pick of the bowlers with 4-22. Arif completed a fine all-round performance by taking 4-12 as Gibraltar were kept to 84-9 from their 20 overs, losing by 95 runs.
That result confirmed Sweden's promotion alongside Germany, whose match against Spain was unsurprisingly abandoned. The two teams will play in the 50 over Division 1 tournament next year against France, Belgium, Norway and Austria.
Spain beat Gibraltar by 7 runs
Gardet, Stockholm, 20 August
Spain 94 (19.5 overs, K Ferrary 5-13)
Gibraltar 87-4 (20 overs, I Latin 41)
Sweden beat Gibraltar by 95 runs
Gardet, Stockholm, 20 August
Sweden 179-6 (20 overs, Usman Arif 61, B Zaigham 58, A Orfila 4-22)
Gibraltar 84-9 (20 overs, Usman Arif 4-12)