Cricket was started in Slovenia in the small town of Mezica near the Austrian border in 1974 by Borut Cegovnik. The 13 year-old had learned the game in England when staying with a pen-friend and encouraged by his friend’s father and some second-hand equipment gave the game its first foothold in the region.
He managed to get as many as twenty-four of his friends interested and they played regularly amongst themselves until 1982 when they moved to Ljubljana to further their careers.
Ljubljana Cricket Club was not formed until 1997 when a team of expatriates and one Slovene came together to answer a request from the Royal Hague Cricket Club in the Netherlands for a fixture during an East European Tour.
The club increased its playing strength, recruiting expatriates from England and Canada, as well as some of the native Slovenes from Mezica. After two years playing friendly matches against teams from Austria and Italy, the club entered the Austrian League in 1999.
The first internationals were played in 2000 in the ECC Representative Trophy Festival in Vienna where they beat Finland thanks to 90 not out from Mark Oman, but lost to Austria, Croatia and Norway, with Oman making two further fifties. The squad and their pen pics for the tournament were as follows:
- Damir Alidzanovic: Right-arm medium bowler. Capable of producing devastatingly unplayable bounce and swing, or 12-ball overs. Elegant stance. Favourite shot: playing and missing.
- Urban Blaznik: Right-arm medium bowler. Effective if ungainly bowler who always seems to get among the wickets. Big throw from the boundary. Favourite shot: front foot drive, whatever the delivery.
- Greg Davies: Wicket-keeper and batsman. Graceful, athletic cricketer admired and respected by his team-mates (in his dreams). Favourite shot: 9 iron hoik across the line.
- Brad Eve: Right-arm fast bowler. Very mean and always targets one of the opposition as "mine". And usually gets him. Accomplished dispatcher of Fray Bentos bowling. Favourite shot: graceful pirouette to hook a six (or get bowled on leg stump).
- Steve Fish: Right-arm medium bowler. Always bowls a couple of good deliveries in every match. Excellent fielder with safe hands, though usually chooses to catch one-handed. Favourite shot: premeditated dance down the wicket.
- Scott Geldart: Opening batsman and slow-medium right-arm bowler. Combative, well-rounded cricketer and accomplished sledger. Builds his innings cautiously. Favourite shot: late cut.
- Daniel Herakovic: Recently converted to cricket from ice hockey. Determined to hold onto a catch, one day. Favourite shot: wahay!
- Mark Oman Fast bowler. Highly competitive Australian Slovene. Likes to soften up the opposing batsmen. Very tough to dislodge from the crease. Favourite shot: forward defensive prod, no run.
- Dan Ryan Left-arm medium quickie. Complains, with some justification, of being the most "dropped" bowler in Slovenia. Big-swinging, big-hitting batsman who scores quickly if he can stay at the crease. Favourite shot: full toss lobbed straight to nearest fielder.
- Joel Smith Off-spinner. Accurate slow bowler and good close fielder. A reluctant but sometimes effective cricketer. Favourite shot: prefers not to bat.
- Paul Townend Batsman. Stylish late-order batsman, despite his Yorkshire origins. Occasionally allowed to bowl. Favourite shot: straight drive.
The 2002 Festival was held in Zagreb, Croatia and only featured three teams with Slovenia losing by 9 wickets to Finland but beating the hosts thanks to three wickets apiece from Bradley Eve and Oman.
They hosted the 2004 tournament where they finished fourth out of six teams, with wins over Luxembourg and Bulgaria, but were beaten by Finland, Switzerland and Croatia. Highlights included a five wicket haul for Steve Mayland, who topped the bowling charts for the tournament, against Bulgaria and a half century for Rob Crawford in the win against Luxembourg.
Their squad was as follows: Mark Oman (Captain), Tom Furness, Daniel Ryan, Urban Blaznik, Borut Egovnik, Egon Jakofi, Damir Alidanovi, Greg Davies, Lalantha Karunatilake, Brad Eve, Steve Mayland, Rob Crawford, Botjan Egovnik. Manager: Chris Bishop.
They were granted Affiliate status by ICC in 2005 and the following year took part in the ICC Europe Division Four tournament in Belgium, where they finished bottom in the four-team event losing to Cyprus and Finland, but gained a consolation seven-run win against Luxembourg thanks for Brad Eve’s excellent four wickets for just five runs.
They were back in Division Four for the 2009 event but their fortunes didn’t improve as they lost all five games against the hosts, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg and Finland.
They co-hosted the 2011 Division Three tournament with Austria and managed a better showing winning two matches, and losing three to finish third. They opened with a ten wicket against Turkey – three wickets for Oman, but were then beaten by Estonia and tournament winners Sweden despite Tom Furness making 35 not out. They finished with a six-wicket win over Bulgaria and a loss to the Czech Republic. Their chase was hampered by an ultra-cautious approach by Mark Oman who seemed determined to secure the points he needed to collect the MVP Award – taking 52 balls to make 37.
Their final European tournament to date came in 2012 when they played in a three team competition in Division Three in Tallinn, where they finished second behind the hosts Estonia, and ahead of Bulgaria winning and losing two matches. The tournament was memorable for the appearance by Shane Warne and his girlfriend Liz Hurley, while on the field Chris Bishop’s half century was the highlight, as was the appearance of three brothers in an international tournament with Domen, Rok and Grega Bohinc all in the side.
The national side have more or less vanished into the ether ever since, making only sporadic appearances – in a Continental Cup match in Romania in 2013, and in Serbia in 2016, when their U15 side also played.
League cricket continues in the country, but despite being granted Associate status in 2017, they have yet to play a T20 International.
This article was written by Roy Morgan in 2006 and has been updated by CricketEurope.
|Slovenia at International Tournaments|
|View Tournament||2012 European Division 3 (Tallinn, Estonia))|
|View Tournament||2011 European Division 3 (Slovenia & Austria)|
|View Tournament||2009 European Division 4 (Cyprus)|
|View Tournament||2006 European Division 4 (Belgium)|
|View Tournament||2004 ECC Representative Festival (Ljubljana, Slovenia)|
|View Tournament||2002 ECC Representative Festival (Zagreb, Croatia)|
|View Tournament||2000 European Representative Festival (Vienna)|