Return to Obrevonac Refugee Camp. November 2018

Cricket involving Spain, Serbia and Afghanistan? 

That's not a phrase you’re likely to hear very often, but in November those three countries were involved in bringing cricket to a large group of refugees, mainly thanks to Madrid Cricket Club and the NGO Collective Aid, not forgetting those who have generously supported the cause.

Around 600 refugees, mainly from Afghanistan, reside at the Obrevenac refugee centre near Belgrade where they are given food and shelter. Many have lived through hell in their war torn country and have suffered treacherous journeys to find a better life. Our mission was to organise a fun wekend of cricket and leave equipment for them to continue playing after we had left.

On the 1st weekend in November, Jon Woodward and Lewis Clark set off from Madrid, taking even more kit than the previous year, with 20 sturdy wooden bats, 180 balls, a scoreboard, tracksuits, spare grips, bat tape etc. The Serbian authorities that run the camp had given permission to run cricket sessions on the Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and with the weather unusually warm for November, the conditions were great for two intensive cricket days. 

On arrival, three sets of stumps were set-up for a "nets" session and within 20 minutes, at least 50 of the camp residents appeared and the place started to buzz with excitement, with bowlers lining up to take their turn and balls being smacked everywhere. After half an hour a request was made for the matches to start, with 4 different teams being created on the spot and an 8-overs per side tournament format chosen. 

The matches were a very serious business, with some great bowling and extravagent batting. Jon had the task of scoring while Lewis umpired with help from Joaquin at square-leg. On Sunday morning the tournament continued, with the winning team being crowned as the sun started to set late in the afternoon. 


"It was a great weekend and an opportunity to help some people who share our passion for the game but have ended up in a very difficult situation. Their are some excellent players and lovely people here that would be an asset to any cricket team", said Madrid Vice President Lewis Clark.

The NGO Collective Aid who arranged our visit, runs a community centre near the camp where they teach French, English and other cultural classes from Monday to Friday and run a weekly cinema night in the camp. The NGO will be happy to facilitate the visit of other sports teams to the camp, especially cricket and football. 

collective aid

A huge thanks to all who have made the trip possible, especially the teams attending our annual T20 charity tournament each April in La Manga, to the parents who's kids attend our training sessions in Madrid, AllRounder Cricket for providing equipment at a reduced price and Decathlon for providing recycled balls for free.

Also, a special thanks to Cricket España for their continued support.