The European Cricket Championship is a group of various tournaments in which national cricket sides throughout Europe compete. The tournament is designed to encourage and develop the best players in countries where cricket is not a major sport and Europe's only Test cricket playing country, England, does not currently enter a side. The games are 50-over one-day cricket matches. Most of these do not have One Day International status (see below for more details).
The European Cricket Championships began in 1996 as a competition for seven European associate teams and an ECB XI. The second installment, two years later, saw the two new associate members, France and Germany join them and the competition played over two divisions.
In 2000, places were given to the top finishers of the European Affiliates Championship and this continued over the following installments. Promotion and relegation between divisions was not introduced until 2004.
With the introduction of the ICC World Cricket League in 2006, the championship was revamped. The European Affiliates Championship was incorporated into the European Cricket Championships with the teams being split between Divisions Two, Three and Four according to the placement in the final competition. Additionally, the ECB XI was no longer included and only full national sides could take part. A fifth league was introduced in 2009–10 season containing some of the newest affiliate members of the European Cricket Council.
In 1998, the tournament was split into two Divisions, although teams from the two Divisions still played each other in the final play-off matches. The teams from the previous tournaments were joined by France and Germany. The tournament was won by the hosts, the Netherlands .
The Divisional structure was tightened for this tournament, with teams from the two divisions not playing each other. The teams from the previous tournament were this time joined by Greece and Portugal. The tournament was played in Scotland and was again won by the Netherlands. The second division was won by Gibraltar.
In this year, the two Divisions were played in two different countries. Division One, played in the Netherlands, was again won by the ECB XI, whilst Division Two, played in Belgium was won by Italy. Austria and Portugal did not compete this year, although Norway made their debut in Division Two.
The European Division One Championships was held from 4–9 August in Scotland. Five teams participated in a round robin tournament, the games being held in Glasgow and Ayr. The games between Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands had full ODI status. The tournament was won by Ireland, who had also won a 'clean sweep' of European Championship at all age levels.
The European Division Two Championships was held from 4–9 August in Scotland, together with Division One. The winner would be promoted to the next installment of Division One in 2008.
Division Two was primarily played in Glasgow, with one game being played at RAF Lossiemouth for security reasons. Italy were absent, having been promoted to Division One. Greece made their return to Division Two after a six-year absence, whilst the tournament saw the international debuts of Guernsey and Jersey. It was won by Norway, who were promoted to 2008 Division One. The win also granted them entry into 2008 WCL Division Five alongside runners-up Jersey and 3rd place Germany. Greece came in last place and were relegated to 2007 Division Three after being stripped of their first round points due to fielding ineligible players. The tournament was met by protests due to the involvement of the Israeli team.
This tournament was played in Belgium, and featured the debut of Cyprus who played Finland, Luxembourg and Slovenia. It was won by Finland who gained promotion to 2007 Division Three, as did runners-up Cyprus.
In the semi-finals Croatia beat Malta by nine wickets and Spain beat the Isle of Man on fewer wickets lost when scores were tied. In the final Croatia beat Spain by four runs. In the 5th–8th place play-offs, Belgium and Portugal were victorious meaning that Cyprus and Finland would be relegated to 2009 Division Three.
The European Championship Division 2 was held from 18–23 August in Guernsey. Six teams participated in a round robin tournament, the games being played at the King George V, Port Soif and College Field grounds. The tournament was won by Jersey who will compete in a play off later in the year for a chance of promotion to Division One. By finishing in 2nd and 3rd place, Guernsey and Gibraltar also secured themselves a place in 2009 WCL Division Seven.
The 2009 European Championship Division Three was held in La Manga, Spain from 31 August to 5 September. Israel finished top and gained promotion to 2010 Division Two after beating Croatia in a play-off. Malta were relegated to 2011 Division Four.
The 2009 European Championship Division Four was held in Limassol, Cyprus from 14–19 September. The winners were Cyprus on net run rate as both Switzerland and Austria, who had returned to the competition after a number of years absence, had equal points at the end of the competition. Slovenia were relegated to 2011 Division Five after losing all of their games.
The 2009 European Championship Division Five was held in Corfu, Greece from 7 to 12 September. Greece finished top gaining promotion to Division 4. The tournament also marked Turkey's debut in international cricket. Although they finished last they did gain their first victory in international cricket over Bulgaria.
The 2010 European Championship Division One was held in Jersey from 13–19 July. The ECC decided that the division would be made up of the six highest placed European teams currently embedded in the World Cricket League structure. The three nations with ODI status sent their second XIs to the tournament. Hosts Jersey were the champions, winning all their games.
The 2010 European Championship Division Two was held in Guernsey from 13–19 July. The ECC decided that the division would be made up of the three lowest placed teams currently embedded in the World Cricket League structure and the three next placed teams based on recent regional events. The highest placed of these latter teams at the end of the tournament would gain qualification for 2010 WCL Division Eight. Guernsey were the champions after winning all the games and Germany qualified for the Division Eight tournament. Although their net run rate was lower than that of France they earnt qualification as they had won their match against the French side. Norway finished above Israel for the same reason.
^At a later board meeting it was decided that Greece would be further relegated to the next installment of Division Four in 2009. However, when the teams were sorted for the fourth and fifth divisions, Greece lost out on their Division Four spot and were placed in Division Five instead.