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France welcomes Australian Cricket Team

The world famous Crusaders Australian cricket team will be playing a 50 over match at Saumur, the nearest turf wicket to Paris, on Wednesday 27th June.

The Crusaders, international ambassadors for cricket, arrive in Europe on 8th June for a 42 day tour that will take in 31 cricket matches in six European countries.

Honorary Patrons of the Crusaders include Australian Prime Minister John Howard, and English chat show host Michael Parkinson.

The highlights of their tour will be matches against a President's Italian cricket X1, Switzerland, Duke of Norfolk's X1 and the MCC at the Lord's Nursery Ground.

The Australian's will spend a whole week in France visiting the Burgundy vinyards of the Cote d'Or, explore Paris and the Palace of Versailles and admire the beauty of Monet's gardens at Giverny.

The Crusaders will play a match against Standard Athletic Club 24th June (2pm) at Meudon. From Paris they will travel to the Somme battlefields of northern France and the adopted Australian village of Villers Bretonneux. Then south to the Loire Valley and Chateau Chenonceau and Chateau Villandry and the highlight of the tour - the match against l'Equipe de France de Cricket.

Brittany and the chance to visit Mont St Michel follows and a game against Ormes CC before taking a ferry to England where the tour will end.

The Crusaders were created in Australia in 1977 to bring former Test, First class and District players and umpires together to develop youth cricket.

Today the emphasis is on providing young cricketers with the opportunity to develop and improve their game and promote a 'spirit of fair play in the time honoured traditions of the game.'

Their links with clubs in the United Kingdom and mainland Europe have been the means to allow the Crusaders to play successful tours biannually.

The Crusaders are now nationally and internationally recognised ambassadors for cricket. Over the years international and first class players from 15 countries have represented the team.

Out of the 306 matches played by the Crusaders during tours to the United Kingdom and Europe they have won 162, lost 68, drawn 50, tied 6 and abandoned 20.

Throughout France there are almost 50 cricket clubs spread throughout the country. The teams are not made up just of players from countries renowned for their cricketing prowess but French and other nationalities too.

- by Coral Luke

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