Hosts start well in Guernsey

The opening day of the European 2nd Division Championship in Guernsey saw Jersey, France and the hosts all record convincing victories.

At Port Soif Guernsey won the toss and sent Gibraltar in to bat. The move paid off immediately as two Gibraltar wickets went down in the opening three overs. First, Ian Farrell was very well caught at slip by Jeremy Frith off Lee Savident and then skipper Christian Rocca was bowled by Blane Queripel. Things soon became even worse for Gibraltar as Savident removed Ferrary (again well caught by Frith at slip) and Bacarese for five and nought, respectively, leaving Gibraltar tottering at 10 for four. This became 27 for six when Queripel removed Steven Gonzalez and Purnell.

Richard Buzaglo the tried to rescue the innings almost single-handedly. In an innings lasting 84 balls he made a gritty 44 before being the last man out as Gibraltar finished on a total of just 87. In addition to Buzaglo, two other of the Gibraltar tail were also run out. For Guernsey, Savident finished with three for 14 from his eight overs, while Blane Queripel also captured three wickets, at a cost of 32 runs.

After a fifty minute rain delay following the innings interval, Guernsey set off in quick pursuit of their target. Savident and Matt Oliver put on 29 for the first wicket before Savident was bowled by Gonzalez. Frith then helped Oliver take the total to 55 before Oliver was caught by Ferrary off the bowling of Rex Purnell. Although Frith soon followed Oliver back tot he pavilion, Guernsey passed the Gibraltar score in just the sixteenth over to get their campaign off to an impressive start.

Jersey, tipped by many people as potential winners of the tournament,began their campaign in emphatic style with a six wicket victory over Division 2 newcomers Croatia. Having decided to bat first, Croatia found the going very difficult against a steady and well-disciplined Jersey seam attack. Only Croatian skipper John Vujnovich was able to get on top of the bowling at any stage and his 44took xxx deliveries. For Jersey, Driver, Jones and Vowden all claimed two wickets apiece..

The Jersey opening pair of Peter Gough and Chris Jones began steadily and gradually increased the run rate, adding 89 before Jones, having just hit two sixes, was caught by Govorko for 32. Gough followed soon when he was run out for a fine 51. With rain approaching, Jersey made quick work of the remainder of the target, victory being achieved in the 28th over.

In the third match of the day, France was too good for Germany by a margin of 41 runs in a match that was decided by the Duckworth Lewis method. Germany won the toss and sent France in to bat. France began very positively with the fifty coming up in the eighth over for the early loss of Arun Ayyavooraju. Andrew German fell to Latif with the score on 66 and with the dismissal of Ramesh Sithambaranathan for 44 in an innings that had lasted 66 balls, Germany had fought their way back into the match.

The French middle order batted steadily but unspectacularly to take the total up to 165 when the sixth wicket fell, that of skipper Waseem Bhatti for a well-compiled 45. Apart from a brief flurry from Ali Akhbar, the French tail subsided quietly to an all out total of 206. For Germany the pick of the bowlers was Ehsan Latif with four for 49, while Zaheer Malik took three for 43.

Farooq Ahmed immediately set about the French bowling when Germany began their innings following a rain interval after lunch. He and Brown had put on 36 when Sulanga Hewawalandanage trapped Brown in front of his stumps. Abdul Bhatti immediately followed without scoring, leg before to Qureshi. German wickets then fell at regular intervals with only Ahmed, eventually dismissed for 45 (which included teo huge sixes), making any real impression against some accurate bowling from Hewawalandanage, Malik and Akbar.

Germany had reached 141 for eight in the 39th over when the umpires decided that the drizzle was too persistent for play to continue. That left the Germans 41 runs short of the Duckworth Lewis par score for the French innings at that point. Hewawalandanage and Akbar, took three wickets eachat a cost of 36 and 34 runs, respectively.