Jersey takes the title - but only just


Jersey snatched the European Division 2 title from Guernsey by just one run in a sensational finish to the tournament at the KGV ground in Guernsey.

Chasing a target of 218 in 50 overs, Guernsey was poised for victory at 209 for four wickets at the end of the 47th over. A tie was all that they needed due to their superior run rate going into the deciding match.

But it suddenly went all wrong for Guernsey whose progress to their traget had been utterly serene earlier in their innings. Matt Oliver (45), Jeremy Frith (37) and Lee Savident with a quite magnificent 98 before he ran himself out going for an ill-judged second run following a misfield at mid off, had put their side in total control as the local supporters were preparing to salute a resounding victory over their Channel Island rivals.

But it all went wrong in a matter of just a few minutes. Captain Stuart Le Prevost was leg before to the first ball of the 48th over, bowled by Anthony Kay, and then two suicidal run outs in the same over accounted for Justin Ferbrache and Kris Moherndl without further addition to the score.

Jamie Nussbaumer was bowled by Kay at the start of the final over, which began with Guernsey still needing six more runs. With one ball remaining three runs were required by the batsmen could manage just a leg bye. This was the signal for wild celebrations by the Jersey team which could not quite believe that they had won a match that seemed to have long gone from its grasp.

Earlier Jersey had compiled 217 for five wickers, an innings built around a quite magnificent 113 not out from Ryan Driver, scored from 151 balls and containing 10 fours and a six. Like Savident later in the day, he score freely all round the wicket and no bowler troubled him in the least. Captain Matthew Hague gave him fine support with 35, while Savident was the best of the Guernsey bowlers with two wickets for 27 runs.

Gibraltar took third place in the tournament with a hard fought five wickets victory over Germany at Collge Field. Germany found runs hard to come by and lost wickets at regular intervals against a very disciplined Gibraltar attack. The innings totalled just 94 and lasted only 37.1 overs as Rex Purnell claimed three victims and Kabir Murpuri and Chris Philips each picked up two wickets.

Gibraltar got off to a terrible start as three wickets fell for 17 runs, but Murpuri once again acted as the sheet anchor of the innings as Gibraltar made very slow progress towards their target, finally reaching it in the 44th over with five wickets to spare. Mirpuri was the highest score with an unbeaten 23 made form 118 balls.

France condemned Croatia to bottom place with a six wickets victory at Port Soif. Winning the toss and batting, Croatia made a poor start as they slumped to 30 for three. The rest of the batsmen, apart from Chris PIvac, fared no better - indeed none of them reached double figures. However Pivac was in superb form until he was ninth out for 74, which included ten fours and two sixes and was made from just 64 balls. Abdul Qureshi, Shahid Malik and Ali Akbar all claimed three wickets in Croatia's total of 121.

France started equally badly and were soon 30 for three also against the opening bowling of Pivac and Sileg. But Arun Ayyavooraju (34) and Qureshi put their heads down and added 54 to make the game safe for France. Although Ayyavooraju fell to Paul Vujnovich, Qureshi (33 not out) and skipper Waseem Bhatti saw their side home safely in the 41st over.

At the Tournament Dinner held after the completion of the final round of matches, the Spirit of Cricket Award went to Gibraltar, while Gibraltar's Kabir Murpuri was voted Player of the Tournament by the umpires.