4-run win for Jersey in inter-insular thriller
David Piesing, Guernsey Cricket Board
A devastating spell of bowling by veteran Jersey all-rounder Steve Carlyon proved crucial as Jersey edged the 50th anniversary inter-insular at Guernsey's KGV by just 4 runs and with 4 balls still remaining.
In a pulsating match in which the pendulum kept swinging, and in front of a crowd estimated to be close to 1,000, Jersey skipper Matt Hague had seen Guernsey bat themselves right back into the game and needing just 14 runs off the last three overs with three wickets in hand to reach their target of 196 in 50 overs. As a last resort, and with his front-line bowlers already bowled out, Hague tossed the ball to 41-year old Carlyon who had not yet been called upon to bowl. After a first-ball wide, Carlyon bowled Kris Moherndl with his first legitimate delivery and just three balls later trapped Blane Queripel leg before. Andy Biggins and last man Peter Le Hegarat got the target down to 6 needed off the last over and after Biggins took a single off the first ball, Le Hegarat flashed and edged behind where James Caunt took a fine diving catch to clinch a memorable victory which ended a run of five successive defeats in this fixture.
Under a cloudless blue sky and in perfect conditions Jersey won the toss and not surprisingly elected to bat first. One of Guernsey's four young debutants, quick bowler Le Hegarat, made a big breakthrough by having opener Peter Gough caught by Banerjee at slip without scoring, and he and fellow paceman debutant Blane Queripel asked lots of questions of Jersey's experienced second wicket pair of Hague and Steve Carlyon. However, the pair survived and steadily accumulated a fine partnership of over 70 with some exceptionally good running between the wickets before left-arm spinner Jeremy Frith made the big breakthrough by trapping Hague in front for 40, which proved to be the top score of the day.
Carlyon followed quickly afterwards, well stumped by Ryan Bishop also off Frith for 30, and the game changed dramatically as the Jersey middle order got stuck against the high quality spin pair of Frith and off-spinner Gary Rich. Ryan Driver and Chris Jones occupied the crease without ever breaking the shackles but when Driver also fell leg-before to Frith and Jones suffered the same fate to Rich at the other end attempting a sweep, the momentum had really swung Guernsey's way. A target of 250-plus looked on for Jersey at the first drinks break after 17 overs, but at the second drinks break score of 180 looked more likely. Some aggressive hitting by Jamie Brewster provided a welcome boost before he was sensationally caught one-handed by GH Smit at deep midwicket off Banerjee, and Jersey then stuttered to what was generally considered to be a below-par score of 195 for 9 in their allotted 50 overs. Frith was the pick of the Guernsey bowlers with 3 for 16 from his ten overs, but all of the Guernsey bowlers did a decent job.
The Guernsey innings started well with Bishop and Matt Oliver putting on 60 for the first wicket before Bishop fell lbw to a full-pitched ball from Driver whose last five overs were extremely impressive. Driver then cleaned up Matt Oliver and grabbed the crucial wicket of Frith who was unlucky to glove one of only a couple of balls which misbehaved all day. Suddenly 60 for 0 had become 72 for 3 and Jersey were back in. Ami Banerjee and home skipper Stuart Le Prevost then looked to consolidate and put together a useful partnership before Banerjee fell lbw to Hague. South African GH Smit then took his time to patiently play himself in and he survived a regulation catch behind off which Caunt somehow managed to spill off Chris Jones. That may well have been costly but Caunt redemmed himself in Jones's next over with a fine diving catch to grab the vital wicket of Le Prevost for 30. The big turning point came in Jones' next over when Smit was controversially given run out, and then Gary Rich edged Jones' very next ball to slip where Driver took a fine catch. A cluster of three wickets in two overs had left Guernsey precariously placed at 140 for 7 with only the three debutant young bowlers to accompany the experiences Andy Biggins.
One of those youngsters, 19-year old Kris Moherndl, then played arguably the best innings of the day. Showing no fear of the occasion, he got off the market with a sublime straight drive for four off Jones and proceeded to take the game to Jersey with fine shot placement and aggressive running between the wickets. The shot of the day was a huge 6 over long-on against Tony Carlyon but just when he had taken his side to the brink of victory his shot selection deserted him for the first time against the older Carlyon and the rest is history.
Both sides knew that whoever was to win would have beaten a very fine side as there is nothing at all to choose between the two islands at the moment. Guernsey took many positives from the game, mainly from the fact that they were only fielding three players over the age of 30 whereas Jersey had only three players under 30, and Guernsey's young side will only learn from the experience to take into the 2008 European 2nd Division Championships. Jersey have worked very hard over the past year, heavily incentivised by their accession to ICC Associate Membership and qualification for World Cricket League Division 5 in May 2008, and if this side can stay fit then they have every chance of doing very well in that tournament.