Jersey win tight 2008 senior inter-insular
David Piesing, Guernsey Cricket Board
Jersey retained the HSBC Inter-Insular Challenge Trophy with a tight 3-wicket victory over Guernsey at Grainville, thanks mainly to man of the match Ryan Driver who followed up a fine bowling spell with a crucial unbeaten 45 to see his side home as Guernsey fought back.
Guernsey won the toss and elected to bat first on a wicket which had quite a lot of extra bounce, albeit slow. The visitors quickly found themselves in trouble through the early losses of openers Tim Duke and Matt Oliver, and further disaster struck when Jeremy Frith called GH Smit for quick single and Smit was run out by a direct hit at the non-striker's end, well short of his ground.
The line and length of the Jersey bowlers was meticulous as the Guernsey batsmen found it impossible to get the ball away, scoring at around 2 an over for the first 30 overs as they tried to consolidate and rebuild. Recognising that 150-plus was likely to be a good total on this wicket, Frith set out his stall to bat through the remainder of the innings but eventually fell to 16-year old slow-left-arm debutant, Ben Stevens, for 38 when he was caught at mid-off.
Apart from Frith, Kris Moherndl made the only other significant contribution with a well-made 21 before he played around a straight one. The innings petered out and Guernsey were eventually dismissed for 119 in the 46th over. Stevens was the most successful bowler with 3 for 31 in his 10 overs, while Ryan Driver took 2 for 12 and Chris Jones bowled 6 maidens in his 10-over spell. In all, Jersey bowled 14 maidens and frustrated several Guernsey batsmen into gifting their wickets as the pressure built.
However, Guernsey knew that run-scoring would be difficult and came out hard at Jersey. Peter Gough and debutant Dean Morrison quickly fell to Blane Queripel and Jersey were soon 5 down for less than half their target. They had also fallen just behind their Duckworth-Lewis target with rain threatening. Driver remained at the wicket though, and they key to the match was to be how he fared against the vastly-experienced spin pair of Frith and Gary Rich.
Unusually, both went wicketless as Driver and Chris Jones dug in, knowing that all they had to do was stay in and the remaining runs would surely come. Their 6th wicket partnership proved crucial and when it was finally broken by Duke, who quickly followed with another wicket in the same over, Jersey were still needing around a dozen with just three wickets in hand. Driver then survived an extremely-close lbw appeal from Jamie Nussbaumer, the rejection of which probably ended Guernsey's slim chance by that stage, and Driver finally ended the match with a six over mid-wicket off Frith in the 46th over so see his side home, having batted for the best part of 40 overs.
Guernsey will rue too many soft dismissals early on, and crucially not batting out their full 50 overs which could well have brought a vital extra 10-15 runs. Driver did not need to force the pace against the Guernsey spinners and that factor was to prove vital.
Fortunately Guernsey now get the chance to gain swift revenge in two weeks time at the KGV in the ICC European Second Division Championships but will need to bat considerably better than they did at Grainville.