Guernsey win 2010 Inter-insular
David Piesing, GCB
A clinical all-round performance secured an impressive 6-wicket victory for Guernsey in the 2010 Marlborough Trust Inter-Insular at Grainville, making it 7 wins in 9 years for the Greens.
With both teams having achieved 100% winning records in their respective ICC European tournaments this season, confidence was naturally high in both camps before the game and nobody seemed to be predicting anything other than a very close game, which was also the first inter-insular to be played in coloured clothing with a white ball.
Jersey skipper Peter Gough won the toss and elected to bat first on a pitch which was expected to turn later on. After a quite steady start against tight bowling from the new-ball pair of Lee Savident and Tim Duke, openers Matt Hague and Dean Morrison were both back in the pavilion, caught in the ring, following poor shots against Savident by the time the score had reached 35 and it was left to the third wicket pair of Ryan Driver and Ed Farley to build Jersey's platform. The pair put together a solid partnership of 73 before Driver holed out to Savident off the bowling of Gary Rich for 36, but when that wicket fell at 108 for 3 in the 31st over, Jersey were looking very well-placed to post a score of 230-plus.
Those remaining 19 overs turned out to be the key period of the game, with Jersey's middle order contriving to find ways to get themselves out, part-time offspinner GH Smit being the main beneficiary with four cheap wickets. Farley started the procession when he was stumped off Jeremy Frith for 40, followed by Sam de la Haye who pulled a Smit long-hop to be caught at deep mid-wicket and then by Peter Gough who pulled another short ball to his opposite number Stuart Le Prevost to be superbly caught low down at short mid-wicket for 28. Andy Dewhurst (23 not out) played some inventive shots to boost the score as the rest of the tail fell around him, Jersey limping to 195 for 9 in their 50 overs. Smit ended with 4 for 26 off 6 overs while Frith conceded just 26 in his 10 overs.
If they were to have any real chance of defending that score, Jersey needed early wickets but the new Guernsey opening pairing of Savident and Kiwi left-hander Iain Atchison put paid to that with an impressive opening stand of 60. It wasn't totally without any scares though as Atchison seemed fortunate to survive one particularly close lbw shout early on from Driver. The breakthrough came when Savident got a leading edge to give a return catch to the impressive Ben Stevens for 26, and Jersey sensed an opening quickly afterwards when Tom Kimber, promoted up the order as a pinch hitter to try to stop Stevens settling into a rhythm, was bowled around his legs sweeping.
That wicket brought Jeremy Frith to the crease to join Atchison but with the score on 83 Atchison was caught in the ring off Jersey's debutant left-arm spinner, James Faudemer for a well-composed 40 off 73 balls on debut. In came fellow debutant, 18 year old Tim Ravenscroft, who started to compile a free-scoring partnership with Frith as the boundaries started to flow. The pair had put on 55 when Ravenscroft fell caught behind off Stevens for a fine 31, leaving his side needing 58 off 11 overs with loads of batting to come. Stevens completed another very decent bowling performance with three for 25 from his 10 overs.
Frith continued to steadily accumulate runs all around the wicket and yet again for Guernsey it was a fine unbeaten partnership between Frith and skipper Le Prevost which saw Guernsey home. Le Prevost scored very freely at just over a run a ball to make a brisk unbeaten 31, surviving a good chance which Morrison spilled at mid-on, one which he would normally expect to take. With no further scares, Frith reached his half-century shortly before Le Prevost struck the winning runs with 9 (second powerplay) balls to spare. It was no surprise that Frith's unbeaten 56 (77 balls) and economic 10-over spell earned him yet another Man of the Match award to add to his collection.
The Guernsey victory culminates a hugely successful 12 months for coach Andy Cornford's men, having won their final three games at WCL Division 6 in Singapore, all five games in ICC European Division Two and now beating a strong Jersey side to make it 9 wins on the bounce. Jersey's 2010 was a mixed one, with the big disappointment of relegation from WCL Division 5 in February in Nepal being eroded by the fantastic achievement of winning all five of their games in ICC European Division One on home soil in July under a new captain and with an injection of some new young blood. The two island teams will meet again in Guernsey next summer and also shortly afterwards in WCL Division 6, which promises to be their most important match yet.