The third series of the World Cricket League was expanded to seven divisions, the first tournament taking place in Guernsey in May 2009. Six teams took part: the hosts and Gibraltar from the European region, Nigeria from Africa, Suriname from the Americas, Bahrain from Asia, and Japan from East Asia-Pacific. Only Japan had appeared before, the others making their WCL debut.
Rain ruined the opening day, and a total of only 20.1 overs could be bowled; the match between Nigeria and Suriname was abandoned without the toss taking place. The next day was much more propitious, and Bahrain, Guernsey and Nigeria all posted victories. The Bahrainis had the highest score of the day, 278 for five, mainly thanks to 106 from Imran Sayyad, Suriname managing only 117 in reply. Gibraltar set the hosts 228 in an all-European battle, but Guernsey reached their target with three balls to spare and four wickets in hand, while Nigeria beat Japan by two wickets.
When the rained-off opening games were replayed on the reserve day, Suriname produced a complete reversal of form, Vishaul Singh (91) and Troy Dudnath (92) helping them to 260 for eight before they dismissed Nigeria for 165. Chasing Bahrain’s 235 for nine Gibraltar collapsed to 98 all out; slow left-armer Qamar Saeed claimed three for 20 to follow up his three for 10 against Suriname the day before. Guernsey had a comfortable seven-wicket win over Japan, keeping pace with Bahrain.
The two leaders met at the King George V ground on the fourth day, and a century by Ashraf Yaqoob, who shared a fourth-wicket stand of 178 with Adil Hanif, enabled Bahrain to post 257 for nine. This proved too much for Guernsey, who despite a second successive half-century from Jeremy Frith could only manage 232 for nine; Qamar Saeed picked up another three-wicket haul.
Nigeria recovered from their disappointing performance against Suriname, while at Port Soif, where a chill northerly frequently sweeps in off the sea, a devastating spell by Japan’s pace man Patrick Giles-Jones saw the Jekyll-and-Hyde Surinamese collapse to 7 for eight in less than 20 overs. They managed to battle their way to 66 all out once Giles-Jones had bowled out, but it took Japan just 20.4 overs to complete an eight-wicket victory.
It was Japan’s turn to suffer at Port Soif the following day: chasing Bahrain’s total of 260, with Giles-Jones again amongst the wickets with five for 39, the Japanese were skittled for 64 in 26 overs. Qamar Saeed was one of three Bahraini bowlers to take three wickets, bringing his tally to 12 in four matches at a cost of 92 runs.
At College Field, meanwhile, an unbeaten 101 from Frith enabled Guernsey to overhaul Nigeria’s 217 for five and secure an eight-wicket victory with three overs remaining, while Gibraltar posted their first win of the tournament, Suriname able to manage only 179 in reply to Gibraltar’s 218 for eight, leg-spinner Iain Latin collecting six for 23.
Bahrain kept their unbeaten record in the final set of round-robin matches, 104 not out from Ashraf Yaqoob taking them to 273 for five before Nigeria collapsed to 97 all out, with Zafar Zaheer taking four for 27. Guernsey made sure of second place, and promotion to Division 6, by overwhelming the hapless Surinamese: Jeremy Frith produced a remarkable all-round effort, following up his 106 in his side’s total of 315 for three by taking five for 8 in four overs with his left-arm spin as Suriname collapsed to 52 all out in 21.1 overs. A 69 from Giles-Jones enabled Japan to reach 227 for eight against Gibraltar, their best batting performance of the week, and they then dismissed their opponents for 198 to make sure of a spot in the third-place play-off.
Playing to avoid the wooden spoon, Suriname redeemed themselves somewhat thanks to a stunning knock by opener Dudnath, whose 130 came from just 90 deliveries and included 14 fours and eight sixes. Chasing a formidable 300 for nine, Gibraltar came agonisingly close, a 55-ball 73 from Latin the foundation of their 292 for nine, just eight runs short. Nigeria made sure of third with a 68-run victory over Japan, off-spinner Olalekan Awolowo taking four for 36 and medium-pacer Adekunle Adegbola three for 9 as Japan were bowled out for 153 in reply to the Nigerians’ 221 for nine.
The final at the King George V ground was a tense, relatively low-scoring affair. Qamar Saeed produced his best figures of the week, taking five for 44 as Bahrain restricted the home side to 204 for nine, Lee Ferbrache top-scoring with a gritty 51, but it was with the bat that Qamar made sure his side took the championship. Coming in at a precarious 119 for six he made an unbeaten, 60-ball 55, and Bahrain ran out winners by three wickets with 23 deliveries to spare.
Qamar was the outstanding bowler of the tournament with 19 wickets at an average of 8.16, followed by Jeremy Frith with 15 and Patrick Giles-Jones with 13, all but one of them in a magical 48 hours at Port Soif. Frith was the leading run-scorer with 381 at 95.25, Adil Hanif just behind him with 321 at 80.25.