About Guernsey Cricket Stats

I started to collect information and data in roughly 2008 with the intention of publishing a book about Inter-Insular cricket matches. This came on the back of Frank Cusack’s Muratti book spanning over 100 years of soccer competition. There was a definite gap in the history of the Inter-Insular matches as far as cricket was concerned and it appeared an interesting project and challenge to take on. Initially I thought it would be a relatively easy matter to gather the scorebooks together and with a few photographs be able to have a book ready within a year. However, it did not quite work out like that.

I found the Guernsey scorebook going back to 1987 but that only contained years up to 1995. Another scorebook came to light from 2000 to 2005. The question then arose as to the actual starting date. The GCA documented that the series began in 1957 so it was a hunt to find details going back that far. I contacted Chris Minty in Jersey and they had a scorebook going back to 1965 so that filled in a few gaps but there is no trace of scorebooks prior to that in either island.

The Guernsey Evening Press and Star was the obvious place to find details of the matches but that raised further problems. The offices at the Evening Press no longer allowed public access to their archived issues of the paper as they were becoming dog-eared with the constant page turning. Even worse they were being torn apart by people who couldn’t be bothered to copy items and just ripped the article out of the paper.

The only source of the papers is at the Priaulx Library but again this was not straight forward as the only hard copies available are from 1965 to 1994. All the newspapers are available on micro-fiche but once again not straight forward. The films in the 1950s and again in the late 1990s are negative and it is not without its difficulties in reading the masses of black. It took many hours of trawling through the back issues trying to find details of the matches. What made it more difficult was not knowing the dates of the matches but eventually these were found and the task of gleaning details was given a new impetus.

This in itself caused disappointment as the Press did not record as much information as we collect nowadays. There are the names of umpires missing, even where the match was played, who were the captains, details of bowlers and in the match in 1953 the player who caught JBV Collins off Ricky Rich is unknown both in the Press and the Star which were separate papers in those days.

Whilst trying to find the details of matches I started to record the articles written at the time in the papers. This also varied widely. Some years there was a preview and then the match itself. Occasionally there might be a review as well. All these, as far as I know, have been found but no doubt there may be some small article missed somewhere. To make sure as much information as possible was found I spent a week in the Jersey library where they hold all the copies of the Jersey Evening Post. Unfortunately imagine my disappointment when I discovered that the only media it was available in was micro-fiche. However, some details missing from the Guernsey papers were discovered in the Jersey issues, mainly when the games were played in Jersey.

Whilst looking back at the early years it became apparent that there was a vague and hazy understanding of matches between Guernsey and Jersey. In the late 1940s, after the war, matches were between the Guernsey Island Cricket Club and their corresponding Jersey Island Cricket Club. They played 2 matches on a home and away basis. This is where things become less clear in that around 1950 the JICC and GICC agreed to play just one match and the other would be a game between the two islands with selection not restricted to the GICC and JICC membership. The newspapers at the time muddied the water somewhat by referring to the match as either Guernsey v Jersey, GICC v Jersey or Guernsey v JICC. Not helpful at all. However, the reporters of the matches both in Guernsey and Jersey made reference to the starting of the series of Inter-Insular matches on more than one occasion to have been 1950.

It was not organised on a formal footing but more that the GICC and JICC would arrange for a team to be selected for the match. This worked all right for the first couple of years but in 1952 Jersey selected a team and after several withdrawals they could not find enough players to fill the places that had become available. With no organisation to oversee the procedure they eventually just didn’t bother to turn up at the College Field and the game was called off. For three years teams were selected again but even worse was to follow in 1956 when the haphazard nature of selection (in Jersey at least) resulted in Jersey not even selecting a team to travel to Guernsey.  Jersey became more organised from the following year when they organised a committee to select an island side and from onwards there have been no hiccups over island representation.

Once details were found of each match the data was collated and from these a wealth of statistics was available. At the same time it became apparent that to publish a book would be expensive and to do justice to the content it would require photographs of a high quality. It was decided for a variety of reasons that a website would be much better in that it could be amended if there were mistakes, it could be added to easily and it would not be out-of-date as soon as it was published. Not only that but additional facets can be included such as social media – Facebook and Twitter, shop, forum and live scores. We would like people to interact through the forum, to add to the website with their thoughts, anecdotes and memories, photographs and feelings of their experiences around the popular summer clash between the islands.

During the latter part of the research Guernsey (and Jersey) became part of the ICC setup. It was only another step to including the European matches from 2006 as part of the information gathering task. Shortly afterwards the World Cricket League became available so these tournaments from 2009 have been included.

Another disappointment has been the lack of photographs. In the early years there were very few photographs published hence the paucity of images, but in recent years there is a plethora of sources and number of photographs.

Most of the material originated from The Guernsey Star, The Guernsey Evening Press, The Jersey Evening Post, Cricket Europe and The International Cricket Council, to whom we are indebted. As well as these some photographs are by kind permission of Guernseycricketphotos. To improve the website we would ask that anyone that can furnish information to plug the gaps uses the contact facility with the relevant details and we will endeavour to update the web pages as soon as possible. We welcome contributions from Jersey as well as Guernsey.

Thanks must go to Alex Campanella for his expertise and development of the website. He is not a cricketer but even his interest has grown during his involvement.

Thanks also to Mark Latter, the Guernsey Cricket Board Chief Executive Officer, who has been enthusiastic and supportive. He has been as eager as I was to see the finished website. In fact we hope it is not the finished website as your contributions will make it a dynamic and an ever evolving site.

I hope you will find the website interesting and that while you read the pages they may spark off long forgotten memories of matches and players or of pleasant afternoons spent watching the Inter-Insulars.

John Mountford

 

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