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Inter Insular #47 1998
The match was played at Grainville, Jersey
on Saturday 8th August 1998
for the Flemings Trophy
50 overs per side
Umpires Roy Skyrme (Guernsey) and Mike Carpenter (Jersey)
Scorers John Mountford (Guernsey) Jane Le Gros(Jersey)
Toss won by Guernsey who elected to bat
Jersey won by 3 wickets
|R P Headington||c||Blampied||b||Reynolds||57||88||81||11||0||64.8||Graham||19||1||74||4||2||0||28.5||3.9|
|R J Veillard||c||Blampied||b||Jones||3||18||25||0||0||16.7||Reynolds||5||0||20||1||3||0||30||4.0|
|S E Le Prevost||c||Short||b||Graham||31||33||48||4||0||93.9|
|+M C C Webber||c||Graham||b||Carlyon||7||18||17||0||0||38.9|
|G J Rich||run||out||17||20||27||3||0||85.0|
|R E H Anthony||not||out||1||10||11||0||0||10.0|
|M A Poole||not||out||1||2||6||0||0||50.0|
|Extras (b1, lb6, w12, nb0)||19|
|Total (for 9 wkts in 50 overs)||189|
|Fall of wickets|
|P Scott||c||Le Prevost||b||Anthony||21||28||29||2||0||75.0|
|B Vowden||c||Le Prevost||b||Anthony||26||13||16||0||2||200.0|
|Extras (b1, lb7, w8, nb0)||16|
|Total (for 7 wkts in 50 overs)||190|
|Fall of wickets|
‘No contest’ by Paul Le Conte
James Mashiter has turned his back on a holiday to Ibiza with nine of his Victoria College A-level classmates to play in the senior cricket inter-insular. The 18 year old opening batsman has been prolific so far, scoring close to 1100 runs, 733 for Victoria College 1st XI.
Jersey inter-insular skipper, Mark Reynolds, is delighted to see the sun come out this week. The harder the impressive Grainville strip is baked the better it suits his side for the main event of the cricket season tomorrow. ‘The key for victory in the past few years is that we have virtually always taken four or five quick wickets and killed the game off,’ said Reynolds. He also has the advice of experienced Minor Counties captain Dave Gorman to call on and the assistance offered by senior inter-insular team manager Keith Dennis.
[DB Gorman was born on 13 August 1955 in Havant, Hampshire. He played sixty times for Berkshire between 1984 and 1988]
[W Jenner played once for Hampshire 2nd XI in 1983 against Glamorgan 2nd XI scoring 5 and 0]
‘Two spots still up for grabs’ by Gareth Le Prevost
Settling on the opening batting and bowling partnerships remains the Island selectors’ major concern as the Island tackle their final pre inter-insular warm-up game against Delhi Blues today. It is clear that there is a back-bone of five players that the team will be built around.
Of the batsmen, Ward Jenner and Stuart Le Prevost are the best two in the island and should fill the number three and four spots respectively. Richard Headington is a vital member of the side and should open the batting. He will also be an integral part of the bowling attack as he showed against the Hampshire Maniacs. Cobo’s all-rounder Gary Rich and left arm seamer Mark Poole complete the spine with the rest of the 11 up for debate.
The second opening batting position is likely to be handed to Mark Jefferies or Mark Clapham. However, my personal choice would be Matt Brehaut. The Under 21 opening bat has the potential to become the best batsman in the island and we should take a leaf out of Jersey’s book by blooding good youngsters now and not delaying their growth as cricketers. The remainder of the middle order should contain Andy Biggins to provide the left-handed variation which leaves the St Saviour’s duo of Richard Veillard and Gary Tapp fighting for one place. There is not much to choose between the two, but I believe the selectors will go with Veillard.
Justin Ferbrache should be the wicket-keeper as it has always been my belief that the top six or seven should score runs without having to rely on a ‘keeper to score runs at number eight or nine. The final two bowling slots are the other main talking points and for his performance in the GCA game Ralph Anthony should claim his 23rd consecutive cap, leaving the last spot to be competed for by Keith Le Cheminant and Mark Culverwell. The Pessimists left-armer has been an excellent bowler over the years, but at Grainville I would choose Culverwell as he hits the deck hard and three left handers is maybe one too many.
‘Jersey choose schoolboy’ by Andy Biggins
Jersey have chosen a Victoria College schoolboy as one of three changes from the JCL side that beat the GCA by one wicket at the KGV last month. The selection of young James Mashiter was the one major surprise when the Caesarean selectors, who met earlier this week to decide their starting XI for the Carlsberg-Tetley Trophy match with Guernsey at Grainville next Saturday, announced the side yesterday.
As expected Colin Graham makes his return to the inter-insular stage, and Caesarean club captain Dave Gorman also plays. The Victoria College opening bat is the intriguing selection though. Having scored a stack of runs for Victoria College this season, Mashiter, also in the Under 21 side that play at KGV tomorrow, is evidence that Jersey continue to entertain a youth policy. A couple of years ago it was a talented Sporting Club Francais Ben Silva that was given the opportunity of a debut in an otherwise experienced side. Jersey have cast Mashiter in the same mould, confident that he will learn from his experience and convinced that the experience of his colleagues will take the pressure off their new cap.
Colin Graham aside the Jersey bowling looks steady. Presumably Nick Jewell will share the new ball with the main threat Graham, while Chris Jones and skipper Mark Reynolds will back up the seam attack. Bradley Vowden is an off-spinning option. Tony Carlyon has not been bowling regularly because of a shoulder injury. It is Jersey’s batting that catches the eye though. The steady Steve Blampied will open the batting with Mashiter and Chris Jones will drop down to provide stability to the middle order.
Carlyon will bat first wicket down, Dave Gorman and Peter Scott will be offered the chance to build an innings at four and five. That leaves Jones and stroke players Simon Short and Vowden to push things along and Colin Graham could find himself batting as far down as number nine.
Jersey: Mark Reynolds (capt), Steve Blampied, James Mashiter, Tony Carlyon, Dave Gorman, Peter Scott, Chris Jones, Bradley Vowden, Simon Short, Colin Graham, Nick Jewell.
‘Inter-insular has new sponsors’
The cricket inter-insular has a new sponsor for the next three years. Flemings in Jersey, part of one of the oldest and largest privately owned investment banks in Britain, which has its offshore banking headquarters in Jersey, has agreed to take over from Carlsberg Tetley. The Jersey and Guernsey teams, who meet at Grainville on Saturday, will play for a new award, the Flemings Inter-Insular Trophy.
‘Anthony to equal caps record’
Ralph Anthony has been offered the chance to become the most capped Guernsey cricketer. The Chairman of selectors, Mick Fooks, ended weeks of deliberation by naming the Guernsey side today, and the selection of the Salemites all-rounder will see Anthony make appearance 23 in inter-insular cricket at Grainville on Saturday, equalling the record set by Warren Barrett.
Another with plenty of appearances under his belt is Mike Webber. After an absence of several years from the island side the Optimists man will make appearance 14 in his career, preferred to last year’s ‘keeper Justin Ferbrache because of his batting options.
Attempting to break a recent run in these games which is not good to say the least, Guernsey appear to have a side with plenty of batting this year, tidy bowling and most importantly useful in the field. ‘We have picked a side which we feel is best equipped to do the task in hand,’ said Fooks. ‘Our main concern is over the batting, in particular the strength of the middle order.’
Fooks was reluctant to say too much about the batting order in the build-up to this game, but in Richard Headington Guernsey has an obvious opener. Among the stroke players captain Ward Jenner, Stuart Le Prevost, Richard Veillard, Andy Biggins and Webber, there is the more calming influence of Mark Clapham, who appears to be Headington’s logical partner at the top of the card. Guernsey should bat all the way down with spinners Gary Rich and Ralph Anthony making up the top nine. The new-ball responsibilities have been entrusted with Cobo’s Mark Culverwell and Mark Poole.
‘Stats stack up against Guernsey’
Guernsey’s recent run of form over the past decade is a most sobering thought if you are a Sarnian looking back over the Inter-Insular records of the past 20 years. A quick glance at the history of this competition highlights that Guernsey have not beaten the arch enemy in their last six attempts and only once in the 90’s.
Looking back still further one startling fact materialises – Guernsey have only scored 200 plus once in the last 20 years. That was 1989 when Stuart Mackay scored an unbeaten century at the College Field. Jersey on the other hand have scored over 200 with the bat on five occasions – all in the past six years. The Guernsey side is experiencing the worst run of form in the history of the match. When they travel to Jersey tomorrow Ward Jenner’s side will be looking to win for only the fourth time in 20 years at Grainville. The last was in 1988.
But former Jersey skipper and adopted Guernseyman Jenner has had many a happy day at Grainville, two years ago, when Jersey ousted Guernsey by 47 runs, Jenner was the top scorer on either side, rattling up 65 with the bat. More than any other game this one highlighted the difference between the two sides in recent years. Ralph Anthony’s team bowled well, despite six chances going to ground, but unlike the Jersey top order, got off to a worse possible start with the bat.
Whereas Chris Jones (50), Steve Carlyon (30), Tony Carlyon (63) and Jenner all provided in the top order for the home side, Guernsey were reduced to 32 for 5. Guernsey were grateful for Gary Tapp and Gary Kimber to bring some respectability to the score with a partnership of 97.
One further point, Colin Graham returns to the inter-insular scene after a break of several years. In his last outing at Grainville in 1990 he bowled unchanged, returning figures of 25.5-11-34-7. Guernsey were skittled for 114 – incidentally the last time and only the second time in the last ten years that a side batting first has lost an island game. Graham, the potent force that he is by no means unplayable. He took a break from representative cricket in 1991 after a relatively ineffective game, the last time Guernsey took the honours. That day 165 was enough for the home side at the College Field. All food for thought.
‘Recalled Webber is upbeat’ by Gareth Le Prevost
Several years on from his last appearance in the inter-insular, Mike Webber will be behind the stumps at Grainville tomorrow. What would have seemed an improbable choice by the selectors before the start of the season has now become a reality with Optimists wicketkeeper looking in good form with both bat and gloves throughout the summer. An ever modest Webber says in some ways the call-up was a surprise. ‘Over the past couple of years it appears the selectors have been looking more towards a youth policy so for that reason it was a bit of a surprise.’ But on his current form the place is deserved especially on the back of an important knock of 31 for the over 40’s last weekend. ‘I’m still batting well enough and I feel my ‘keeping is still good and I’m looking forward to the game.’
There are many people locally who believe Guernsey will be beaten yet again but Mike is upbeat about the Sarnians chances. ‘We always have a chance. Recently the record (against Jersey) is not very good but if the team play with a lot of heart and show their ability, I think we have enough talent to win. ‘We have had some good squad sessions and team spirit is high. Jersey will obviously start as favourites but if we get a little bit of luck on the day I see no reason why we cannot beat them.’ Here’s hoping Mike’s optimism will be realised come tomorrow evening.
Guernsey Press Monday 10 August by Neil Robilliard
From the jaws of victory they snatched defeat. An old cliché, I know, but never more apt than to describe Guernsey’s last ball defeat by Jersey at Grainville on Saturday.
In an unfortunately gloating speech by man-of-the-match adjudicator, and former Jersey bowler, Jon Giles, the two sixes by Barry Vowden off Ralph Anthony’s last over and the last ball miss-field by Richard Veillard were blamed for the Sarnians defeat. But neither man deserved that, indeed Anthony had just as much claim to the individual award as the recipient, Colin Graham.
The game was entertaining throughout, particularly for the travelling supporters as the Guernsey side batted very well for 40 of the 50 overs and then bowled very well for 40 overs too. The home side never looked in it from 15 overs out, as they brought up their 100 chasing Guernsey’s 189-9.
Even after a couple of loose overs from Richard Headington and another from Anthony, together with a dropped catch by Gary Rich, albeit a very difficult ‘steepler’, the men in the green caps still looked to be cruising it.
Jersey were on 140 after 44 overs, needing 50 runs off the last six overs to snatch victory. This, I believe, is where the game was lost as skipper Ward Jenner persevered with the expensive Headington when more economic bowlers were available to him. Before being accused of being a Smart Alec after the event, photographer Chris George Will confirm that I was calling for Mark Poole to replace Headington after just one over from the Rovers’ man.
Jersey’s middle-order looked quite comfortable against Headington, whereas Poole had had their top order tied up in knots earlier on. Poole bowled superbly in an unbroken 12 over spell of economic line and length, while Mark Culverwell put in a hostile but controlled eight overs from the other end, ripping out Jersey schoolboy opener James Mashiter’s stumps in the seventh over for the only cleaned bowled of the game, both conceding just 2.25 runs per over.
Anthony replaced Culverwell and bowled 17 consecutive overs of nagging accuracy Which, apart from those two sixes, allowed the Jersey batsmen only five fours – effectively 16.4 overs, four for 54 (3.24 per over).
Gary Rich gave Poole a break but dropped the ball too short too often, and was perhaps lucky to get away with only 33 runs from his seven overs, before giving way to Headington. Rich did though remove the main danger man, Jersey opener Steve Blampied on 49. From my vantage point directly behind the stumps it seemed perhaps a rather hasty decision by Guernsey umpire Roy Skyrme, but he’s the man in the white coat and clearly in the best position to see.
In defence of Jenner though, with Anthony bowling tightly at the pavilion end, he could be forgiven for thinking he could afford the luxury of letting Headington carry on at the other end, particularly with the Caesareans needing 40 runs off the last four overs. The first ball of the 47th over saw Chris Jones meekly lobbing Anthony to Jenner at mid on and, even With Stuart Le Prevost spilling a relatively straight forward catch at deep cover off the last ball of the over, the Guernsey side were surely going to grab their first victory in the inter-insular for seven years. But Headington went for 10 runs off the 48th and the penultimate over of the game saw 17 smacked off the otherwise splendid Anthony as the Jerseymen swung desperately at every thing.
Vowden’s sixes off the first two balls were followed by a nicely judged catch by Le Prevost at deep mid wicket as the big man went for the same shot a third time, but another five runs were scrambled off the next three balls.
So, seven needed off six balls, then seven off five, five off four, five off three and five off two – Headington apparently bowling a tight over which would take the new Flemings inter-insular trophy to Guernsey. But then he bowled a wide and Simon Short and Colin Graham scrambled a leg bye off the next ball, leaving three required off the last ball. As Short smacked the delivery out towards the waiting hands of the normally reliable Richard Veillard, the Guernsey contingent began their celebrations.
But Veillard dropped it, fumbled in trying to pick up and throw, and the batsmen sprinted the three needed. Even the final run could have produced a different result, with some of the Guernsey fielders convinced that Graham had been run out – but the Jersey umpire did not agree.
The Guernsey lads were desolate, some inconsolable having come so near to breaking their island’s barren spell. It would be harsh to over-criticise Headington’s bowling spell for, earlier in the day, he had given a masterly batting display, top scoring for his side with 57 runs from 88 balls. Le Prevost also played a terrific innings, oozing confidence from the moment he creamed a glorious drive off only his second ball faced. Another superb Le Prevost cover drive brought up his side’s 100 in the 29th over and, with an exquisite leg glance from him also running away for four in the same over, it looked as though Guernsey would easily pass the 200 mark for the first time since 1989. Mark Clapham joined Le Prevost in an important middle-order partnership – during which the Optimists’ man built a patient innings of 30 as he steadied a slightly rocking ship and coaxed the young Cobo man to play his strokes.
An Atherton/Donald-type altercation took place in the 36th over, when Tony Carlyon ‘suggested’ that Clapham should have ‘walked’ after appearing to glove the ball to Short behind the stumps.
The Guernseyman preferred to let the umpire make the decision and Carlyon appeared to deliberately step across his path two balls later, after Clapham had smacked him through mid off for three, prompting further exchange between the two.
A delightful cameo innings of 17 by Rich was sadly marred by two run outs – one where he called Culverwell through for a suicidal quickie, and the other which saw him out of the blocks and running when it was Anthony’s call, and the veteran knew it was never on and sent him back,
The man-of-the-match adjudicator credited Graham with the two run outs but it was Rich’s enthusiasm to try to steer his side towards that magic 200 mark which really caused them.
With two overs to go the tail failed to wag, with Anthony and Poole scoring only one run each as the Guernsey innings closed on 189-9.
At the end of the day a couple more runs or a couple fewer loose overs would have seen the Sarnians returning home triumphant.
No-one can doubt that Guernsey were the better side on the day, deserving to win and don’t deserve to be teased about the result, unless you’re a Jerseyman called Giles, of course! That said, the Guernsey skipper must be rueing his decision not to bring back Poole and/or Culverwell, for those last few overs.
‘Lucky Seven’ by Paul Le Conte
Jersey completed a seventh successive senior inter-insular victory but only after the most remarkable and closest finish for years at Grainville on Saturday.
With Guernsey in the driving seat in the latter stages Jersey needed 24 off the last 12 balls to pass the Sarnian’s total of 189 for nine.
Two mighty swings of Bradley Vowden’s bat and the target was reduced to 12 off ten as he deposited Ralph Anthony, who had bowled superbly and troubled all the Jersey batsmen previously, for two huge sixes high into the bank to the delight of the home supporters and the remainder of his teammates. But all the drama wasn’t over. Vowden tried to repeat the dose with Anthony’s next delivery, caught the ball too high up on the bat, and was well pouched at deep mid wicket by Stuart Le Prevost.
Colin Graham joined Simon Short at the crease and a further five runs were scrambled leaving just seven more required for victory off the final over from Richard Headington. In the space of an over the advantage had shifted back to Jersey, but the pendulum was due to swing again as Graham connected with the second delivery to pick up two but then failed to connect with the next three, the last of them was deemed a wide down the leg side and Short scampered through for a leg bye off the penultimate ball.
The Jersey wicketkeeper was left to face the last ball knowing that two runs would tie the scores, which would have given Jersey the victory by virtue of having lost fewer wickets. Short hit the ball in the air to square leg and he and Graham just set off running. Richard Veillard only had to move a few yards to get to the ball but dropped the catch and then in his haste to gather the ball he fumble it. Short was safely back for the two and then found Graham flying down the track to the danger end for the winning run. The ball came in but not directly over the stumps – Graham dived home – wicketkeeper Mike Webber whipped the bails off but the Jersey batsman was in and the celebrations that few had dared anticipate ten minutes earlier could begin.
On a beautiful summer’s morning Guernsey’s skipper Ward Jenner had won the toss and had no hesitation in taking first use of what looked, and proved to be, an excellent wicket produced by groundsmen Bill Blampied and Ian Vautier. And his decision appeared vindicated as his batsmen got off to a solid start. But at 22 Nick Jewell held a fine low catch diving to his right at second slip to dismiss Andy Biggins off Graham who bowled very quickly.
Then the eagerly awaited tussle between Graham and Jenner was over almost before it started with Jenner, on 12, slicing an attempted drive to backward point where 18 year old James Mashiter took a good catch on his debut. And Veillard didn’t trouble the scorers for too long either, well caught in the covers by Stephen Blampied off a full-blooded drive off Chris Jones. Jones did a good job of putting the brakes on Guernsey, starting with three maidens and eventually conceded just 20 runs from his ten overs.
But all this time Richard Headington had been compiling the innings of the match. Solid in defence he was very strong to hook or pull anything short and the Jersey bowlers gave him too many such opportunities. However, soon after completing a fine half century, including eleven boundaries, the hook shot proved his downfall as he took on Mark Reynolds and hit the ball in the air to deep square leg where Blampied took another fine catch.
At 90 for 4 in the 25th over Guernsey still looked capable of scoring well over 200 and Stuart Le Prevost (31) and Mark Clapham (30) shared an entertaining stand of 50 before Graham removed the former in the third over of his second spell, this time from the pavilion end, caught at the wicket by Short.
Jersey’s bowling and fielding was equal to the task in the closing stages as Guernsey looked to pile on the runs. Graham caught a steepler off Tony Carlyon to remove Mike Webber, after Nick Jewell had earlier dropped two similar chances, and Graham was involved in two run outs – his lightning reactions in his follow through saw him scoop the ball up left-handed and hit the stumps on the run to dismiss Clapham.
Graham then had Mark Culverwell caught off another skier by Short who had to make a lot of ground and ended up diving full length. Then, fielding at mid-on, Graham ran out Rich, flicking the ball to bowler Carlyon who removed the bails. Graham, who finished with four for 74, had a hand in seven of the nine dismissals.
Jersey would have been delighted to keep the target down to 190 on a good track with a fast outfield and Mashiter and Blampied gave them a solid, if unspectacular start. Mashiter looked untroubled until he got an inside edge onto the stumps off Mark Culverwell. Blampied played the anchor innings and was eventually given out leg before to Gary Rich one short of a deserved half century.
After accurate opening spells by Culverwell and Poole spinners Anthony and Rich came on and also proved difficult to get away. Jersey fell behind the run rate and only brought up the hundred in the 35th over, with Carlyon (17), Gorman (22), Jones (16) and Peter Scott (21) all getting started but then getting out. All were caught and Guernsey took some good catches. But they also dropped five – none more vital than when Vowden had scored just 11, and obviously the crucial miss off the last ball of the game.
The 300-strong crowd enjoyed a tremendous day’s cricket, with the LS Insurance Male Voice Choir offering the occasional musical interlude from the bank.
Jersey Island cricket manager Keith Dennis commented ‘It was a tight game and winning in that situation doesn’t come down to experience. We just had luck on our side.’
‘Another defeat, but this was not the same old story’ by Andy Biggins
Seven years, seven inter-insular defeats. The same old story for Guernsey at Grainville last week? Think nothing of the sort! For a number of reasons last week’s performance at Grainville against the arch enemy subjected Sarnian players to perhaps the most deflating emotions possible. It was a game which, on reflection, Guernsey had so clearly won in all departments. It is matches like these that just simply cannot be forgotten. The cruel antithesis between agonising yet glorious defeat and shallow victory proved to be so fine. Ultimately it seemed the only thing Guernsey failed to do right was lift the impressive new Flemings Trophy.
Jersey manager, Keith Dennis, was the first to put things in perspective. ‘In games as close as these it is not experience that counts but luck.’ he said after the game. Not even a Jerseyman could deny Guernsey’s professionalism. Few could question the positive mentality new captain Ward Jenner installed in his side. A confident man produced a purposeful side. From the outset Guernsey batted positively, hit the bad ball and never once looked unlikely to set a total near 200, which as we all know is enough to send more than a few nagging doubts rife among any chasing side. And, with the ball, this is exactly what Guernsey did to the Caesareans.
Guernsey responded to the enthralling atmosphere created by a supportive and genuinely amusing crowd. It was edge-of-the-seat stuff that the perfect weather, venue and pitch assisted. Mark Culverwell and Mark Poole set the tone with an ideal opening partnership with the ball for Guernsey, just what the captain had asked for. Ralph Anthony followed that up with a vintage spell of spin bowling that was more worthy of the man of the match than that bowled by Jersey danger man Colin Graham.
On partisan adjudicator Jon Giles’ list were apparently seven names for the coveted award. Reluctantly he mentioned a few Guernsey players, Richard Headington and Stuart Le Prevost must have figured, the former compiling one of the classiest 50s I have seen, the latter weighing in with some equally impressive stroke-play and in the field considering the circumstances making two testing outfield catches look simple. It was testament to the pair of them that Graham’s threatening right-arm quick stuff, just short of a length, was dismissed so effortlessly. Yes Graham, back after a gap of seven years, picked up four wickets and Jersey are a better side with him, but he bowled just maiden over. Guernsey were up for his challenge as much as any other.
‘We went out with certain objectives following discussions we had as a team,’ said skipper Jenner. ‘We did so many things so right.’ Just how Guernsey lost is not easy to explain. No one incident can pinpoint why Jersey stole the honours. Both sides dropped catches, but with the bat and ball Guernsey seemed to have brushed Jersey out of the game. What it came down to was a couple of last-ditch, desperate, final roll-of-the-dice slogs from Jersey’s only remaining hope. Even then Guernsey responded. The two sixes from Bradley Vowden were clearly a turning point, Le Prevost gobbled him up, though. Even with seven required off the final over, Guernsey, who may have been considered outsiders for the first time in the match, fought back. Headington to bow, the last over was the right choice and for all his batting prowess it was with the ball that Headington was now duelling Graham. For a man-of-the-match Graham made a frightful mess of the final over, his efforts with the willow a scrambled leg-bye. Save a wide, Headington responded admirably, put the ball in the right place, but it was one of the cruellest quirks of fate that condemned Guernsey again. More surprising than anything it was an ecstatic Jersey that took the honours this year. It was a dedicated Guernsey team that reap the praise though. Channel Islands cricket needs more contests like this and though it will not be too much consolation for the defeated and deflated, Guernsey were not second best – anything but.
Ward Jenner was somewhat upset by the report and wrote a letter to the Sports Editor:
I am very disappointed in your correspondent’s report (which to my untrained eye reads more like critique) of the Inter-insular cricket match in which I was proud to be the Guernsey captain. I do not, for one moment, want it to be suggested that I am incapable of taking criticism for any of my decisions on the day. I do however find it galling and bordering on plain bad manners that your so-called correspondent feels that he is in a position to put across his own theories on cricket captaincy when he did not even have the decency to ask me to justify any of my carefully considered decisions on the day.
You may be interested to know that that was emphatically not the position with the Jersey Evening Post’s correspondent who actually made an effort to speak to me at some length immediately after the game. When he says in his final paragraph that ‘the Guernsey skipper must be rueing his decision …’ I would counter that by saying that if he had only had the journalistic nous to actually ask the question then he might have found out the answer. He actually threatens to accuse himself of being a ‘Smart Alec’ before defending himself by virtue of a conversation he alleges between himself and that well-known cricket expert Chris George.
I can only assume that he feels he has the credentials to captain a side, and a very good captain I am sure he would make seeing as he would be the only skipper I have known to be able to make decisions with the considerable advantage of already knowing what was going to happen next. I will not give your newspaper the benefit of any of the justifications for any of my decisions, at least not until I am able to speak to someone who actually has some understanding of the game, but I can quite easily give an alternative angle on all of the criticisms levelled. The most important points are:
I believe that your correspondent has a duty to report on the facts of the match, and to tread very carefully when it comes to questions of personal criticism. It is not as if any of us are paid to play the game. This to my mind applies particularly to comments about Richard Headington who in many observers’ eyes should have been given the Man of the Match award. Of course your correspondent is entitled to his own viewpoint but surely he should have accentuated the positive (i.e. his superb innings) and in order to be fair, restrained himself to a more factual account of his bowling performance. That brings me to my final point, which I would prefer not to express, but your newspaper’s report has clearly provoked me into making. The report to my mind is typical of the negative, whingeing attitude of a small but vocal minority of cricket followers in the island. Until those of us that are prepared to play the game in a positive, attacking way are supported by players, spectators and, to a certain degree the press, then I am afraid that I can see little way forward for the island side and, worst of all, we will lose the very players that we need to achieve the success that is owed to us.
The fact of the matter is that Guernsey played above themselves and thoroughly deserved to win the game. It is a great pity that unless you were there yourself to witness just how well we played, and if like a great number of cricket followers, your only knowledge of the game is via this report, you will now not know quite what a fantastic effort all the players put up.
Island cricket captain 1998
Sports editor’s comment:
I am sorry that Ward Jenner takes such offence at Neil Robilliard’s reporting of the inter-insular. As I am sure he is aware there are countless different opinions expressed as to what is a good captaincy decision. Neil, who has been captaining cricket teams for more than 20 years, admittedly not at island level, followed in a long tradition of Evening Press cricket reporting by giving his views in a story in which he pointed out clearly that the Guernsey players could not have done any more to have won the match. The point he thought he had made was that there were bowlers in the team who had bowled economically earlier in the match and that he would have used one of those to bowl the last over. His comment was not intended to be a criticism of the ability of Ward Jenner to captain the side nor of Richard Headington’s ability as a bowler.