11 Top cricketer

11 – Alan Bisson

IN COLLEGE terms they never quite matched the performances of the Blads four decades earlier, but the Bisson brothers probably rank second in terms of batting talent at the crease. The 1950s was a prime time for batting talent at Elizabeth College and although John Bisson, the elder brother, was first to make a real mark on the school cricket fields, it was Alan who scored heavily in domestic senior cricket after returning to the island during the holidays post-graduation. Only four men have scored more runs for Guernsey in inter-insulars than Alan who produced a superb 92 in the 1960 game. Dropped on 24 that morning at the College Field in Jersey, he very nearly made the home side pay fully in a tight win for the Caesareans, hitting ‘some glorious boundary shots and was a little unlucky not to reach his century’ wrote the Press. As it was, of the 116 Guernsey runs scored before lunch, he struck 70.

Five years earlier and while still at the College, Vernon Collenette described the younger as ‘very quick on his feet and hooks the short ball as well as anyone’. The highlight of his final season at the College was a brilliant 135 not out against GICC in 1956. He also top-scored against Victoria with an unbeaten 42.

That very season his all-round skills were also evident against the Caesareans, taking 4 for 23 for GICC against JICC. Although it was many years before he returned to the island full time, he continued to play in his summer holidays and a domestic century came most summers. He liked batting against the strong Incogniti tourists, scoring an undefeated 112 against them in 1961 and 199 two years later. There was also a fine hundred for GlCC against Rovers in August 1966, 144 for Old Elizabethans v. Old Victorians in 1968 and 102 for GlCC against Pessimists in 1969.

The second of those centuries is worth highlighting for three reasons: the rarity of the match between the two old boy associations, the strength of the OEs side (see scorecard) and the brilliance of the OE opener whose ‘sensational’ 144 came up in just 115 minutes and included three sixes and 22 fours. At the other end, Pierre Le Cocq tootled along for 68. Having rattled up 305 for 6 declared at the Memorial Field, the visitors were shot out for 101, Bisson taking 5 for 37.

He had long stopped playing regularly when, in 1981 and aged 44, he stepped in to help Optimists field a side in the GCA KO final. With the bulk of the Optis mainstays on tour in the Mediterranean, the veteran returned for the final and although he did not succeed with the bat (11 at No. 3) it is arguable he should have scooped the man- of-the-match award for his 5 for 21 in a winning cause.

One man who would not have been surprised to see those figures would have been Collenette who, a quarter-of-a- century earlier, had written: ‘His medium slow bowling has been of great value to the side; he moves the ball in the air and off the pitch and varies his pace with great skill.’ That late August day in 1981 it was certainly too good for the naive Cobo batting.

As for brother John, post his further education he forged a career in the UK and, in domestic terms, did not capitalise on his skills as an opening batsman.

Describing his skills in the Elizabethan magazine, no less a judge than Island captain Collenette wrote of him: ‘An excellent opening bat … a very correct stroke player,’ adding: ‘He is not a quick scorer but has the patience to wait for the runs to come.’ Together with Alan, two years his junior, they often opened the innings together.

The 1960 Inter- Insular scorecard:

Guernsey innings

R W Clark               c Hamon      b Newton     3

R D Self                  run out                             1

A C Bisson              c O’Brien      b Newton     92

M I Lloyd                c & b Poree                      31

B A Anthony                               b Knight       8

*W F Druce            c Newton      b Knight       4

J H Le Poidevin       c Le Marquand b Knight    2

+W Robilliard         c Hamon      b Newton     2

R K Tobias                                  b Newton     11

I N McCave             c sub            b Knight       0

R T Kirkpatrick       not out                             0

Extras          (b, lb, w, nb)                              4

Total            (in 56.3 overs)                           158

Bowling

D Le Marquand       9-1-26-0

G Newton               25-4-56-4

R Gelsthorpe          4-1-9-0

D Lewis-Bowen       3-0-14-0

C Poree                  3-0-19-1

G Knight                 12.3-3-30-4

Jersey innings

P O’Brien                lbw               b Self           19

B Ollier                   c Druce        b Self           50

P Le Cras                c Robilliard   b Self           0

W Blampied            c Lloyd         b Self           31

*G Knight               lbw               b Tobias       24

R Gelsthorpe          lbw               b Self           2

+G Hamon             c Lloyd         b Self           0

G Newton               st Robilliard b Tobias       6

D Lewis-Bowen       not out                             14

D Le Marquand       not out                             3

R Poree dnb

Extras          (b, lb, w, nb)                              10

Total            (for 8 wickets in 48 overs)         159

Bowling

I McCave                9-0-29-0

Self                        20-4-55-6

A Bisson                 8-1-26-0

R Tobias                 11-0-39-2

The scorecard for the 1968 game between the OEs and the OVs:

Old Elizabethans innings

A C Bisson              c Moisan       b Gilkes                  144

J Van Leuven                              b Hunt                    5

P Le Cocq               st Ferguson   b Poree                  68

R C N Roussel         c Brooks       b de Ste Croix        15

P V Sarre                                    b Poree                  27

M I Lloyd                c Gilkes        b Poree                  17

L A S Martel           not out                                       17

R J Young               not out                                       2

DW Boalch, JH Wallis, GA Callaway dnb

Bowling

Hunt                       16-4-67-1

Moisan                    3-0-20-0

Gilkes                     8-0-44-1

Poree                     17-1-78-3

De Ste Croix           10-0-63-1

Le Lievre                3-0-23-0

Old Victorians innings

J Moisan                                     b Callaway             2

D Hunt                   c Sarre         b Bisson                  35

C Poree                  c Boalch        b Sarre                   0

D Ferguson             run out                                       22

P Le Lievre             run out                                       7

R de Ste Croix        st Young       b Bisson                  20

J Gilkes                                      b Bisson                  2

M Burke                                      b Callaway             1

R Brooks                                     b Bisson                  6

D Boleat                 not out                                       5

P Boleat                                      b Bisson                  0

Extras                                                                       1

Total                                                                         101

Bowling:

Callaway                11-4-17-2

Sarre                      5-1-13-1      

Le Cocq                  5-1-25-0

Bisson                     13.1-1-37-5

Wallis                     3-2-8-0

Other notable performances:

1954 –          70 & 20-7 EC v GICC, 72 EC v GICC, 41 & 4-28 EC v VC

1955 –          68 & 2-25 GICC v Pedagogues, 46 & 2-22 EC v King Edward school, 52 v Hardye school, 6-24 EC v OEs,

21 & 5-25 EC v GICC

1956 –          71 EC v Optimists, 70 & 3-26 EC v GICC

1959 –          67 GICC v Jsy BEA, 35 & 5-37 GICC v JICC

1961 –          72* OE v GICC

1963 –          61* GICC v EC

1964 –          60 GICC v GCL, 79 & 2-43 GICC v Wine Trade

1965 –          75 Gsy v Jsy, 55 GICC v Wine Trade

1966 –          101 GICC v Rovers

1967 –          87 GICC v JICC, 66 GICC v Optimists

1968 –          51 GICC v Hampshire Hogs

1969 –          78 GICC v Wine Trade