30-26 Top cricketers

30 – Richard Headington

ARRIVED to bolster Rovers in the early 1990s and immediately showed himself to be one of the most stylish and successful batsman in island cricket for a decade. In eight inter-insular matches from 1994 he seldom set the big game alight, but in 1998 he scored an accomplished half-century as Andy Biggins’ opening partner and he captained Guernsey in both 2000 and 2001. There were other handy contributions with the bat, but in domestic cricket he was a very heavy scorer for the Port Soif club with which he still plays as a veteran.

Also a capable medium pacer and took three Caesarean wickets in his time as an Island player, as well as playing as a wicketkeeper batsman in the 2004 win against Jersey.

29 – Vernon Collenette

WHEN, in 1950, Guernsey and Jersey met in the first full inter-insular, this tall, athletic all-rounder, opened the batting and bowling for the defeated Sarnians, as well as being chosen captain. In batting terms, the former Oxford Authentics man held his own that day with 29, but he went wicket-less and Jersey won comfortably. Three years later he was back to captain Guernsey, batting himself at No. 8 and taking 1 for 30. So ended his representative career, concentrating instead on track and field where he marvelled in the long jump. At Elizabeth College, his sporting days were hampered by the war years and the school enduring a very limited sporting schedule while exiled in the UK. In 1942, as captain, he headed both the batting and bowling averages: ‘Excellent bat, much improved, it afraid to hit the ball,’ wrote E. B. Waite in the Elizabethan. The following summer should have seen him captain once again, but illness prevented him from playing at all. With Elizabeth back home and Collenette now a teacher, he watched over the College 1st XIs for many years.

Notable performances:

1948 –          24 & 5-24 GICC v EC; 74* Pilgrims v EC; 5-30 Rovers v Pessimists; 4-16 OE v GICC; 45 GICC v Stoats CC

1949 –          79* & 4-18 Rovers v Pessimists; 4-5 GICC v EC; 42 & 3-29 OE v EC; 32 & 3-20 GICC v EC; 27 & 3-84 GICC v GCL; 61 GICC v Wine Trade

1950 –          41 & 3-20 GICC v HMS Illustrious; 65* GICC v EC;5-25 OE v EC; 98 & 2-30 GICC v Buccanears

1951 –          100 & 4-38 OE v EC; 34 & 9-58 Masters XI v EC; 50* & 3-15 OE v GICC

1952 –          4-24 GICC v Incogniti; 27* & 3-60 Masters XI v EC; 5-39 GICC v JICC

1954 –          7-30 Rovers v Pilgrims; 52* & 7-38 OE v EC; 7-27 GICC v Incogniti

1955 –          4-33 GICC v JICC; 9-25 GICC v Jsy BEA; 43* & 4-99 GICC v Incogniti

1961 –          5-68 Masters XI v EC; 5-54 Rovers v EC; 4-32 OE v OV

28 – Jon Ravenscroft

ONE of the finest post-war Elizabeth College all-rounders and who knows how much better it could have been, but for a move to Millfield School aged 16. But in two years in the College first team ‘JR’ excelled, particularly as a fast-medium bowler. In 1879 he took 6 for 7 as Victoria College were shot out for 44, 4 for 35 against Millfield and 8 for 8 against King Edward’s School of Southampton.

The Elizabethan magazine noted: ‘At times his bowling was unplayable’ and it earned him a Public Schools trial.’ The following summer there were more outstanding bowling efforts for the College as well as an undefeated 39 against Victoria and a gritty 22 against MCC from a measly team total of 77. ‘An exciting bat’ penned coach Robin Winstone. After his time at Millfield School he played for the Worcestershire 2nds but then headed to London and a career in stockbroking. A spell playing for Hampstead in the tough London League made him an improved cricketer. By 1985 the young all-rounder was back on island for a spell and had booked his place in a victorious Guernsey side on the back of a fine performance in the inter-league game in Jersey a few weeks beforehand.

Given his track record it was never likely going to be a bad choice and, come the big day at the College Field, ‘responded with a key 38 batting at No. 6 and figures of 2 for 25 from 11 overs as Guernsey won.

Ravenscroft, who played some fine forcing shots off the back foot, shared the man-of-the- match award with Ralph Anthony, the pair rescuing the home team with a settling fifth-wicket partnership of 42 after Guernsey had slipped to 50 for 4. A year later Ravenscroft was captain and experienced the pain of defeat, but batting at No. 6 he oversaw another ‘Green’ win in 1987. Business then took over and but for a year when he skippered the Guernsey second team against JCL 2nds, his senior inter-insular career was over.

In club cricket, he helped turn the one-time greats Pessimists into a force once more at the end of the Eighties. In 1987, seven years after he had scored a superb 46 for Pessimists in the GCA KO final, he led them to a first Division One title in very nearly 30 years.

27 – Simon Hollyer-Hill

RELIABLE right-hand opening batsman who was to play eight inter-insulars from 1964 to 1972 and made captain for three of those games. Those eight games yielded a mere 127 runs, but throw in six wickets with his leg breaks, and with his astute captaincy made for a mighty fine player. Vernon Collenette probably got it dead right when, in the Elizabethan magazine review of the College 1st XI season, wrote: ‘Not spectacular but is very sound, especially on the leg side, adding, ‘a most reliable opening bat who has been the side’s sheet anchor’.

Over decades playing for Tektronix in the Evening League, he certainly was highly accomplished in that sheet anchor role. Tektronix were never going to win anything, but without Hollyer-Hill, who formed a reliable opening partnership with the under-rated Rex Martel, they would have been sunk from day one. In the 1979 season he amassed just short of 500 Evening League runs for ‘Tek’, only three players bettering his efforts that summer. For the Island side there was an accomplished 33 in a big first wicket stand with Alan Bisson in 1965, and the following season they again stunted the Jersey new- ball bowlers as Hollyer-Hill crawled to 24 and was not out until 71 were on the board.

In 1967, he again dug in for a fine 48 as opener and in a bore draw he chipped in with 3 for 29 from nine overs of leggies, By 1970 he was captain of the side and chose to bat himself at No. 7. But like everyone else that day, he was blown away by the very quick Tony Howeson.

He remained captain for two more inter-insulars, batting himself down the order, a sign of the selectors trusting in his leadership skills.

Notable scores:

1959 –          68 EC v Rovers; 62 EC v GICC; 55 OE v GICC

1963 –          53 GCL v EC

1965 –          45* Tektronix v Cobo

1966 –          4-53 GCL v EC; 40 & 2-36 GICC v JICC; 65 GICC v Incogniti

1968 –          47* Tek v Pessimists; 64* Presidents’ XI v Rest

1970 –          52 Tek v Pessimists; 69* Tek v Harlequins; 22 & 4-31 Tek v Harlequins; 54 & 4-26 Tek v Pilgrims

26 – Andy Biggins

THE most successful Guernsey captain there has ever been. The left-hander captained the Island five times against Jersey between 2002 and 2006 and won them all as, finally, the Sarnians enjoyed a sustained run of success over the old enemy. In 2001, ahead of those captaincy days, he struck a superb 71 to partially rescue a sorry situation for the Greens who were 37 for 5 at one stage.

His innings lasted over two hours and was comfortably the top Guernsey score on a day when they lost by 50 runs. Born in Jersey, where his fast-bowling father, Peter, had won representative honours, he came through Elizabeth College and then was a backbone of successful Optimists sides for many years, including the back-to-back Evening League championship years of 2000 and 2001.

All told, he played 11 inter-insulars and was part of the Guernsey side that played in the 2006 European 50-over Championships.

Six years after his final inter-insular he played in two World Cricket League 5 games in Singapore. A very fine fielder with a strong arm and still playing occasional Division One cricket as he approaches his 50th birthday.