5 Top cricketer

5 – Matt Stokes

SITTING at five today in the countdown, but perhaps it could be No.1 if a similar exercise is held in 10 to 15 years’ time. Still in his early 20s, the Old Elizabethan is the island’s great modern-day all-rounder and there are plenty of stats to prove it. Not so long ago, Leicestershire had a good look at him and so too did Sussex, while he also advanced his game.

The first of his six inter-insulars came in 2013, when he was in the lower sixth at the College. Although clearly a player of great promise it was not the most memorable of senior debuts, 1 for 49 from 10 overs and a single run batting at 10, but he was about to get a whole lot better as the Nic Pothas influence took a grip. In 2014 he stunned Victoria College with a wonderful all- round performance, taking five wickets and then adding a century as the Guernsey school chased down 197 to win by eight wickets. Stokes scored an undefeated 108 from 120 deliveries faced and 80 of those runs came in fours.

In the long history of the inter- collegiate games arguably there has never been a finer individual performance and no longer did anybody need convincing of his potential, not least Pothas, who was perhaps his biggest fan and influence.

The return game against Victoria saw Stokes come within just 12 runs of a second ‘ton’ against the brown caps and later that summer his second crack at the full inter-insular saw him thrust nine places up the order to open and he scored 24 as well as claiming another wicket.

Pothas had plans for Stokes and his other young charges, one of them being to send them off to the UK to test and harden their games in the Sussex Premier League or Hampshire’s Southern Premier.

Stokes found a new temporary home at St Cross Symondians and that summer he posted another superb century against Oxfordshire. Even though still a student, Stokes was named overall GCA player of the year, having won the best young cricketer award a year earlier.

Until this point, Peter Gough’s talented Jersey side had heard a good deal about Stokes, but not yet felt the full force of it. In 2015 that changed. In the only inter-insular game to be played at Port Soif, he delivered eight pinpoint overs for 11 runs and as Guernsey chased a target, scored 86 of the first 141 on the board, departing with a mere 17 required.

Jersey innings                                                                 R             B             4’s          6’s

JW Jenner            c J Nussbaumer b O Newey          20           19           3             0

*PW Gough        c B Ferbrache     b M Stokes          53           96           2             0

BDH Stevens                                     b W Fazakerley  9             18           1             0

N Ferraby            lbw                       b D Hooper         22           34           1             0

+EJ Farley            c M Stokes          b M Ellis               4             12           0             0

C Bisson               run out (J Nussbaumer)                 2             13           0             0

AW Kay                c J Martin†          b W Fazakerley  8             33           0             0

CW Perchard                                    b D Hooper         3             7             0             0

B Kynman            run out (D Hooper/M Stokes)      6             17           0             0

RJG Palmer         not out                                              9             21           1             0

E Miles                 st J Martin          b T Ravenscroft 0             4             0             0

Extras                   (w 17, b 1, lb 3)                               21

Total                     (in 45.4 overs)                                 157

                              Ov          Mdn       Run        Wkt        Av’ge     S/R

M Stokes             8             3             11           1             1.38       11.00    

O Newey             5             0             31           1             6.20       31.00     (w 1)

W Fazakerley      5             0             26           2             5.20       13.00     (w 8)

J Nussbaumer     5             0             15           0             3.00       –              (w 4)

M Ellis                  6             0             29           1             4.83       29.00    

D Hooper             10           1             19           2             1.90       9.50      

T Ravenscroft     6.4         0             22           1             3.30       22.00    

Guernsey innings                                                           R             B             4’s          6’s         

MWR Stokes       c PW Gough       b N Ferraby         86           142        7             0

JNL Wilkes-Green             run out (PW Gough)        21           84           1             0

OE Newey           c JW Jenner        b BDH Stevens   28           44           1             1

TJ Ravenscroft   not out                                              9             7             0             1

TW Nightingale  run out (CW Perchard)                   0             2             0             0

LB Ferbrache      lbw                       b CW Perchard   0             3             0             0

DR Hooper          not out                                              7             6             1             0

Extras                   (w 3, nb 1, b 2, lb 1)                       7

Total                     (for 5 wickets in 47.5 overs)         158

Did not bat: WN Fazakerley, JAJ Nussbaumer, JC Martin† MLA Ellis

                              Ov          Mdn       Run        Wkt        Av’ge     S/R

AW Kay                6.0         0             17           0             2.83       –              (w 2)

B Kynman            8.0         4             15           0             1.88       –              (w 1)

BDH Stevens       9.5         1             36           1             3.66       36.00    

CW Perchard      6.0         1             22           1             3.67       22.00    

E Miles                 3.0         0             19           0             6.33       –             

N Ferraby            10.0       2             26           1             2.60       26.00    

RJG Palmer         5.0         1             20           0             4.00       –              (nb 1)

Man-of-the-match           Matt Stokes

Another man-of-the-match effort arrived two years later, this time for his 72 as he battled in vain to set a winning target. His brilliance has often been evident in ICC tournaments, twice claiming man of the match awards.

His 135 in World Cricket League Six came against Botswana in 2015 and all told he has so far passed 50 six times in Island colours, as well as that 135.

Guernsey innings                                                                         R             B             4s           6s          

MWR Stokes                      not out                                              135        139        12           0

JNL Wilkes-Green             c Mosweu           b Tshose              7             44           1             0

OE Newey                          c Mosweu           b Ameer Saiyed 30           55           2             1

TJ Ravenscroft                  c Mosweu           b Tshose              58           37           5             2

LB Ferbrache                     not out                                              68           27           6             5

TW Nightingale, DR Hooper, JC Martin+, JAJ Nussbaumer*, MLA Ellis, WN Fazakerley dnb

Extras                   (b 2, lb 1, w 10, nb 2)                                    15                                                       

Total                     (for 3 wickets in 50 overs)                           313       

Botswana bowling           O            M           R             W           Econ     

R Withey                             9             1             63           0             7.00       (5w)

A Rangaswamy                 10           0             72           0             7.20       (3w)

JWN Moses                        1.4         0             11           0             6.60      

T Tshose                             9.2         2             41           2             4.39       (2nb)

K Modise                            10           0             59           0             5.90      

D Maisuria                          5             0             35           0             7.00      

Ameer Saiyed                    5             0             29           1             5.80       (2w)

Botswana innings                                                         R             B             4s           6s

G Mokokwe        c Hooper             b Newey              3             4             0             0

K Motlanka*       c Ravenscroft     b Newey              27           38           5             0

K Modise                                           b Newey              19           12           4             0

W Tajbhay           c Newey              b Fazakerley       16           53           1             0

Ameer Saiyed     c Nussbaumer    b Nightingale      32           79           0             0

R Mosweu†                                       b Ellis                    2             16           0             0

JWN Moses                                       b Hooper             0             2             0             0

T Tshose              c Fazakerley       b Nightingale      22           23           2             1

A Rangaswamy  c Ferbrache        b Nightingale      11           13           1             0

R Withey              not out                                              6             8             0             0

D Maisuria           run out (Stokes/†Martin)              5             14           0             0

Extras                   (lb 7, w 11, nb 1)                             19                                                       

Total                     (in 43.3 overs)                                  162

Guernsey bowling            O            M           R             W           Econ     

MWR Stokes                      3             0             26           0             8.66      

OE Newey                          7             2             19           3             2.71       (1w)

JAJ Nussbaumer                5             0             17           0             3.40       (1w)

DR Hooper                         7             0             17           1             2.42       (2w)

WN Fazakerley                  5             0             12           1             2.40       (1nb, 4w)

MLA Ellis                             6             1             23           1             3.83       (1w)

TW Nightingale                 7.3         0             34           3             4.53       (2w)

TJ Ravenscroft                  3             0             7             0             2.33      

In the most recent pre-Covid 50-over clash against the Caesareans, he added another 74 to his tally and this summer scored a very rare domestic double-century for the new Old Elizabethan Association side, followed by a knock of 121 and a half-century off the MCC attack.

For older readers who might wish for a player comparison, the best we can come up with is Pierre Le Cocq at his very best, but a better batsman.

Other notable scores:

World Cricket League 75 v Ghana in 2017, 48* v Nigeria in 2016, 82 v Vanuatu in 2016

Sussex League 5-14 v Ifield in 2016, 63 v Three Bridges in 2016, 53 v Mayfield in 2017, 51 & 3-28 v Montefiore in 2017, 82* & 2-24 v Worthing in 2017