50-46 Top cricketers

50 – Glen Milnes

ST PIERRE could not have believed their luck two decades ago when, out of the blue, a first-class player in his late 20s arrived to play for them. The New Zealand cricketer had played six first-class games and 47 matches in all for Central Districts in the late 1990 and early 2000s and was talented enough to represent both the New Zealand Development team and national youth team, as well as playing a part in Nelson winning the provincial Hawke Cup competition. In Guernsey, it was immediately evident that they had been handed a gift by his arrival and in 2002, having helped St Pierre to their first Evening league crown and appeared for Rovers at weekends, he played a key role as Guernsey ended a long run of inter-insular defeats. Milnes opened with the recalled Mark Clapham and Milnes settled and played a couple of delightful shots through the leg side – a pull and a whip off his legs – in scoring 24. His off-spinners then accounted for three Jersey wickets in a memorable 35-run victory. Retained his place in the 2003 side, again opening and scoring a dozen in another Sarnian win although injury prevented him from bowling that swelteringly hot day. But sadly, he was then off to pursue his career elsewhere.

49 – John Beasley

2021 is the 30th anniversary of this fine all-rounder’s one and only appearance in the full Island side, but do not let that kid you that the Englishman was not a fine player. Prior to taking up a teaching post on island he was something of a cricketing legend in his home county of Sussex where he starred for Eastbourne. Good enough to play for Sussex 2nds, the scorecard accompanying this recollection of his career shows him scoring half-centuries in both innings against Glamorgan at Bexhill- on-Sea. ‘Beasles’ or ‘Beas’ was, in Guernsey terms, top class but held the firm belief that the inter-insular was for Guernseymen and not outsiders like himself. But, nevertheless, Optimists and GICC were glad to have his services for many years and although a clever medium-pacer, it was his middle-order batting that made him invaluable. He could adapt to any situation. If there was a need to prop up an end, he was very hard to remove. If quick runs were required, he could hit with the best. ‘The best all-round player I have ever played with,’ said former team-mate and Island captain, Mark Clapham. ‘He always knew what he was doing.’ As for that solitary Guernsey appearance, he batted down at six and contributed seven runs, but had he wanted, there would have been so many more caps. Very popular in the dressing room, he would have enjoyed the 1991 post-match celebrations.

48 – John Le Poidevin

BOTH a fine hard-hitting batsman of the 1960s and also someone who played a huge role in the development of the game and publicising of it. The latter first. As the first sports editor to be hired by the Guernsey Press, ‘JleP’ as he was lovingly and commonly known, ensured the game got the column inches he felt it deserved. Under his watch, cricket took even greater prominence in the sports pages and he set the standards which the paper has sought to maintain after his retirement a quarter of a century or so ago. Administratively, he also played a major role within the Guernsey Cricket league, serving as its representative captain, then four years as vice-president and three as president. As a player, he was awarded his Island cap in 1960 having won his place in the full Island team two summers previously as a first-change seamer and lower-order bat with a flashing blade. He was to win two more caps over the following seasons and although none of his performances were telling, he remained a fairly heavy run scorer in the evening game and, for many years, this one-time Pessimists and Pilgrims player, having decided lower-division cricket with the Press was no longer satisfying him, joined Cobo where he was a regular match-winner for a side that slowly improved to the extent they ultimately briefly toppled the ‘un-toppable’, Rovers A. His opening combination with Micky Mechem was consistently effective and he had a good habit of finding the gaps with his lofted drives down the ground. Continued playing until the mid-1970s and in his latter seasons played an important innings at the top of the order as Cobo beat Rovers A in the 1972 GCA KO Final.

Notable performances:

1960 –          26 & 6-26 Press v Pilgrims; 5-11 GICC v EC; 5-44 Press v Queens Coll

1962 –          68 GCL v HMS Venus

1964 –          53 GCL v GICC

1965 –          61* Cobo v Pilgrims; 53 Cobo v Rovers; 63 Cobo v Optimists

1966 –          63 GICC v EC

1967 –          49* GICC v London Cricket Society; 54* Cobo v Pilgrims; 49 Cobo v Pessimists; 59* Cobo v Rovers; 64 Presidents’ XI v Rest

1968 –          51* Cobo v Rovers; 68* Cavbaliers v Nomads

1969 –          45* Cobo v Rovers

1970 –          63 Cobo v Rovers; 61 Sarnian TC v Gillingham XI

47 – Tom Kimber

LIKE his father, Gary, and grandfather, Bob, before him, Tom not only won the Young Cricketer of the Year award but, like them, became a full Island player of distinction. It was in 2010 that he won the first of his five inter-insular appearances but his best performances in a Guernsey shirt came in ICC matches. His tally of 610 international runs included four half-centuries, 39 catches and 21 stumpings and he often rose to the occasion in Guernsey colours. A gutsy performer, that was highlighted with his undefeated 41 in the 2014 inter-insular and 42 not out against Gibraltar in 2010. There was also a superb quickfire 87 in a European T20 clash with Norway in 2015, but the best performance was undoubtedly an outstanding 82 not out which won the World league Six final against Malaysia in 2011. Chasing 208 set by the home nation the Sarnians looked dead and buried at 65 for seven. But, in conjunction with Dave Hooper (45) and Jamie Nussbaumer (17 not out), Kimber turned matters around spectacularly and Guernsey won by two wickets with three balls to spare. Domestically, played much of his cricket with St Pierre.

Other notable score:

2010 –          42* v Gibraltar Euro 50 overs

46 – Brian Anthony

THE elder brother of Ralph, was a fine middle-order batsman who had won his place in the Elizabeth College 1stXI from 1955 to 1957 where he also won admiration for his wicket-keeping qualities. In his second season in the 1st XI his undefeated 55 was crucial as Elizabeth chased down 123 to beat Victoria and the following year he scored an undefeated 116 as the school beat a strong Principal’s XI. By now he was captain and he added another century against Optimists, a club he was to join and win the Evening league with, and in the second game against Victoria stroked 69 at No. 3.

Topping the batting averages that summer no less a judge than Vernon Collenette noted this of him in the Elizabethan: ‘An accomplished and fluent batsman who is always looking for runs’, adding ‘but of more value to his side as a wicket-keeper of great agility’. Post-College he won his first Island cap in 1960 and was in and out of the side over the coming few seasons. In 1964 there was an impressive 44 for the GCL against the JCL and two years later 49 not out for GICC against JICC.

Notable performances:

1960 –          80 GICC v Pessimists

1962 –          70* Gsy XI v Presidents’ XI; 55 OE v GICC

1964 –          44 GCL v JCL

1965 –          42* Optimists v Tektronix; 43 GICC v EC; 57* Optimists v Harlequins

1966 –          49* GICC v JICC