60-56 Top cricketers

60 – Jason Martin

GUERNSEY’S player of the year in 2016 and such is the quality of the Griffin’s glovework that Sussex took a very close look at him a few years back. That was before he emerged as a quickly improving goalkeeper and first choice at St Martin’s, where he has picked up two Priaulx League winner’s medals in four seasons. Sadly, cricket has taken a back seat in recent times, but there remains plenty of time for him to win back the gloves and also bolster the middle order with his stylish batting. Made his full Island debut in 2014 and to date has scored a more than adequate 144 runs in five matches against Jersey.       

His overall Guernsey appearances number 25 and he has taken 29 catches and made eight stumpings, including some game-changing ones on the international scene.

Notable performances:

2015 –          33* v France Euro T20

2016 –          64 Gsy v Jsy; 33 v Oman WCL

2017 –          38* Gsy v Jsy

59 – Zak Damarell

IN 2016, 38 years after his father, lan, had won his first Island cap, young Zak became Guernsey cap No. 182. Other than being left-handed, there are many similarities between the father and son, in that both open, like to get on with it and, often to their downfall, put the ball in the air when pulling or hooking, but is invariably good value for the spectator. However, being one of the best hockey players on the island with a fierce strike on the reverse makes him a natural timer of a ball and he is always willing to back his attacking instinct. Zak, like his Dad, is also a wicket- keeper of real note and although perhaps not in the top bracket behind the stumps, is still improving that part of his game. His batting, too, continues to progress and added consistency to his game saw him named Guernsey cricketer of the year last year. Initially an Optimists player, he is now chasing a Dlvlsion One winner’s medal with Indies, while playing for Cobo at weekends. He has also been in the runs for he MCC against his alma mater, Elizabeth College and his Island colleagues in recent times.

Notable performances:

2013 –          24 v Italy and 32 v Gibraltar in Euro T20 on same day

2014 –          WCL 21 v Nigeria, 29 v Tanzania, 31 v Malaysia, 43 v Jersey in his only WCL tournament in Malaysia

58 – Philip Sarre

EMERGED from the school of Jack Reddish coached Elizabeth College cricketers at the start of the 1960s and by 1962 had risen to captain. A strong all-rounder in a team which already had one in Pierre Le Cocq, Sarre opened the batting, hit the ball hard and the highlight of his final year was a brilliant 175 not put against visiting Forest School. ‘He enjoys attacking the bowling and he is now doing it with a straight bat,’ wrote the coach in The Elizabethan that summer and before he headed off to university won his first Island cap on the Victoria College ground.

It proved a sound choice as the student raced to 31 of an opening stand with 36, although partner Stan Cleal would go on to a century. Guernsey won by 63 runs and Sarre bowled seven economical overs in the process. Now an OE, he retained his place in the 1963 side when he again bowled first change as well as opening the batting. Two years earlier, he had scored an undefeated 62 as Elizabeth chased down a small target to beat Victoria.

57 – Ben Ferbrache

DOMESTICALLY, one of the most consistent batsmen Guernsey has seen for more than a decade and still improving. That said, his representative record does not do his skills and outstanding commitment to the game justice. A College captain, he made his full Island debut in 2908, having impressed team manager Dave Hearse having taken himself away to play league cricket with Cheltenham. It was not the happiest of debuts, he scored just four in a defeat, and eight inter-insulars since has continued to struggle for runs. In ICC games he has done better with two half-centuries and there was a fine 41 in an inter-insular T20 game, but you sense he has far more in his locker. A terrific fielder with a great arm, his enthusiasm rubs off on others and he has done as much as he can to improve his game, including playing a few seasons for Middleton in the Sussex League. For a good time now Cobo have benefited greatly from his runs and with his fitness levels you sense there will be many more years ahead of him in the Island team.

Notable performances:

2009 –          51 v Bahrain WCL

2015 –          55* v Italy in Euro T20; 68* v Botswana in Essex for WCL

56 – GH Smit

THE early 2000s were, in terms of rugby and cricket, as significant for the arrival of several high-class South Africans. And in 2005, the year one TJ Smit kicked the winning points as Guernsey’s rugby players shocked Jersey at St Peter, brother GH – his real name – made his bow for the Guernsey inter-insular side.

He was one of three South Africans to play in Andy Biggins’ dominant Guernsey team and while his performance was adequate (14 runs batting at No. 7) it would improve over the years when he would become a regular feature in Island sides playing at inter-insular or ICC level. Smit was an Optimists player back then and in naming his side, Island manager Dave Hearse said of him: ‘Smit has been proven hitter this season’. A year later, when the Greens won a fifth straight inter- insular, Smlt cracked 38 from 32 balls, doing the job he was picked for. His place was assured for the next seven seasons as he moved up and down the order. For the last three of those matches he opened and although failing in the first game, recovered to smash 40 and 37 in the 2012 and 2013 games. Overall, he has totalled a shade under 1,000 runs for Guernsey with four half-centuries and 12 wickets. Voted player of the year in 2007 and 2012 and weekend cricketer of the year in 2010 and 2012.

Knee troubles have been a big hindrance to him for many years but now, in his veteran years playing for Wanderers-Rovers, is still bashing out big scores on a fairly regular basis. Pugnacious, brave, a handy spinner and a great team man.