4 Nations Tournament supported by ICC Europe

New Euro League

GUERNSEY’S top cricketers will have an additional international challenge in 2014. A meeting held at the ICC European Cricket Conference in Bologna, Italy, has rubber-stamped a new round-robin league competition, to be held in Sussex next summer. Mark Latter, the Guernsey Cricket Board chief executive, was in Bologna with director of cricket Nic Pothas and is ‘highly delighted’ with the development which will give the national side even more testing cricket. ‘To prepare ourselves for future ICC World Cricket League competition we wanted to explore a new 50 overs “European League” involving the ICC Europe fourth-to-seventh-ranked nations being ourselves along with Italy, Denmark and Jersey,’ said Latter on his return. ‘It has now been given the green light. Everyone was highly receptive to it and we are looking at staging it in July in the UK, simply because the costs of travelling to the Channel Islands, which could have staged it, are simply too much,’ he added. ‘Exactly where and when depends on the ECB fixture list. When that is published we can see which grounds are free.’ The GCB CEO said that international competition is ‘key’. ‘This competition is with our immediate peer group so playing them in what has been agreed as a long-term, project can only be good.

Mark Latter

Mark Latter, Guernsey Cricket Board CEO

‘That all the nations are highly committed to the concept is highly encouraging.’ All matches will be 50 overs per side, played to ICC WCL rules and all nations playing each other on a round-robin basis over a long weekend in early July. Increased funding from ICC Europe and financial support from at least one high-profile cricket equipment supplier will enable the competition to go ahead.

New League agreement struck at Bologna conference     by Sports Prom

‘On the T20 front we expect to have another regional qualifying competition for the ICC World Cup proper in 2015, this as a new reduced six-team Division One and hopefully hosted here in Guernsey. ‘

2014 will also see our Under 15s again compete in ICC European Division One and the Regional U19 World Cup qualifying process will see us travel to the UK to face a new challenge in Division Two alongside, Italy, Denmark, Netherlands and Jersey.’ To bring the age group in line with the U19 qualification by the Global Qualifiers in 2015, this will in effect see Guernsey U17 players involved.
‘Below this Guernsey will also be contesting Sussex District competitions at under 11, under 13 and under 15, which is a great level of competition for our junior cricketers being pitted against players who have county aspirations.
‘The link with Sussex CCC continues to flourish too. It now includes Oxfordshire CCC as Sussex CCC, the main parent county of this new three-county link, look to put a pathway in place that spreads the net for them in terms of the player pool.’ The CEO said that discussions continue to see where work needs to be done but Guernsey Cricket should see investment in coaches, players and facilities. ‘The opportunity to operate within this structure provides Guernsey players with a clear pathway to both improvement on a domestic stage with the carrot of minor county and county cricket if good enough. ‘The impact on the skills of future National Squad players can only be positive and off the field the tri-party agreement will encompass other areas of mutual benefit such as kit deals, sponsorship, groundsmanship, marketing and charity work.’

Skipper backs new ‘Euro’ event           by Matt Lihou

JAMIE NUSSBAUMER says that the introduction of a new ‘European League’ next summer can only be a good thing for his developing young side. The Guernsey captain found out yesterday that he would have another tournament to lead his team into in July in Sussex, against Italy, Jersey and Denmark. The 50-over tournament will be played on a round-robin basis over a long weekend at yet unconfirmed venues, between the sides ranked fourth through to seventh in the ICC Europe list. Although still some way off, Nussbaumer is delighted to have more testing off-island cricket in the representative schedule. ‘It looks like an exciting project and the more quality cricket we can play, the better,’ he said. ‘That is the key. It is not just about playing more matches, it is about making sure they are quality matches and ones that will help move us forward as a team. ‘Playing all three teams, but particularly Denmark and Italy, who are statistically ranked higher than us, can only improve us as players and as a team. ‘In terms of our aims for this particular tournament, I don’t know at all yet because our only focus at this moment is the World Cricket League in Malaysia early next year. ‘Once that is done, myself and Nic [Pothas, director of cricket] will sit down and work out the summer ahead, what our aims are and what players we are going to use.

‘It is an exciting time with a lot of talented young players and we are moving in the right direction, so hearing this news about a new tournament is brilliant.’ The response in Jersey from the meeting in Bologna has also been positive, with the Jersey Cricket Board chief executive officer Chris Minty at that conference in Italy. He admits that although everything still needs to be totally rubber-stamped, it is a good development for the two islands, which will also face each other in the WCL Division Five in March. ‘It’s still not a complete certainty, but providing that arrangements can be made, we feel it’s a good step forward,’ he said.

‘It will give our top Jersey cricketers another chance to play an excellent standard of competition. ‘It was originally thought up by ICC Europe as a way to give our nations more international matches. ‘We don’t have an ICC Europe tournament next year and so at the moment all our concentration is on the WCL 50-over format. ‘This proposed competition will provide more top quality 50-over matches, which can only be a good thing. ‘We’ll look at it year on year. The plan is to play this tournament with four teams next summer and then review it before making any future plans. ‘It won’t be an official ICC event but they will support the tournament.’

New Euro tournament will help towards all-year-round intensity           by Matt Lihou

NEXT summer’s four-team ‘European League’ is another chance to step away from the ‘cosy nature’ of domestic cricket, according to Nic Pothas. Guernsey’s director of cricket was in Bologna when plans for a new round-robin tournament involving the Sarnians, Jersey, Italy and Denmark were ratified, taking place in Sussex next July. After constantly banging the drum on the need for more meaningful off-island cricket for his senior side, Pothas is delighted with the development. ‘We are always working really hard to get a full calendar for all of our age groups, filled with quality and competitive cricket,’ he said. ‘The island set-up is always very tournament based. In that I mean that players prepare really hard for a tournament, play it, but then the intensity drops off big time in the aftermath. ‘What we want to be doing is maintaining that intensity all year round and having a tournament like this, against sides who we are aspiring to compete with, can only help that approach. ‘Over here in local club cricket, it is all really cosy because players from different sides are all friends and have a few beers together afterwards, so there is no being in the batsmen’s face with a few verbals or a bit of confrontation. ‘That means that when we step up to international tournaments, the players aren’t mentally prepared for it because they are used to such a cosy nature.’

Pothas also believes that it is that mentality which is holding the side back, not the technical ability of many of his players, as he continues along his long-term plan. ‘I think that sometimes there is the thought process that ability wise, we are not at the same level as your Denmarks and your Italys of this world. ‘But that is most certainly not the case. We are good enough to compete and it is the mental side that holds us back on many occasions. ‘People do have to remember that we are developing a young side that this year had an average age of around 22, so we have ambitions of where we will be three-to-five years down the line. ‘At the end of that period, many of our players will still only be hitting their mid-20s and that is when we hope to be beating these kind of countries regularly and climb the world Cl rankings pretty rapidly.’

Jersey and Guernsey set for new 50-over tournament          By Phil HarlowBBC South West Sport

Jersey and Guernsey will play in a new 50-over tournament next July. The tournament pits the teams against Denmark and Italy, with the aim of giving players more experience of one-day cricket. The Channel Island rivals play in Division Five of the ICC World Cricket League in March, a 50-over tournament.
“The idea is to fill a gap between one-day and Twenty20 cricket,” Jersey Cricket Board chief executive Chris Minty told BBC South West Sport.
The four teams involved are ranked fourth to seventh in the European rankings and Minty said the new tournament – which will be held in Sussex – would provide all of them with meaningful competition in the one-day game outside of the World Cricket League.
“We had a lack of 50-over games and it’s the best way of us competing against teams that are ranked slightly higher than us, so it’s very good competition for everyone,” he said. “We can make sure were providing both forms of cricket because the World Cricket League is very important to all the countries, but so is T20. “Having identified that we had no European T20 tournament next summer, it seemed an ideal time to have a long weekend set aside to play each other. “If it proves a success then we very much hope it will be come a regular part of the calendar. “It could be argued the World Cricket League is even more important that the T20 [to these four teams], so this tournament is going to be a massive help to all those countries to keep them prepared for 50-over cricket.”
Jersey and Guernsey face Nigeria, the Cayman Islands, Tanzania and Malaysia in the World Cricket League in March and Minty said the new tournament could provide the teams with the perfect preparation for Division Four later in the year should either team win promotion.

Latest news (16th May)

It has been impossible to arrange the tournament this year. Italy find it difficult to get their squad together, Jersey have only half of their team available and were not prepared to put in other players to gain experience and also preparing for their Division 4 WCL event in a few months time. Guernsey and Denmark were the only ones willing to pursue the idea this year and as such 2 friendly matches were played over the weekend of 17th/18th May in Sussex, and it is these that are covered.

It is hoped that next year all 4 teams will participate in the inaugural Four Nations Tournament.