Ben Ferbrache

Ferby excited by potential he sees in the youth ranks      by Gareth Le Prevost, Guernsey Evening Press

One island player has taken over the reins from another in one of the most crucial roles in local cricket. Ben Ferbrache became the GCB development manager at the turn of the year, with the position having been vacated by David Hooper’s departure to Ardingly College in Sussex – and for anyone who knows the man moving into the GCB office from Fletcher Sports, it seems like an ideal fit. Thirty year old ‘Ferby’ is passionate about the sport and has been involved with some coaching locally alongside his playing commitments for a while. Unsurprisingly, he readily admits that he would have regretted not applying for his new post when the opportunity came up. ‘My degree is in sports development and coaching, so that’s something I was quite passionate about several years ago but never really had the opportunity [to use it] until now. So I’m quite excited about what could be ahead,’ Ferbrache said.  ‘The next four years we have got quite an exciting plan for senior cricket, in which hopefully we can promote the youngsters through the seniors. The role has evolved slightly as Colette Gooding is moving now, so as well as doing the coaching side of it, I will be doing the admin and organisational side of it as well, which is probably more linked to the management side of my previous job. For me, that side of it comes quite naturally – the coaching I have dipped in and out of so I’m still in touch with it. By his own admission, Ferbrache takes on the role with ‘a very good junior programme in place already, so it will be a case of just trying to take that particular aspect from strength to strength’. In terms of the Guernsey age-group representative sides, he will be joining head of cricket Ash Wright in the coaching and management of those groups. However, he knows there is key work to be done in player retention once they start getting into the mid to late teens and he wants a thriving domestic senior scene to be part of the attraction. ‘The club cricket is actually being handed back to the clubs now, they will take ownership of that,’ he said. ‘Hopefully what can happen then is we can create more teams in leagues going back to the old days of, maybe not eight , divisions, but more than four and hopefully clubs will have more than one team and there will be a direct pathway from junior to senior cricket. So I will be trying to strengthen those links we’ve currently got in place and we can keep players in the system because we have got a fairly high drop-out rate at the moment – be it whether they go off to university or specialise in another sport or whatever. ‘It’s trying to create that pathway that allows them to stay in the game as long as possible.’ Ferbrache has already taken steps towards rectifying that as part of the work he will do in schools. ‘We have certain schools in each term – at the moment we’ve got Blanchelande and St Mary & St Michael – and we have also set up a link with College. That is one of the things I have taken on, which is to recreate the links with Elizabeth College, being one of the main cricket-playing schools. Also that’s where we can hopefully bridge the gap of those falling out of cricket – from 16 to 18 – to keep them in the game and progress the route to senior cricket. ‘I think the junior stuff below 14s is really good, but then we lose a little bit in the next group, so it’s trying to make that as strong as the 14-and-unders and then up to seniors where we are really strong again. That age group is the key one to keep engaged.’

The strength in the 14-and-unders is reinforced by a good sized pool of coaches who can help out at Tots cricket and up into the Ravenscroft Future Stars before youngsters progress into age-group squads. Ferbrache revealed that the next aim is to get more people qualified at level two standard and working in the clubs to strengthen that side of local cricket. I have got some short-term aims – obviously a successful season would be nice – but until I find my feet, it’s more the long-term I’m looking at the moment,’ he said. ‘It may be by next summer we can say “right, that’s where we are really strong whereas that’s what we need to work on”. ‘But it’s nice that it’s a bit of a blank canvas at the moment, open to me putting my stamp on it, seeing what works and seeing where we can strengthen what we have got or take away bits that aren’t working and changing them for something else. That’s quite nice because often systems and coaching are often set in place and that is the way they are, but this has a different feel to it and I feel I can do my own thing with guidance from Ash and Latts [Mark latter]. ‘The first couple of weeks have been great because I’ve managed to find my feet in the office, see how everything works and then the coaching will come on from there. ‘The bit I find really exciting is how we could potentially have someone who is 14 who, you never know, might end up playing for Sussex or another county –maybe someone  even younger than that – and obviously the long-term aim is to get them playing for Guernsey. That excites me – the talent you see there is in our junior set-up, which to me seems a lot stronger than when I was that age.’ As for his own playing career, Ferbrache grins in the knowledge that the national coach is now the man he shares his office with ‘Obviously I’m still playing and hopefully that will last for a few more years …. It all depends on selection I suppose.’

On the playing front Ben has played both Inter-Insular and ICC formats. His first taste of games against Jersey was in 2008, has appeared 7 times since then and has scored 82 runs. In the T20 style he currently has scored the most runs with 85 in his 3 appearances.

In the ICC 50 over European competition he has scored 8 runs in 3 innings whilst in the T20 format he has scored 126 runs in 9 innings.

His forte is the World Cricket League where he has amassed 698 runs in 33 innings, averaging 29.1 and a high score of 68. He has made 42 appearance and taken 17 catches. He has even bowled 6-0-30-1