Guernsey v Jersey

James Coyne wrote an article that appeared in The Cricketer magazine in December 2018 about global cricketing rivalries older than the Ashes.

‘This one goes deep. Jersey supported King Charles I in the Civil War, and his heir lived peacefully in exile on the island. After the Restoration, as thanks for hiding him, Charles II granted the Bailiff of Jersey, Sir George Carteret, a chunk of land in the Americas, which he named New Jersey. Guernsey, more Calvinist at this time, had declared for the Parliamentarians.

These days it’s a friendlier rivalry, though Guernsey’s ‘little brother’ identity is a source of constant ribbing, as are the stereotypes: Jersey are known as the Crapauds (a local warty toad) and Guernsey as the Donkeys (explanations differ).

Jersey first took on a combined Guernsey and Alderney XI in 1831, winning by an innings. Victoria College, Jersey and Elizabeth College, Guernsey first locked horns in 1861. Unusually, the first fixtures were as late as October, at the start of the school term.

Matches between genuine representative teams began in the 1930s, and after the war – when Germany occupied the Channel Islands – the fixture earned the title of the inter-insular.

The ever-shortening format is a microcosm of the world game; it started in the colleges as a two-innings match, became a one-innings declaration game, then 50 overs a side, and as of last summer was decided over three T20s.

Jersey currently lead 29-21, with 14 draws – a ratio reflecting their bigger population. Ward Jenner, a current chairman of the Jersey Cricket Board, is the only player to captain both islands – his son Jonty, who made his first-class debut for Sussex in 2017, also plays for Jersey (but was born in Guernsey while Ward was working there). In the days when pubs were closed on Sundays, as many as 2000 locals would come out to watch … loudly.

The colleges used to stage the fixture, but in 2003 Jim Perchard, an influential farmer and politician with two cricket-playing sons – Charles, 26, is Jersey captain – built a handsome ground, Farmer’s Field, on his land in St Martin which welcomes touring sides. Perchard’s Jersey Royal potato sheds are just a six-hit away.

The Channel Islands are not part of the UK (or the EU), and in 2005 the cricket boards split from the ECB to achieve separate ICC status, allowing them to compete on the world stage. ICC funding depends on their global performances, and the Inter-Insular is no longer the only chance to represent the island. But it retains social significance, with some players the second or third generations of their family to play for Jersey or Guernsey.’