ICC World Cricket League Div 5 South Africa 2017

Sun 3rd Sept 2017 ItalyLeague
Mon 4th Sept 2017Cayman IslandsLeague
Wed 6th Sept 2017QatarLeague
Thu 7th Sept 2017GhanaPlayoff 5th to 8th
Sat 9th Sept 2017GermanyPlayoff 5th 6th

There had been rumours that the eight-team competition would be held in either Jersey or the Netherlands, but the ICC have opted for South Africa due to the ease of obtaining visas. Benoni is 40km east of Johannesburg and one of its grounds, Willowmoore Park, has previously hosted one-day international fixtures.

It has come as a surprise to some, especially with four European nations being involved, but Guernsey Cricket Board chief executive officer Mark Latter is not one of those. ‘Because of the problems that Saudi Arabia had in getting visas for the tournament in Essex a couple of years ago and the fact they are in it again this time, it is not too surprising,’ he said. ‘It will be right at the start of the South African summer so we are not too sure what to expect weather-wise, but the pitches should be pretty reasonable at that time of the year. In terms of the timing, it is what we planned for and is better for us than playing in February in Malaysia like in the past because our players will have a season under their belts.’

Guernsey are joined by Jersey, Vanuatu (East Asia Pacific), Italy, Cayman Islands (Americas), Ghana (Africa), Qatar (Asia) and Germany from Europe, the competition from Sunday 3 to Saturday 9 September. It will be played across two round-robin groups of four, with the top two from each qualifying for the semi-finals. The Europe qualifier was between Austria, Germany, France, Belgium, Norway and Sweden in Holland.

Last year, Guernsey defeated Vanuatu in the third-place play-off to preserve their Division Five status, with the finalists being promoted and the other five sides relegated back to regional competition.

Willowmoore Park, home of Easterns Cricket, was founded by English Miners in 1924 with the name derived from the willow trees that surrounded the ground and the moor that is present at the back of the ground.

One of the new international venues on the South Africa cricketing calendar was also the ground that Denis Compton the famous English cricketer scored 300 runs in 181 minutes in a game between England and North Eastern Transvaal in 1948.

willowmoore park

Willowmoore Park, Benoni                                 ICC

Upgrades to the ground has radically changed its appearance from the old to the modern. A new world class players facility, new seating facilities (capacity now 20,000), a four-story Media Centre, a LED electronic scoreboard and various spectator facility improvements has enhanced the comfort of both players and spectators. A state of the art new sub-surface and ring drainage has been installed on the playing surface and three additional pitches have been laid to improve consistency.

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Group A comprises of Italy, Guernsey, Cayman Islands and Qatar, while Jersey, Vanuatu, Ghana and Germany will be fighting to secure the top two spots of group B. The top two from each group will play in the semi-finals, and the bottom two will compete for the minor placings.

Jersey captain Charles Perchard: “We are delighted to be playing at World Cricket League Division 5, to be on a pathway to India 2023 is really fantastic. We have participated at a Global World T20 Qualifier, if we continue to do well through the divisions in the 50 over format the opportunities available to us are very exciting, with competitive cricket a big positive.”

Guernsey captain James Nussbaumer: “The aim is to win the tournament and get promoted, like any team taking part in the competition. We have solid experience at World Cricket League events and will look to use that as an extra edge. Playing for your country is always special, but the fact this event launches the global pathway to the Cricket World Cup 2023, makes it even more so.”

Italy captain Gayashan Munasinghe Ranga De Silva: “We have the experience and skill to do well in this tournament. With some new talent in the team and key players such as Peter Petricola returning.”

Germany captain Rishi Radhakrishnan Pillai: “This tournament provides us with a real opportunity to continue our great run. Winning both Division 2 to Division 1 over the past two years at regional level, and now into World Cricket League Division 5, the team is confident we can do well and continue to move up.”

Cayman Islands captain Ramon Sealy: “This is a great opportunity to take part in the tournament, we have worked very hard in preparation and we are excited to test our abilities on the global stage. We were delighted to have qualified from the Americas regional qualifier and we look forward to doing ourselves and our country proud in South Africa.”

Qatar captain Inam Ul Haq Haq: “For us the past few months have been great, we were very happy to qualify from the Asia regional event and will look to take that form into this tournament. The team management are very happy with the recent performances and confident going into the competition.”

Vanuatu captain Andrew Mansale: “This is a great event to be a part of and we have all the islands of Vanuatu behind us, cheering us on and wanting us to do well. We have been preparing hard for South Africa and are confident of what will be hard-fought cricket against some talented teams.”