ICC WCL Division 5 Singapore 2012

Cayman Islands v Guernsey

played at Kallang Ground, Singapore

on Friday 24th February 2012

Toss: Cayman Islands won the toss and elected to bat.
Umpires: Sri Ganesh and DN Subedi
Referee: GF Labrooy

Guernsey won by 6 wickets
Man-of-the-match GH Smit

Cayman Islands innings    RunsBallsMins4s6sSR Guernsey bowlingOvMdnRunsWktsWNbSRER
S C GordoncNussbaumerbSmit54816166.7Nussbaumer913624-274.0
A E Hallrunout(Kneller)02000.0MJM Renouf402602-6.5
†O R WillislbwbFrith18343052.9Frith1032011-602.0
R A SealybNussbaumer19351054.3Hooper4.52171--273.5
R D BovellcFrithbRich4140028.6Rich1022721-302.7
*A HoilettcLe PrevostbSmit16490032.7Smit1022731-202.7
A F IfillcKimberbRich280025.0
C WrightbNussbaumer17312054.8
K F BazilcFerbrachebSmit011000.0
K R Ebanksnotout390033.3
A MorrisbHooper7130053.8
Extras (b4, lb7, w13, nb0)24
Total (in 47.5 overs)164
Fall of wickets

Guernsey innings    RunsBallsMins4s6sSR Cayman Islands bowlingOvMdnRunsWktsWNbSRER
G H SmitbMorris59717083.1Wright8026112493.2
T J RavenscroftcWillisbMorris55825167.1Ebanks613501-5.8
J D J Frithnotout33672049.3Bovell50250--5.0
*S E Le Prevostrunout(Bazil)7220031.8Bazil1004401-4.4
R KnellerbWright05000.0Morris1022221-302.2
L B Ferbrachenotout2150013.3Sealy401201-3.0
†T C R Kimberdnb
J A J Nussbaumerdnb
D Hooperdnb
M J M Renoufdnb
G J Richdnb
Extras (b1, lb2, w6, nb2)11
Total (for 4 wkts in 43.2 overs)167
Fall of wickets
1-107(Smit),2-125(Ravenscroft),3-140(Le Prevost),4-143(Kneller)


‘Nearly men’    by Gareth Le Prevost

The chances that went begging earlier in the week have seen Guernsey miss out on the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division Five final today. Although they secured their third win on the tournament in Singapore yesterday, as expected the hosts beat Argentina preventing the Sarnians from forcing their way into the top two. Therefore, having beaten the Cayman Islands comfortably by six wickets yesterday at Kallang, the Greens will face them again today in the third/fourth play-off.

‘Third is about right,’ said Guernsey coach Andy Cornford. ‘We are still disappointed obviously, because everyone knows we could have had a final tomorrow as we had opportunities to win every game. But we did not take them, so third is right. ‘As you go up a level, the margins get smaller and if you have an off-day, you get beaten and in this tournament the days on which we have been under par, we have been hit.’

 Albeit after a slow start, the bowlers were once again the strong link for Guernsey yesterday as they bowled the Cayman Islands out for 164. Man-of-the-match GH Smit (59) and Tim Ravenscroft (55) shared in a century opening stand at the start of the reply to lay the foundations for a comfortable win. ‘We have played some really good cricket in patches this week, but we have not batted well enough as a unit and that was why I was really pleased to see GH and Tim get going today,’ Comford said. ‘We looked a little bit tired this morning and it took us a while to get the disappointment of the Malaysia defeat out of our system which allowed the Cayman Islands to get a flier, but as is the way with this team, we got into it and to bowl them out for 160-odd was a great effort.’

‘Smit turns on style’    by Gareth Le Prevost

AN ultimately comfortable win secured Guernsey’s place in Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division Five yesterday. The Cayman Islands were seen off by six wickets at the Kallang Cricket Ground, the venue where the Sarnians had hoped to return today for the showpiece final. But it was not to be and they had to settle for third in the table along with retention of their status, with promotion beyond them this time.

GH Smit was the star performer, taking three wickets before top-scoring with 59 to take the man-of-the-match award while there was also an encouraging return to form for his opening partner Tim Ravenscroft, who also scored a half-century. By the end of the piece, the margin of victory, accomplished with plenty of overs to spare, was a convincing one and showed who were undoubtedly the better side on the day. The day had not begun so brightly for Guernsey, though. After losing the toss yet again – Stuart Le Prevost has not won one this week – the Cayman Islands were allowed to cruise along at more than a run a ball for the first 10 overs against some erratic bowling as Jamie Nussbaumer and Matt Renouf struggled to find a consistent line.

However, there was a wicket in that time as the Cayman openers made the mistake of taking on Ross Kneller and he threw down the stumps at the bowler’s end from mid-wicket to dismiss Hall. But the real turning point was the introduction of spin. With the Cayman batting line-up typically Caribbean  in their flambouyant style, they did not like being tied down by Guernsey’s slower men and from 69 for one, the team in blue lost their last nine wickets for 96. Jeremy Frith started the collapse, trapping Omar Willis leg before, before Steve Gordon, who had reached a deserved half-century but seen his scoring rate slowed considerably, holed out to Nussbaumer at long off to give Smit the first of his three wickets.

Nussbaumer returned in the powerplay overs just to break up the 30 overs of spin and he removed the gung-ho Ramon Sealy who swung right across the line of a straight one. But soon it was back to the spinners and Rich picked up his second wicket as Alistair Ifill gloved an attempted sweep to wicketkeeper Tom Kimber. Smit then claimed his second and third scalps as Le Prevost and Ben Ferbrache both clutched well-judged catches that were in the air for a long time. Death bowlers Nussbaumer and Hooper then cleaned up the tail as the batsmen looked for big shots only to miss them. Overall, it was a fine recovery from Guernsey in the field to restrict the opposition to a very modest target having looked early on as if they were still deflated following the defeat two days previously.

The momentum was with the Greens as they started their reply, although they were more than slightly agitated that they had to start batting before lunch, which came at 1pm rather than between innings. But Smit and Ravenscroft approached the task in the correct manner, playing those first few overs sensibly and seeing their side safely through to 23 for none at the break. After the resumption, both took their time to settle again, but the boundaries soon started to flow on an outfield seemingly 10 times quicker than the one on which they had faced Malaysia on the same ground on Wednesday.

Smit was the first to reach his half-century, bringing it up during a run of four successive boundaries. He was not around to see Ravenscroft reach that milestone, though, as the South African looked to go big against the spin and fell to Alessandro Morris, ending his 71-ball stay which yielded seven fours. However, the openers had shared in an excellent stand of 107. It meant that Frith was the man to shake Ravenscroft’s hand once he brought up his 50, which had included a huge six over mid-wicket. Having got there, though, Ravenscroft then chanced his arm and was put down three times in the deep in just two overs before guiding a catch to the wicket-keeper to depart for 55, which also included five fours. However, it was just a matter of when and not if Guernsey were to win this one by that stage and, although Le Prevost was run out by Frith before Kneller tried to pull a ball that was too full for a duck, ‘Mr Cricket’ and Ben Ferbrache saw them home in the 44th over.

‘Domestic cricket needs to toughen’    by Rob Batiste in ‘Inside Track’ on Saturday 25th February 2012 in the Guernsey Evening Press

Today in a hot and sweaty Singapore our cricketers do battle with Cayman for third and fourth spot in World Cricket League Five. The pressure is off, survival is assured and the prospect of spending a week in Nepal this spring at another WCL divisional tournament, only a division higher, averted. The lads can get back to playing a spot of leisurely evening cricket at Port Soif and KGV or GCA Championship cricket against the first XI at picturesque College Field.
Those with families may be a tad relieved that they won’t be heading off again to foreign climes this year and another tiring tournament, but I would hope, and expect, that there will still be a prevailing feeling of disappointment as the team fly westward and back home tomorrow. Guernsey certainly blew their chance of promotion – one which could clearly have been achieved – with some iffy batting. All week the bowling survived scrutiny when many considered it would be Guernsey’s Achilles heel, but too often the batting crumbled under pressure, the notable exceptions being Jeremy Frith and Ross Kneller. Tim Ravenscroft, the player with the most talent, barely scored a run until yesterday’s final game when the inevitable happened – he came good – and the absence of Lee Savident was keenly felt. On these counts, I was both surprised and not.

It is scarcely believable that a player of Ravenscroft’s talent has yet to consistently cut the mustard on the international stage. But the overall batting malaise is nothing new and has its roots in a still too-soft domestic game, whereby the cut and thrust of the old evening game is now sadly lost, and the weekend cricket is fought out on generally very flat pitches amid unpenetrative bowling. In addition, we have sadly long seen the end of the stream of touring sides that would often provide our best with unsuspecting challenges in the form of a demon quick, or mystery spinner. Were Jeremy Frith to be run over tomorrow we would be seriously damaged, as it is obvious we are hugely reliant on this one man.

It would be easy to conclude that the Guernsey batting won’t really improve until the cricket is tougher, but solving that low-pressure issue is not so easily achieved, as it probably cannot be done from within and the annual Cl League is far from the complete answer. There are two solutions to ensure our batsmen perform better under real pressure, that the pool of talent is widened and there are capable successors to the likes of Savident, Rich, Biggins, Smit, Le Prevost and Bisson. One, the island emulates rugby and football onto the national stage and, two, some stimulus can be found to get the best out of a highly talented youth contingent, but one that, in too many cases, fails to make the best of their ability. In conversation, Guernsey Cricket Board president, David Plesing noted before this week’s tournament, that not enough youngsters are banging down the selection door. Too many, he said, are content to cruise, so even if the GCB were able to open up a pathway into more testing cricket, in say Hampshire’s Southem Electric Premier League, would they want it? Desire has never been a problem for Dave Hooper, the young all-rounder, batsman Ben Ferbrache or bowler Jamie Nussbaumer. To me, the trio are the perfect , example of what can be achieved with dedication and sheer determination. They want it badly, but there are not enough like them I am afraid.

Perhaps WCL Division Five is Guernsey cricket’s reality check, the place to play for years to come. But I hope not. Just as I hope our rugby, another sport very much on the up, does not satisfy itself at playing National Three level, one division up from London One South, on which they currently proudly sit atop. And what about the Green Lions? What will they be happy with? Combined Counties Premier, or the level above, Ryman Division One South or Evo-Stik Division One? Is the Conference feasible? I ask the question, because surely mere acceptance of one’s position, is not a good thing. It breeds an attitude of complacency. Teams should always strive to be better, or what really is the point? Going into a tournament merely to maintain the status quo is uninspiring and sends out the wrong signals. Naturally, there comes a point when a team reaches its own ceiling, but as far as our cricketers, footballers and rugby men are concerned, that point has not been reached yet.