Over the past couple of weeks Jersey were very much in the public eye through the T20 World Cup Qualifiers.
I for one was gripped day by day following the lads battling it out against some of the best cricketers in the world and boy did they battle.
In the end the boys missed out on the knock-out stages by narrowly coming outside of the top four on ‘net run rate’.
I spoke to captain Charles ‘Chuggy’ Perchard about the experience, and here is what he had to say:
Q. Can you describe the last few weeks for yourself and the lads?
The last few weeks have been one hell of a journey. Along the way we faced professional sides, scorching heat and conditions we aren’t familiar with. To come away with 5 wins in 8 games is something we will look back at and be proud of. Now though, as we settle back into our normal routines in Jersey, the harsh reality of the situation sets in – our dream of defying the odds to qualify for the Cricket World Cup in Australia next year is over.
Q. It was a bit of an up and down few games. How tough was it to bounce back from the defeats especially?
Our fixtures came thick and fast and the tournament saw us have lots of ups and downs. After a big win, it is important not to get carried away and although defeats can be very tough to take, there is usually plenty that can be learnt from them. Whatever the result, an ability to dust yourself off and get ready for the next match is massive in tournament cricket.
One of my tournament highlights actually came following a loss to Canada where we were outplayed by an experienced side. Their tactics were exceptional in the game and we learnt a lot from how they played. We took some things to forward to our next games which without doubt helped us improve as a side. We bounced back from this disappointing defeat to Canada with a memorable win against the tournament hosts.
Q. Is there any game which stays in your mind? For good or for bad reasons?
Our win against the UAE is the match I am most proud of. Coming off the back of a disappointing result against Canada, defeat at the hands of the UAE would have put us on the cusp of crashing out of the tournament.
The UAE are a quality side. Ranked 11th in the world and with home advantage, their teamsheet boasted 11 full time professional cricketers while ours featured none. The odds were stacked against us, particularly after we posted an underwhelming first innings score and they got off to a fantastic start in their run chase.
The fight, belief and togetherness the guys showed as we clawed our way back into the game was special and once we got on top, we were ruthless in driving home our advantage.
It was a great day of Jersey Cricket and in my eyes ranks as one of our greatest ever wins.
Q. You had a special celebration over there for WOOW FC. Was that always planned?
The WOOW FC celebration was defiantly not planned! A few of the lads bring out some big celebrations when they take a wicket so I thought I needed to get in on the act and give my mates back home a shoutout.
Q. Did being on Sky Sports affect your game at all?
The lads handled the Sky Sports cameras really well. We’ve got a young squad containing several guys who are pushing for careers in professional cricket so it was great that they could be given the opportunity to showcase their skills on TV.
The cameras lead to excitement within the group rather than nervousness and this was reflected by our performances as we went on to win two of our three televised games.
Q. What can you take away from the experience personally, and as a team?
It’s great to test yourself against quality opposition because it helps you learn a lot about your game and how you can improve it. As a side, we learnt so much in such a short period of time and will be stronger as a result. Our young team will only keep getting better and hopefully the next World Cup Qualifier will be our time to shine.
Our efforts throughout the tournament are something to be proud of and we can take a lot of confidence from our wins, particularly those against the UAE and Oman. We have a genuine belief within our squad that on our day we can beat anyone. As long as we retain this belief, we will continue to take down some of the biggest sides in world cricket.
Q. And how about the support from back home – how aware were you of it when you were out there?
The guys are really grateful for the fantastic support we receive from back home. We are all really proud to fly the flag for Jersey and knowing the Island is right behind you gives you a bit more motivation to step up.
It was a special few weeks once again for Jersey Cricket and their fans, and the experience, as Chuggy says, will make them stronger.
Well done lads, keep pushing!