Kindly Sponsored By Farmers Cricket Club
Sports fans have been limited to the bare minimum of action over the last three or so months, but as Jersey move into Level 2 of the Safe Exit Framework some sports are slowly coming back into the frame.
One which many people will be excited about is Cricket, with Farmers Cricket Club hosting an in house T20 match at their ground on Sunday, having to postpone the match from Saturday due the past weeks rainfall, which is timely seeing it seemingly hasn’t rained at all in the last three months.
I caught up with Jim Perchard about the chance to watch cricket again, how hard it was to ensure that the game goes ahead and what to expect from Farmers in the upcoming, slightly different season.
Perchard started by stating ‘We have all missed cricket at the Farmers. We have our own ground and clubhouse. We have had young players training all Winter, and they are exciting young prospects so we had been desperately disappointed not to see these young players out in the middle. Jersey had two big tournaments this Summer and a few of our players play for the island so again we were disappointed they couldn’t go and represent Jersey.’
Guernsey got their first taste of sport on the 30th May, and look to have full competitive T20 matches tomorrow with no restrictions in place. Perchard stated ‘I was very pleased for Guernsey, they seem to have had their Covid-19 policy right and I understand that they are hoping to play two games of T20 Cricket without any restrictions. Good luck to them and well done Guernsey.’
Guernsey’s Tom Veillard, who played in the game in Guernsey at the end of May stated that ‘The game itself wasn’t too different. Obviously not being able to high-five after a wicket was strange, and no shaking hands at the end of the game. But apart from that it was similar. Seeing so many people watching at the game itself was great. I think it bought a lot of delight to the fans, but also us as players, seeing people supporting and seeing familiar faces we are so used to seeing in the summer months.’
Perchard stated that the opportunity to play in family groups helped the progression of starting cricket again, sooner rather than later. ‘The chance to play with family and groups of two, to have centre wicket practices was there right from the time Jersey went into level three. The boys were doing that whilst following social distancing rules and using strict hygiene routines. Then, when we moved to level 2 it was obvious we could go into proper cricket.’
Farmers will stage their in-house friendly on Sunday. ‘We are delighted to be back’ Perchard explained. ‘It is now, due to the incredible amount of rain we have had, been postponed from Saturday and moved to a 2pm start on Sunday. It is two evenly matched teams – unders and overs teams so we have fine young talent playing against a more experienced side. Everybody was available so we are all really excited for it and hoping that the rain stays away.’
Obviously, just like everything else in Jersey at present, social distancing guidelines will be followed. Perchard added ‘I think it will be fine. We are going to spend an hour with the players before the game making sure they all understand the importance of social distancing and why it needs to be adhered to, but I think everyone understands.’
Veillard explained that the social distancing measures didn’t change things for when he played in Guernsey’s first game back. ‘We had been told by Latts (Mark Latter, CEO of GCB) about the rules we had to follow, but I don’t think they were too drastic and all rules we’ve had to follow in the past twelve weeks or so. When you’re out there, you don’t really think about it, you’re just happy to be out there playing.’
Perchard added that hygiene measures will be in place too. ‘We will be sanitising the ball between overs and the players, every 10 overs will sanitise their hands. There will be no club house, no changing room so everybody will come changed. It won’t be quite the same, but we will be fine.’
When asked whether the players were edging to go, Perchard responded ‘They really are. I have never seen such availability. Every player in our first and second team squads were available for this game, so there has even been some selection issues.’
Jersey Cricket yesterday announced that they have plans for the return of cricket educational-trial games which will take place on 20th June 2020 for the Jersey Post Weekend League teams and the 23rd June 2020 for the Jersey Post Evening League teams. These will be used to educate players and clubs about the new, strict guidelines which are in place. Perchard commented ‘I will be delighted. I don’t think it will be a full season because we have missed five weeks but we will get a round of T20 in and one day games, and that will be brilliant. The players will be relieved about that too. There is a lot of Junior Cricket planned as well so I am excited for that.’
It is Farmers Cricket Ground’s 15th year this year, so I asked Perchard how happy he is to know there will be cricket played on the field in 2020. We have played 16 consecutive Summer’s now and it was unimaginable that we wouldn’t have played in 2020. I am delighted that we will and hopefully we can beat this virus and play proper cricket towards the end of the summer without social distancing and perhaps even the inter-insular, which we were due to host so we are really hoping we still can, even if it is towards the end of August/September.’
When asked who he is most looking forward to watching, Perchard answered ‘As I mentioned, we have got a lot of young talent now. A lot of Junior boys coming through. They are under-14s and under-15s, they have all shot up this Winter and I cant believe how much they have grown. Some fabulous talent. What I do find is young players hit the ball hard from the day that they learn to hold a cricket bat. They have learnt to use their wrists as well as their technique. I am really excited to see these young players and I know some of them will go onto represent Jersey one day.’
Sportscast Jersey are absolutely delighted that sport is back on the island after a long wait. Head down to Farmers for a 2pm start on Sunday, to watch some brilliantly talented upcoming cricket stars show off their talent in the first bit of sporting action for three months.
A big thanks to Jim for his time, and we look forward to working more with different Cricket Clubs on the island over the Summer – just get in touch!