Chuggy Perchard has been a big name on the island cricket scene for many a year, being a spearhead of much of the success which Jersey Cricket have had in recent times.
The captain of the side that shone in Spain back in October, Chuggy has been nominated for the Channel Islands Sports Personality of The Year award and Dan Andrade caught up with him about the nomination, success in Spain and what makes this crop of Jersey cricketers so special.
Read the in depth interview below!
How have the past few years been for you personally?
It has been an interesting few years with Covid, that is for sure! 2020 was a totally baron year for us from a Jersey cricketing perspective. There were no inter-insulars and no international tournaments which was a real shame as we have a young squad who are hungry for cricket. We managed to bounce back in 2021, albeit only with one tournament, with the European Qualifiers! It is always a pretty special feeling putting on the Jersey shirt.
How much preparation goes into tournaments such as the European Qualifiers?
We managed to do a lot of preparation! Our head coach Neil MacRae likes to focus on getting the side really fit so we had a really intense training regime with 6am strength and conditioning sessions up at Strive which were great. It is a quality facility and we are lucky to have it here in Jersey. There were also plenty of net sessions and the batters went to practice with the bowling machine before work with the ball flying off the dewy astro turf. We played a few games over in the UK to try and bring us up to speed as well, which was needed.
What is it like to captain Jersey against such well known opposition?
It wasn’t really something I had aspirations to do when I was growing up. My predecessor Peter Gough was so good and I thought that I could never do what he was doing. I feel incredibly proud to do it. Representing my island means a lot to me and it is incredibly humbling to captain the island and be one of our figure heads. It is something I really enjoy doing as well!
You guys smashed the Qualifiers, winning 6/6 matches – was there a standout moment for you?
One of the highlights for me was that everybody featured at some point to help us in some sticky situations because we won all of our games but it definitely was not a cruise for us. There were three incredibly tight games which went down to the wire which could have genuinely gone either way. The lads showed some real courage and fight to get us over the line. It was a pretty special tournament really! Another thing that stood out was that there were a number of county professionals at the tournament, two of which had played for England in the past. We really stood up to those ex professionals. We didn’t give them an inch, or any respect. Those guys came into the tournament expecting to dominate, but we looked them in the eye and took them on. It wasn’t something this group had done before, so it was huge for us.
You finished top wicket taker too – how proud are you of your individual achievements during the tournament?
Obviously it was nice to take a few wickets along the way. As a bowler in the side it is my job to do just that. Ultimately though it is all about the team and if my contributions help the team win, then happy days. I have to credit our unbelievable fielding unit as well because being a slower bowler most of my wickets seem to be caught on the fence, as well as a few stumpings as well. It is an all-round team effort!
How important is the closeness of this current crop of Jersey Cricketers?
I touched upon this before mentioning the three tight games in the tournament where we only just snuck over the line. I definitely think having this tight unit together with our immense pride for playing for Jersey really stands in our favour when the going gets tough. The boys are desperate to fight for each other. A lot of the sides we come up against don’t have that side to them as a lot are paid to be there whereas we are not and are total amateurs doing it for the love of the game and the love of Jersey. That passion and pride makes all the difference.
How good has Neil MacRae been for the side too?
He is vital. Quality coaching is key for the future of Jersey Cricket as well as we have a much smaller crop of players to choose from than these other countries. Neil fills the players with confidence to go out and execute their skills. A big focus for him is fielding and fitness to be ready for tournaments and in a better position in those positions than teams we come against. He has played a huge part in our success. The development programme we have in place is massive as well to keep up the quality, long term, as we need to develop our own players, and we have a great pathway to do just that.
How much of a privilege is it to be nominated for Channel Islands Sports Personality of The Year?
It is very humbling to have been nominated, especially looking at the calibre of the atheltes who have been nominated from Guernsey, two professional footballers and an Olympic Athlete, and then myself the sole representative from Jersey! I feel a little bit out of place as they are full time professionals whereas I have an office job! It is pretty surreal to be nominated but it goes to show the level of cricket that Jersey are playing at the moment. We are ranked 22nd in the world and for a team with such a small population to be ranked that highly is a sensational achievement. To be nominated ranks right up there on my personal achievements and I am super proud of it. If people vote for me it would be amazing, we can’t let a person from Guernsey win can we! Joking aside, win or not, receiving the nomination is amazing for me. The team have been nominated for Team of The Year, and as has Neil for Coach of The Year which goes to show Jersey is in a great place from a Cricketers perspective ahead of a big year coming up!
The Global Qualifiers in Zimbabwe are quickly approaching – how much are you all looking forward to that?
It is pretty exciting really! To think we are two weeks, one tournament away from potentially qualifying for a T20 World Cup. In my eyes it would be the biggest sporting achievement to come out of Jersey. We would be rubbing shoulders with the greatest players in the world. I could be going out to do the coin toss with Eoin Morgan – it is surreal really. It is a great opportunity for our young squad with so much potential to showcase on a global stage what they can do. Aside from that tournament we have a few more coming up too with one in Uganda in June and then a home tournament in Jersey in September which is great because we always love the chance to play in front of a home crowd. Finger crossed it will be a great year for us!
What is next for you?
As long as I keep enjoying it and performances remain at a high level I would love to keep captaining and playing for Jersey. I love the job and long may it continue!
You can support Chuggy by phoning 08456065503. Calls cost 5p & you can vote 5 times! All at Sportscast Jersey wish him all the best!