Jersey Cricket Men continue to shine in the cricket world, and they are about to play in the biggest tournament in their history. They could come out of the tournament as a semi professional side, and an even better result would be to qualify for a trip to Zimbabwe for a World Cup Qualifier.
A lot is at stake, but the team have been working hard behind the scenes ahead of the tournament.
Dan Andrade caught up with one of the team, Jonty Jenner ahead of the trip.
Firstly, explain to people what tournament you guys are playing in as you head to Namibia next week!
It’s a huge tournament and one that all the squad are really excited for. We head to Pretoria in South Africa for a warm up week and then onto Namibia for 5 games against: PNG, Canada, USA, Namibia and the UAE. If we finish in the top 4 we get more funding and will therefore become semi professional. If we finish in the top 2 we go to Zimbabwe in the summer for the World Cup qualifier.
How was it playing in front of a home crowd to get over the line + clinch qualifying for the tournament last summer?
Last summer was brilliant, it was a fitting way to end a long summer where we spent 8 weeks on the road throughout Africa. A lot of the guys were obviously away from friends and family, so to be able to clinch the title at Granville with a really good home support was certainly something we all cherished. In any tournament we play Macca (head coach) always refers to ‘supporters at home, who will be proud of what we are doing’ so it was really nice to see that first hand.
Would you say this is the biggest tournament in Jersey Cricket history?
It is a big tournament, but we have had really good exposure especially as a young squad and last year we got some great understanding of the way in which we want to play. I’m positive we can replicate that and it should be a good tournament for us. Tournament cricket always provides great entertainment and lots of unpredictability, so the challenge is to focus on one game at a time and see where we end up. A few of the boys (Julius, Ben Ward, Greeners and myself) have been away in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa over the winter to play a southern hemisphere season so we look forward to catching the rest of the group next week,. The guys back home have been hard at work, with early morning gym sessions at Strive and training indoors which we are very thankful for.
The squad have been together for years, but it’s still a young squad. How good is that?
We do have a young squad, I believe 13 out of the 14 players have all come through age group cricket back home, so it feels like we have been together for a long time. The friendships amongst the group and general environment that we try to create makes it a great place to play cricket. We love seeing each other do well and really enjoy playing for, and representing Jersey. I feel like this has been shown on many occasions and that’s when we are at our best, supporting our mates and fighting for each other and winning games of cricket. It’s been a brilliant journey so far with a great squad and one that will continue for a long while yet.
Who are you playing, and how good is it for little Jersey to be in the same mix as those countries?
The teams we play against are: PNG, USA, Canada, UAE and Namibia. It’s fantastic to play agaisnt these sides, most of which are in the top 20 teams in the world. In terms of population size we punch well above our weight but this is as I’ve mentioned due to our fighting spirit. We love getting in the battle and some of our best performances have been when we’ve played against the top sides. We’ve beaten the UAE and USA and played against Namibia in Namibia last summer, so we have some understanding of the conditions and the teams we will play against. It’s super exciting and the boys can’t wait to get going.
What are the main goals for the tournament?
The main goal for the tournament as with any we play in is to win. Failing that, top 4 would be a brilliant return for a young side. We just need to take one game at a time and see where we finish. I have full faith in the team and it should be a great tournament.
How can people watch and support Jersey?
People back home can watch via the ICC TV app and follow online scores on cricinfo as well as across jersey cricket social media platforms on Twitter and Instagram.