Forshaw and Johnson the heroes as Guernsey U19s earn promotion

GUERNSEY gave themselves a mountain to climb yesterday, but thanks to their ninth-wicket pair they scaled those heights.

Max Johnson bowling yesterday at the KGV where he claimed four wickets and later hit the winning run in an amazing chase. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 31126132)
Max Johnson bowling yesterday at the KGV where he claimed four wickets and later hit the winning run in an amazing chase. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 31126132)

Charlie Forshaw and Max Johnson were the toast of the KGV as they took their side from the jaws of defeat to an against-the-odds two-wicket victory over Norway in the semi-final of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup European Division Two Qualifier and with it secure promotion as well as their place in tomorrow’s final.

The home side had seemingly done much of the hard work in the field as they bowled the Norwegians out for 168, including removing the tournament’s double centurion Chaudhary Akram for just seven.

However, the Norway captain proved he can do damage with the ball as well as the bat as he took four wickets with some quality right-arm seam bowling to help reduce the hosts to 57 for 6 and quieten the partisan crowd.

But Joe Marshall and Dan Thomas halted the Norwegian momentum with a useful stand of 35 before Johnson joined the wicketkeeper-batsman in the middle to add 34 for the eighth wicket.

Marshall played really well for his 28, but when he departed there were still 43 runs required and the odds still favoured Norway.

However, the maturity shown by Forshaw and Johnson in a high pressure situation was remarkable as they finished unbeaten on 29 and 23 respectively thanks to a mixture of sensible shot selection and excellent running to see their side over the line with the best part of 10 overs to spare.

‘It was amazing really – I don’t really know what to say, to be honest. We’re through to the next round, I can’t really ask for much more,’ said Guernsey captain Ollie Clapham.

‘We were what 90 for 7 at one point, so we were definite not the favourites, but credit to Charlie and “Maxy Jo” as well, they pulled it back really well and got us there.

‘We bat pretty deep. We still had Harry Johnson, who scored runs the last time he batted, so I fancied us even if we lost one more wicket.

‘We didn’t fire as well as we could, we definitely could have batted better and we should have knocked it off pretty comfortably, but at the end of the day, a win’s a win.’

Forshaw and Max Johnson had also played their full part with the ball, picking up two and four wickets respectively, while Harry Duke also claimed two including the all-important one of Akram.

The victory sets up another meeting with Italy, who pulled off a bit of a surprise yesterday at the College Field where they defeated the previously unbeaten Isle of Man by five wickets in the other semi-final.

Clapham emphasised that although promotion is now secured as the top three teams progress, the work is not over yet for his team.

‘We’ve bowled out four teams out of four, we’ve four wins out of four, everyone has chipped in, so the final is what we deserve and we’re going to give it a good go on Thursday,’ he said.

‘We will probably play with a bit more freedom against Italy, but at the end of the day we still want to win. We said we were going to win the tournament and we want to win the tournament, so we’ll do everything we can.’

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