Below-par Guernsey fall at the final hurdle

ITALY gained revenge over their hosts yesterday as they won the final of the ICC Men’s U19 Cricket World Cup European Division Two Qualifier.

Italy celebrate the big wicket of Guernsey captain Ollie Clapham at the KGV. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 31138818)
Italy celebrate the big wicket of Guernsey captain Ollie Clapham at the KGV. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 31138818)

What had been such a memorable tournament for Guernsey, in which they won all three of their group matches including against the Italians before Tuesday’s amazing semi-final win over Norway, came to a bitter-sweet end as a below-par performance meant they missed out on lifting the silverware at the KGV.

It was mission accomplished for both sides in that they earned promotion from European Division One, but it was the boys in blue left celebrating as they successfully chased down 170 to win by six wickets with 12 overs to spare having saved their best for the knockout stages.

Guernsey had been asked to bat for the first time in the week and quickly found themselves a couple of wickets down early on as both Fintan Ridgwick and Marcus Thomas departed for ducks to the seam bowling of Gurpreet Singh.

Charlie Birch and captain Ollie Clapham steadied the ship to get their side beyond 50, but another flurry of wickets saw five more tumble before Guernsey had reached triple figures.

For the second time in the two knockout games, though, wicketkeeper-batsman Joe Marshall did sterling work with the willow, making an unbeaten 47 from 66 balls, and useful runs from Blake Carre and Max Johnson down the order ensured the Greens battled their way to a competitive total of 169.

However, in much the same way as they were with the bat, Guernsey were slightly off with the ball, too, and unlike throughout their first four games, there were a couple of opportunities in the field that did not stick.

Harry Duke did manage to reduce Italy to 39 for 2, but opener Gianluca Longo made an important 41 to lay the platform for the middle order before fifth-wicket pair Marco Giaconi, who was named player of the match for his 51 not out, and Singh saw their side home.

‘We probably under-clubbed a little bit with the bat, but, yeah, we didn’t really hit our straps today,’ said Guernsey coach Ben Ferbrache.

‘It’s been a good tournament until today.

‘We’ve been promoted, which is one thing we came to do, so that’s a ticked box. Obviously, we would have loved to have won it, but it didn’t quite happen.’

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