LISTEN: Guernsey Cricket create link with Brunswick Cricket Club down under

GUERNSEY are starting up a link with Brunswick in Melbourne which they hope will benefit local cricket in the short, medium and long term.

GCB development manager Ben Ferbrache and the 2022 Elizabeth College First XI captain Charlie Clapham are heading down under to spend several months in the club cricket environment in Victoria.

The initiative all stems from conversations in the Guernsey Cricket office between Ferbrache and chief executive Mark Latter during the pandemic.

‘Myself and Mark Latter sat down during lockdown and got on a few Zoom calls to various countries and the ICC and it sort of came from looking at Holland Cricket,’ Ferbrache said on the new Guernsey Press Sports Podcast.

‘The Dutch cricket board send players out to various countries, they do a stint for a couple of months and then return back home.

‘It’s sort of the easiest way to develop cricketers.

‘Our biggest problem is that we’ve got a season of three-four months and then we go back indoors. We spend a lot of time indoors and a lot of our developing could be done on the pitch, so this comes as a great opportunity.

‘For someone like Charlie, it’s not only going to develop his cricket, obviously he is going to have to learn a lot, living away from home for the first time, so it develops rounded people as well.’

Clapham will be spending a full six-month season in Australia, while Ferbrache will be there for three months mainly involved with coaching, but also playing some games too.

‘We had a few links into clubs and from there we sort of cherry-picked – had a look at the standard, had a look at how many teams they’ve got, what the facilities are like – everything,’ Ferbrache said.

‘The one we are going to, Brunswick Cricket Club in Melbourne, play a suburban turf league so it’s a very good standard.

‘Even something as simple as they have their games recorded so there is video footage after a game, which some of the other clubs didn’t do, so the bonus of that for players is that we can analyse the video after. For Charlie it’s going to be huge. It’s not something we’ve currently got in Guernsey, but we are looking at.

‘But that is how it came about … had probably about four or five Zoom calls and said “right, this is the one we’re going to go to” as it was the best one on the table.’

Ferbrache described it as ‘hugely important’ for young players such as Clapham to broaden their experience and added that, in time, Guernsey cricket will benefit if such links can be fostered.

‘One of the big problems we have in Guernsey is that we play against the same people week in, week out. Ideally, what you need to do is challenge yourself.

‘We always see when we go away as Guernsey that you come up against new players, new teams, and we probably problem-solve a bit slower than what we would if we played different people each week. I know that’s a bit different in the UK because you get to play different players as there’s more teams in a league and it’s trying to replicate that so that these players are quicker at problem-solving.

‘One of the problems – and pros – of Guernsey is that you play against the same guys, you know them, so you can get used to that and get a bit comfortable.’

The goal is for it not to be just one-way traffic either.

‘We are looking to get players back from Brunswick to Guernsey and strengthen our league,’ said Ferbrache.

‘We have always sort of struggled, since the likes of Ami Banerjee, Divan Van Der Heever, Glenn Milnes came over for work and really strengthened our leagues – that hasn’t happened more recently for whatever reasons, so off our own back we’re trying to create that and lift the league standard.

‘Not only do those players then get involved with playing club cricket, they get involved with coaching club cricket so it just develops Guernsey cricket as a whole.’

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