Guernsey Press

Skipper is Stoked by series success

SKIPPER Matt Stokes says that Monday’s last-ball win against Germany was his ‘favourite moment in a Guernsey shirt’.

The two captains, Germany's Venkatraman Ganesan and Guernsey's Matt Stokes, at the start of game three in the Netherlands. (Picture from Guernsey Cricket, 32429358)

The Sarnians were beaten heavily in the first T20I against a German side ranked nine places above them coming into the series, but Stokes hit an unbeaten 56 in the second game to help Guernsey make it 1-1.

Josh Butler’s 87 proved decisive for the Greens in Tuesday’s decider as they won by 10 runs to clinch the series, meaning they move up three places to 39th in the world rankings.

‘That second game on Monday was probably the best I have ever batted in a Guernsey shirt, and the series win is something we will remember for a long, long time,’ said Stokes, who has taken on the captaincy on an interim basis following Butler’s decision to stand down last month.

‘We’re all very elated – I think the last sort of two, three, four years has been quite a difficult period for us, we have just not been able to get over the line in games that we probably should have.

‘To go from a game where we’ve lost quite heavily, and then to win in two different ways by chasing down a score, and then defending a score against a good German side is very, very pleasing.

‘We also have five or six players to come back in to the side, which is a nice problem to have, as we can pick different players that suit different wickets when we have everyone available.

‘The message after losing the first game was just to trust the process and be confident – that’s something that I’ve made sure to get across to the lads.

‘We have to be confident and not worry about getting out, as I think in the past we’ve been a bit afraid to play our shots in case we lose our wicket.

‘I think one way we can improve now is to start hitting the ground running from game one in a series, instead of in game two or game three – it is something we must get better at as a group, we need to start identifying information a bit quicker, and when we can do that hopefully we’ll be winning 3-0 instead of 2-1.’

Stokes also discussed the recent form of the man he replaced as skipper, Josh Butler, who hit two vital half-centuries and got his highest score in a Guernsey shirt during the T20I fixtures.

‘It has been really nice to see him scoring big runs and just having that freedom at the top of the order to go and express himself.

‘I think me taking over captaincy is almost giving him that sense of, “right, I can just go out and play my game and not have to worry about anything else”.’

Guernsey’s director of cricket Jeremy Frith also discussed his team's T20I performances on their trip to the Netherlands, and said that the results were a ‘testament to the quality of the group’.

‘We’re missing quite a few players on this trip, so beating Germany just shows how many good cricketers we have on the island.

‘We know that we need lots of players available if we’re going to develop as a group, and this is an important lesson to us to show we can do it even without some of our big names.

‘Overall I am very happy, especially with how we responded after a tough first game, and our fielding was brilliant.

‘Stokesy was superb with the bat, GH played really well in the last game, and Josh was brilliant – it was great to see him play with a smile on his face because that’s what it is all about.’