Guernsey Press

Guernsey's cricketers 'confident' ahead of European Championship bow

Batters prepare to go ballistic but bowlers beware.

Interim captain Matt Stokes (left) leads a squad with plenty of experience of playing European T10 cricket with their clubs. (Picture by Martin Gray/Guernsey Sport Photography, 32567583)

That is the message from Guernsey vice-captain Tom Nightingale as the Island squad make their European Cricket Championship debut tomorrow in Spain.

The Sarnians are in Group B and will face Croatia, Bulgaria, Belgium and old foes Jersey over the next three days with the aim of topping the group to reach Championship Week in the 31-nation tournament at Cartama Oval in Malaga.

‘It really is exciting to go and play for Guernsey and the standard is going to be really, really good,’ Nightingale told the Guernsey Press Sport Podcast before the team headed out yesterday.

‘Obviously we’ve got a quite a tough group that we’re going into, but we’re going to give it our best and there’s no reason why we can’t hopefully get to the Championship Week.’

Nightingale is one of several members of the Guernsey squad with European Champions League experience, having played for Indies this year in the club tournament that runs to the same format as the ECC.

He believes that should stand the national squad in good stead.

  • Listen to a full interview with Tom Nightingale and team manager Rob Thomson on this week's Guernsey Press Sport Podcast

‘For a batter like myself it’s quite enjoyable. Bowling is tough work there,’ he said.

‘But luckily, Griffins and Indies having experienced it, the bowlers can go back with a bit of a better game plan because when we both when we first went, it was a bit rabbit-in-the-headlights stuff.

‘Obviously for batters it’s a bit different, you just try and turn up and whack the ball as far as you can, pretty much as consistently as possible.

‘But with the team that’s been selected, we have 11 guys who we can trust to go out there and do that.

‘And as far as the other teams go, it’s going to be a bit different again this time because each team we expect to have four or five, six proper batsmen, whereas when when we’ve been in the past with our club sides, you normally only have two or three, maybe a maximum of four batters that are really going to hurt you ... so it’s a bit of a different proposition going this time.’

He added that the T10 format makes it easier to cause an upset, so despite being drawn in a group with Jersey who Guernsey have not beaten for several years, they will fear no-one.

‘The shorter the game, the more even it becomes – you get bigger upsets in the shorter format of the game.

‘Belgium played Germany and Netherlands recently and I think they beat both those teams and you would never expect that to happen over a 20-over and especially not a 50-over game, so it definitely is a bit a bit of an equaliser.

‘So there’s no reason why we can’t go and we’re going to be confident in ourselves that we can beat them and beat any team that we come up against.’

Guernsey squad

Matt Stokes (captain), Luke Bichard, Charlie Birch, Josh Butler, Alex Bushell, Zak Damarell, Ben Fitchet, David Hooper, Nathan Le Tissier, Adam Martel, Ollie Nightingale, Tom Nightingale, Adam Wakeford.

Schedule (Matches are live streamed on the European Cricket Network YouTube channel)

Thursday – Guernsey v Croatia, 1pm; Guernsey v Bulgaria 7.30pm.

Friday – Guernsey v Jersey, 1pm; Guernsey v Belgium 5.30pm.

Saturday – Eliminator and qualifier matches.