Guernsey Press

Guernsey’s men to host a Cricket Ireland Academy side in April

One opportunity has led to another even bigger one for Guernsey’s top cricketers.

The sides will play two T20s and a 50-over match in what is hoped will be the start of a lasting relationship between Guernsey and Cricket Ireland. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 33014356)

The Island men’s side will host an Irish Academy squad the week after Hampshire and Somerset academies visit in April thanks to a link forged since the turn of the year.

Guernsey senior men’s team manager Rob Thomson was asked to manage the British & Irish Knights team for the new Weston Shield competition organised by the European Cricket Network, and Cricket Ireland academy & performance director Peter Johnston will coach that team, which could include up to four Sarnians.

Thomson’s discussions with Johnston have morphed into something that will benefit Guernsey on a much larger scale.

‘Six weeks ago I did not know Pete, but we got put in touch by Daniel Weston for the Knights team and when we were having a long chat about that, my mind veered off onto what we could perhaps do between Guernsey and Ireland,’ Thomson said.

He and Guernsey director of cricket Jeremy Frith had been trying to fill a slot around Saturday 20 April and direct flights between Dublin and the island on the Thursday and Sunday perfectly suited the opportunity.

That has led to a two-day schedule of two T20 matches and a 50-over contest between the sides on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 April.

‘I packaged it all up and sent off an email to Pete and he loved the idea,’ said Thomson.

‘He was in South Africa for the Under-19 World Cup when we were working all of it out and we expect to see a number of players from that Ireland squad coming to the island.

‘His wording was that it would be a strong academy side, so that’s certainly going to keep us on our toes.

‘We are going to see a number of different Island players over the two days, but all the teams will be the strongest we can put out for those fixtures.

‘What we want to be doing in all our T20 matches this season is play as close to our best XI as possible so come the European Qualifier in August, we have played together as much as we possibly can.’

The ambition is also to build a lasting relationship with Ireland so that this visit is not a one-off.