Guernsey Press

Brussels boundaries are there to be cleared

CAN Guernsey turn potential into points as they return to the international stage this weekend?

Guernsey captain Ollie Nightingale batting against the MCC last week. (Picture by Martin Gray,, 33271248)

In the grand scheme of things, the four-game T20I series in Belgium is part of the Island squad’s preparations for the Men’s T20 World Cup Europe Qualifier in August, but the matches in Brussels are important in themselves as the teams can earn ICC ranking points and Guernsey captain Ollie Nightingale revealed he has been doing his homework about the opposition.

‘I’ve been sent some videos – we’re pretty lucky now that with all the ECN coverage, you actually get to see quite a lot of them – so, I’ve spent some lunchtimes trying to work out what they do,’ he said of Belgium, who are currently ranked 47th, 11 places below Guernsey.

The Island squad have had a productive spring so far with good performances against academy sides from Hampshire, Somerset and Cricket Ireland.

Unfortunately, the annual MCC Tour was restricted to just one T20 match due to the weather, but the skipper was still pleased with aspects of that display in defeat last week.

‘We’re heading in the right direction. I think again, it’s all sort of channelling towards the summer so whenever we get together it’s quite important,’ Nightingale said.

‘They brought a really strong team this year ... they had a couple of ex-pros and they were a decent side and we probably fell slightly short, but it was good practice for this weekend.’

In between matches, the squad have been working hard on their batting with the focus being on clearing the ropes.

‘When we get to the tournament, it’s going to be all about boundaries – fours, sixes – so we’ve done a lot of work in the nets trying to be more aggressive and then actually take that into matches,’ the captain said.

‘So we did some range hitting and we’ve actually put a lot more emphasis on it doesn’t matter if you get out, let’s try and hit fours and sixes because that’s going to be key from the summer.’

Sixteen-year-old seamer Harry Johnson could make his full international debut for Guernsey this weekend as they take a near full-strength squad to Brussels – although Charlie Forshaw is unavailable – and Nightingale is wanting players to stake their claim for a place in the group for the ICC tournament later this summer.

‘If you look at who’s performed well at the start of the season, it’s been the guys in and around the squad, so in some ways that’s a positive but you always want more than the XI that you pick to be competitive.

‘It’s been a good start to the season, I think there’s been some good cricket domestically in patches, so it’s about trying to grow the depth and make sure that it’s competitive as possible.’

The squad travel on Friday and play the four matches over Saturday and Sunday.

Guernsey squad to face Belgium

Ollie Nightingale (captain), Luke Bichard, Martin-Dale Bradley, Josh Butler, Zak Damarell, Ben Ferbrache, Ben Fitchet, Harry Johnson, Adam Martel, Dec Martel, Dane Mullen, Tom Nightingale, Matt Stokes.