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The numbers game: good and bad

Inside Track | Published:

NUMBERS, numbers, it’s all about numbers.

Big numbers: CJ Peatfield after his unbeaten 130 for Ravenscroft Independents.

They could be financials, competitors or hours of the day, but island sport is becoming ever more aware of the stats.

This past few days there have been some remarkable numbers which, in the week we said goodbye to dear old Keith Parkyn, are worth highlighting for the very fact that they are hard to believe to those of ‘Parky’s’ era – and mine, to be honest.

Both these sets of numbers highlight just how much our sport has changed in a relatively and unpredictably short time and, more to the point, we are fairly helpless in doing anything about it.

First the negative stats.

Just three teams are destined to play in next season’s Under-16s football league. Yes three, a clean division of the number nine which is the number of hours it took for the total 140-plus entry for next year’s GU36 ultra marathon to be filled once the entry form went up online.

It’s staggering to think that so many people want to exhaust themselves by running 36 miles of island cliff paths and roads – and within a few days a waiting list of 30-plus developed.

But that’s modern sport now, less about the team but more about the individual and that person’s preference to do their sport under their own terms and not those of an association, club or coach.

No problem with that as far as I’m concerned.

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But the youth league figure is deeply worrying, as is that a club such as Northerners – winners of the Priaulx League more time than any other in more than 100 years of local footy – will enter the 2018-19 campaign with neither an U16 or U18 side.

Throw in falling numbers on the cricket field and vast holes in the Royal Guernsey Golf Club membership list and for those of us who grew up to a rock-steady sports scene, you begin to shudder with worry.

Not, of course, that sport and getting exercise is becoming less popular.

So many sports are recording record memberships or entry numbers.

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Next week’s Milk Run ‘Half’ will probably have circa 700 entries, which is a fantastic number, and everyone who runs or trudges the 13.1 miles down the west coast will consider it £17 well spent.

Guernsey Athletics will do well out of it too, but the financials are a big worry for many clubs and sports nowadays, not least the established football clubs who have performed a remarkable development job over a century and more, the Royal Guernsey, probably La Grande Mare Golf Club, many a cricket club and, we now know, the Guernsey Netball Association, who have to find a way of finding £26,000 of funding to allow their U14s to take their place in the National South Leagues come September.

It’s a mind-boggling amount for the young Panthers to find and I wish them luck in doing so.

ONE more impressive number this week was the 130 bludgeoned by CJ Peatfield for Ravenscroft Independents in the Odey Wealth Evening Championship.

Peatfield has made some impressive contributions one step down from the Premier level in recent seasons, but this was unquestionably his most staggering performance, which should be tempered only by the fact that his run-scoring ability is clearly of Premiership standard.

Nevertheless, to score that amount off just 59 deliveries faced takes some doing for anybody.

Rob Batiste

By Rob Batiste
author

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