Team sport returns as Covid cloud begins to clear

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It mattered not that they had to wait another 24 hours – the game originally scheduled for Saturday until rain postponed play for another day – but it would have been cruel if the sun didn’t come out and shed its light over St Martin having blazed across Jersey for nearly the whole of lockdown.

And come out it did.

It played its part in a delightful afternoon for cricket, contested in-house between Farmers under-23s and over-23s for the first ‘competitive’ team sport match on the Island since social distancing was imposed back in March. All eligible Farmers members – including a host of senior and junior Jersey internationals – would have been chomping at the bit to play and the club may well have received a few enquiries from some ringers too. It was a pleasant return for the few permitted onlookers around the boundary as well.

After electing to bat, the U23s put up a half-decent score of 121 runs in this limited 20-over friendly, losing six wickets in the process. Opener Zac Tribe led the way, lasting to the 18th over and hitting 42, including a couple of decent fours, during which his younger brother Asa was caught by Rhys Palmer off the bowling of Ben Kynman. The elder Tribe had his most prolific partnership with Julius Sumerauer, who scored 29.

It wouldn’t be enough to beat the more senior outfit, though, in a nail-biting ending with the match won on the last ball – an extra at that too. Ric Firth, in at six, hit the required four runs needed having only taken to the field five minutes before, securing a five-wicket triumph. Will Perchard may rue a missed chance when bowling wide with the penultimate ball.

Island captain ‘Chuggy’ Perchard, who hit 12 runs and claimed a wicket for the O23s said: ‘It’s really nice to back out there. We’ve been training for at least a month now so it’s nice to actually play some cricket. Throughout the last couple of days there’s just been so much rain. It would have been impossible to have played yesterday [Saturday] so we were lucky … we got away with it in the end.’

With more ‘friendly’ matches scheduled for next weekend, Jersey Cricket are aiming to kick-start the domestic Evening and Weekend League seasons in the first week of July.

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