All eyes on Guernsey
Stuart Le Prevost Guernsey captain
It’s not often that the eyes of the cricketing world take even a passing glance at Guernsey, but it is fantastic that we are staging the first qualifying event for the 2015 World Cup.
As somebody who was born on the island and has played cricket ever since I can remember, I am very proud that we are holding an international event of this magnitude and we are determined to put on a good show (if the weather will let us!)
Now, I am guessing you are probably thinking two things at the moment. Why are teams trying to qualify for the 2015 World Cup already, and where in the world is Guernsey?
Firstly, Guernsey along with Bahrain, Gibraltar, Japan, Nigeria and Suriname are taking part in the ICC World Cricket League Division 7. This is the first part of the four-year qualifying process for the World Cup in 2015, which culminates in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers in 2013.
If we finish in the top two at this event, we get promoted to Division 6 and will compete in Singapore in August. If we come third or fourth, we play in Division 7 again in 2011 and if we’re relegated we go into Division 8 in 2010. The aim for us is to get as high up the ladder as we can and certainly to the same level as Jersey, currently in Division 5, who are our main local rivals and are another island in the Channel Islands. Afghanistan have shown it is possible to climb the ladder from the lower divisions and is an inspiration to all the teams at this level.
As for Guernsey, it is a small island in between England and France. In fact we are closer to France, but we seem to have inherited England’s passion for cricket! The population of the island is just over 60,000 – indeed if all the islanders came to support us at the MCG in 2015 we would still only fill two thirds of the stadium.
Guernsey is a beautiful place, with the feel of an English village about it. We have some superb beaches and it is a brilliant place for people to visit and I really hope that all the players in this competition will enjoy their time here.
There is a great passion on the island for cricket, with five divisions made up of eight adult teams playing in the midweek leagues alone. The biggest game of the year used to be against Jersey, who we play once a year in our equivalent of the Ashes, and is a match that has been played since the 1950s! It is a massive day for everybody on the island and nobody likes to be on the losing team.
As well as being captain of Guernsey, I am quite well positioned to talk about how the wickets will play in the tournament as I am one of the groundsmen on the island. The pitches normally offer something to both bat and ball, so there should be some competitive matches.
We have been lucky enough to have had some international teams come and play here before. A couple of years ago, Bermuda toured here and although they beat us, I don’t think there was a massive gulf between the sides. Knowing you have played against people who have played in the World Cup makes you dream that you can compete with sides at a higher level.
It will be a great effort if we can get promoted this week and a trip to Singapore in August for Division 6 would be an amazing experience. We have seen how much Jersey benefited from playing in the World Cricket League, getting to travel to places like Tanzania, and I am excited about having our moment in the spotlight.
Stuart Le Prevost is one of a number of players blogging for Cricinfo during the WCL Division 7
Will Luke is assistant editor of ESPNcricinfo