Jersey captain Peter Gough has said that the camaraderie within the squad since 2014 has been crucial to the team's success. Jersey secured their first win over Oman in five attempts to claim the WCL Division Five title on Sunday.
Gough told ESPNcricinfo that the title win was a big confidence heading into Division Four in Los Angeles later this year.
"We're looking forward to it because it's going to be five teams, well six including us, that are at the standard of Oman," Gough said. "We've played Italy and Denmark before, and USA as well. We know they're all good sides. It's like the World T20 Qualifier, it's what you strive to do. You don't want to play games where you don't get challenged. You want to play the best possible teams and try and beat them.
"We know there's five really good sides there, but we know we're one of them as well so there's six good sides there. We want to challenge these sides. We know we can beat them. We've beaten Italy, we've beaten USA, we've beaten Oman now. All these teams we're close to."
Though Jersey gained promotion from Division Six at home in 2013, Gough said that the seeds for the team's success were laid in Division Five held in Malaysia the following year. Eight members of the current squad - Gough, Corey Bisson, Cornelis Bodenstein, Anthony Hawkins-Kay, Jonty Jenner, Charles Perchard, Ben Stevens and Nat Watkins - have been in all five of Jersey's ICC tournament squads since then. All but Gough from that group are 26 or younger, establishing what might be a solid nucleus for the next decade.
There were some growing pains not long after the core group got together, most notably relegation from 2014 WCL Division Four in Singapore. However, being given time to gel paid off last summer as Jersey won the ICC Europe Division One T20 championship for the first time, earning a maiden berth in the World T20 Qualifier. Notching three wins in that event, including a nine-wicket demolition of eventual World T20 participant Hong Kong, was a reward for management's faith in youth.
"Coming down from Singapore was a tough experience," Gough said. "It probably started in Malaysia in 2014 to go up from Five and we played well there, the first time together as a group and we started to play some really good cricket, and then Singapore was a tough standard of competition in tough conditions. We still loved it but we just weren't quite good enough.
"The boys stayed together. So a lot of the players from that tournament are part of the team that's here today. The most satisfying thing is that we're learning and that we're trying to get better. The T20 Qualifier last year was a huge thing for us."
Depth and variety behind that core group is also starting to blossom. Medium pacer Ben Kynman ripped through Nigeria on the final day of group play to set a Jersey mark in the WCL with 6 for 18, and then followed it up with 4 for 10 in the final against Oman to finish with a tournament-best 15 wickets.
Any concerns about the absence of regular wicketkeeper Ed Farley, who was unavailable due to work commitments, were eased by the performance of Jake Dunford. In his debut tournament for Jersey, Dunford set a WCL record with 21 dismissals to break the previous mark of 19 shared by Jeroen Smits of Netherlands - who did it in ten games at the 2009 World Cup Qualifier - and Denzil Sequeira of Botswana who did it in six games on home soil at 2013 WCL Division Seven.
"What I'm most proud of is that an island with a population of 100,000 is able to play at this level and actually show the cricketing world that we really can challenge," Ward Jenner, chairman of the Jersey Cricket Board, told ESPNcricinfo following the tournament. "We've got some very, very talented players."
Historically, Jersey do not have a superior record in limited-overs cricket against any of their opponents in Division Four - 1-2 against USA, 3-3 against Italy, 1-4 against Denmark, 1-3 against Oman and no record against Bermuda - but Kynman was buoyed by Jersey's progress.
"Certainly with the USA, playing in the T20 [Qualifier] obviously there was a defeat on that day but we certainly don't feel like we were outplayed in the T20 format," Kynman said in reference to Jersey's five-wicket loss to USA last summer in which they were bowled out for 87 before USA chased the target in 15.4 overs.
"In 50 overs, that's one of our stronger points anyway. In 50 overs we feel we're much improved and a really, really good fielding side. We feel we can gain a lot of runs in the field.
"Los Angeles is gonna be a fantastic place. We're all absolutely stoked to go there. We can't wait to go there but also this is a big one for us going into Division Four. We know Oman is someone we'll have a good test against. We've played a lot of these teams before. I wouldn't say that we're behind them in any way. I'd say we're as good if not better."