Quick. Name the most intense rivalries in cricket. India v Pakistan? Check. Australia v England? Check. Jersey v Guernsey… say what?
The Ashes may date back to 1877, but another rivalry, between two much smaller islands - combined population of 160,000 and land mass totalling less than 75 square miles - predates it by 16 years. The history between Jersey and Guernsey on the cricket field runs deep, though the distance between the two British crown dependencies is narrow - it's a two-hour ferry ride between the islands just off the north-west coast of France.
"Some people say that size matters, but I'd say they don't build big diamonds," says Stuart Bisson, former Guernsey player and now their assistant coach, answering a question about which island is bigger and better. Jersey's population is 100,000 to Guernsey's 60,000, its territory 45 square miles to Guernsey's 25. The Inter-Insular - as the annual cricket fixture between the two is known - is held dear among citizens on both islands, a little gem whose entertainment value is inversely proportional to the geographical area the territory covers.
"It's fierce," says Jersey captain Peter Gough. "When I first started, it was the only game you played for Jersey in the whole year. So you played club cricket all year and the whole reason for playing club cricket was to try and get into the island side to get selected for the Guernsey game. So that was your one chance to play in front of a big crowd in a huge game, and that would spill over and it would be a lot of passion and pride in the game.
"You'd be absolutely mortified if you didn't score any runs, just devastated, because that was your one chance to score runs in front of lots of people, and that's the game that everyone talked about and remembered, so everyone got really fired up for that game, which they still do now, definitely, there's no question about it.
"My very first memory was getting run out, I was 17 [in 2002, his first Inter-Insular], getting run out, and then one of the Guernsey fans walking onto the field and taunting me as I was walking off the ground. I really wanted to just wrap my bat around his head."
The two islands - whose inhabitants are colloquially referred to as Caesareans (Jersey) and Sarnians (Guernsey) from the Latin names for each island - have had teams competing against each other on the cricket field in some form since 1861. The first games were played between sides representing Victoria College in Jersey and Elizabeth College in Guernsey, and with the exception of a few gaps, the two teams usually met for home- and-away fixtures on each island annually from 1862 until 1898.
Due in part to the world wars, the latter of which saw both islands occupied by German troops, scorecard records show the game was only played four times over the next 51 years. The rivalry in its current form as a true national-team contest is said by historians and players of past generations from both islands to have originated in 1950, though it wasn't until several years later that the first game was recognised as the first Jersey v Guernsey Inter-Insular.
With the exception of 1952 and 1956, when Jersey failed to send a team over to Guernsey, the Inter-Insular match has been played every year for the past 66 years. The two islands also have well-known rivalries in football (for the Murrati Vase) and rugby (the Siam Cup). However, Jersey Cricket Board chairman Ward Jenner says the rivalry between the islands goes well beyond sport, and begins well before 1861.
"I'm sure that most clubs in the world have similar local derbies, but there's a big history between Jersey and Guernsey that goes back to the 1600s, when Guernsey supported the Parliamentarians and Jersey supported the Royalists," Jenner says, referring to the sides each island took during the English Civil War, in which Charles I was executed and his son Charles II lived in exile in Jersey.
"There's some pretty gruesome stories about things that happened once upon a time. There's also some good nicknames as well. Guernsey are known as the Donkeys, which sounds quite pejorative but actually most Guernseymen are proud Donkeys, and they call us Crapauds.
"A Crapaud is not necessarily as bad as it sounds. A Crapaud is a small toad which lives in Jersey. So the Crapauds and the Donkeys have a long, long rivalry in all sports and across everything really. It's quite fierce but I think most of us are quite good friends."
Initially the Inter-Insular was contested as a single-innings declaration match, a format frequently used in premier club cricket in the UK. Jersey won the inaugural contest by six wickets, as well as in 1953, 1954 and 1960. A series of draws, and the two abandoned fixtures in 1952 and 1956, meant that it wasn't until 1961 when Guernsey recorded their first win, by 38 runs at home in St Peter Port.
After 14 draws in the first 27 years of the Inter-Insular, including five draws in seven years from 1971 through 1977, the match was changed to a one-day format in 1978.
Overall, Jersey holds a 29-21 series lead to go along with the 14 draws. Up until 2006, when both countries first entered an ICC competition at that year's ICC European Division Two Championship, the Inter-Insular was often the only game either national team played annually, typically in August or early September.
"Whenever you win it, there's a huge outpouring of emotion," said Bisson. "I've found that over the years it's the guys who control their emotions on the day, they normally come out on top.
"It's the FA Cup final that we have every year. It's the most important. As much as you try to take the pressure off the day and have everyone relax and enjoy the day, it's the most emotive game that we play all year. So keeping the players calm and concentrating on their skills, whoever controls their emotions tends to do well on the day."
Jersey's overall winning record is down to their ability to keep calm when games have got tight, whereas Guernsey have developed a reputation for being chokers. Whether it is in Inter-Insular fixtures or ICC tournaments, Jersey have beaten Guernsey seven times by margins of three wickets or less when chasing, and another three times defending a target in the final over by margins of eight, four and one run. Six of those matches were decided on the final ball.
Jersey dominated the 1990s. Starting with a four-run triumph defending 201 under the captaincy of Jenner in 1992, they reeled off ten straight wins, the longest winning streak in the rivalry. Jenner captained in the first five of those wins, then left before the 1997 match, when his job moved him to Guernsey. After becoming a resident, Jenner sent out a feeler to Guernsey's selection panel to see if they would be interested in picking their former tormentor.
"I was quite prepared for them to say that it would send out the wrong message and we don't want you to do that," recalls Jenner. "That would be fair enough and I would have understood that, but they actually came back and said we want you to play, and we want you to captain. So that was quite a major thing really. I was quite surprised and I thought this was going to definitely set the cat amongst the pigeons."
Jenner holds the rare distinction of having been the only player to captain both sides, taking over the reins for the 1998 encounter in a bid to end the Jersey winning streak at six games. Guernsey had come agonisingly close in 1997, needing 20 off four overs with three wickets in hand, and ten off the final over before falling short by eight runs.
The Guernsey selection gamble appeared to have its desired effect as the Sarnians, led by Jenner, were on the brink of ending Jersey's dominant run, with Jersey needing 24 off the final two overs chasing Guernsey's 189 for 9. Brad Vowden began the 49th by striking two sixes to bring Jersey's equation down to 12 off ten balls before he was caught on the boundary on the next delivery, leaving three wickets in hand. Eventually three were needed to win off the final ball when one of the most extraordinary endings in the history of the Inter-Insular took place.
"As captain I helped my bowler set the field as accurately as I could," Jenner says. "I won't mention any names here, but my bowler bowled a terrible delivery. The Jersey batsman absolutely smashed it to square leg. I thought it was going for six, but actually it went straight, straight into the hands of one of my fielders who I had carefully positioned, maybe not expecting the bowler to bowl that particular ball. Not only did the fielder drop it, he then fumbled twice trying to pick it up to throw the ball in. So Jersey scrambled three runs to win the game."
Reports from the Jersey Evening Post and Guernsey Evening Press reveal the identities of the main characters in the drama. Opening batsman Richard Headington should have been the hero for Guernsey, top-scoring with 58, but is better remembered for bowling the final fateful ball. It was one of only two matches in which the future Guernsey captain ever bowled for the Sarnians. Richard Veillard, who had captained Guernsey in 1997, was the culprit for the misfields at square leg. Wicketkeeper Simon Short scored the winning runs, while Colin Graham's mad dash and dive for the third run for victory just beat the relay from Veillard to Guernsey wicketkeeper Mike Webber.
Jersey then won another three times before Guernsey's golden era began in 2002, behind the brilliance of Jeremy Frith, who would go on to finish his career as Guernsey's all-time leading scorer and wicket-taker. In his first Inter-Insular in 2001, Frith fell for a duck in Jersey's tenth consecutive win. From 2002 to 2011, Frith scored 499 runs at 71.29 - including a century and three fifties - as Guernsey won eight of the next ten meetings, including five straight from 2002 through 2006.
The Inter-Insular holds enough prestige that even though it is a bilateral fixture between two Associate sides ranked 29th and 31st in the world in 50-over cricket, players who are contracted with county sides are released to go back home and play in the contest. That includes 20-year-old Leicestershire allrounder Matt Stokes, who led Guernsey to a five-wicket win in the 2015 Inter-Insular by scoring 86 and taking 1 for 11 in eight overs, and Jersey's 18-year-old Jonty Jenner, Ward's son, a Sussex-contracted player who was named Channel Islands Sports Personality of the Year in 2015.
The younger Jenner is one of three second-generation talents in the Jersey squad for the 65th Inter-Insular on August 20 in Jersey. Luke Gallichan, son of Wayne, and Harrison Carlyon, son of Tony and nephew of Steve - two stalwarts from the 1990s Jersey dynasty - are also included. If Harrison is selected to debut, he will be Jersey's youngest capped player at age 15, beating Jonty's mark as a 16-year-old in 2014.
And so the agony and the ecstasy of the rivalry is passed down from generation to generation. For Ward Jenner, watching Jonty taking part in the rivalry is a "nerve-wracking" experience.
"I had a few reasonably successful days myself and I had some not-so-good times as a player," Jenner says. "I think watching your son play and knowing what the rivalry is like is the icing on the cake really."
In recent years, several players on each side admit that the increased fixture list, courtesy of ICC tournaments, has taken some of the edge off the Inter-Insular and put it into context. Promotion and relegation in events like the World Cricket League has taken precedence, though if the two islands come across each other in ICC tournament games it heightens the sense of occasion and has more often than not provided nail-biting finishes.
Jersey managed to chase down a target of 218 with one wicket to spare in the WCL Division Five in Malaysia in 2014, ensuring promotion for themselves and relegation for Guernsey. Guernsey were 209 for 4 in 46 overs chasing a target of 219 in ICC Europe Division Two in 2008, only to lose five wickets for five runs, three of them run-outs, in an eventual one-run loss that allowed Jersey to move up into the ICC Europe Division One as tournament champions.
"We were absolutely cruising it and then from nowhere we just absolutely capitulated and lost the game by one run," says current Guernsey captain Jamie Nussbaumer, who played his maiden Inter-Insular just two weeks prior to the showdown in the ICC tournament. "That was basically as low as it got."
However tight the rivalry might get on the field, the participants remain resolute to uphold the old tradition of socialising with the opposition in the bar after a game. Guernsey and Jersey have also briefly competed on some occasions as a combined Channel Islands team. Most recently, the combined side in the ongoing over-50s County Cricket competition ensures that players from both sides who went toe to toe in their heyday are getting along just fine as they grey.
The Inter-Insular remains a date that both sets of islanders mark on their calendars. Be it as a player or spectator, it's a rivalry that will continue forging memorable moments for generations to come.
"Back in the '80s on a Sunday when the game was played, the pubs were shut and basically there was not much else to do in Guernsey, and crowds of thousands of people would turn up to the games," Jenner says. "It's still very well supported now. Probably a little bit more boisterous and vociferous in Guernsey than they are over here, and there's a lot of island pride at stake.
"They're big, big games of cricket and there's a lot of emotion involved and some great characters as well, but at the end of the day it's cricket. It's a game, it should be fun."