Jersey will host the ICC World Cricket League Division 5 (WCL Div. 5) tournament in 2008.
The ICC’s decision follows a recent visit to the island by a development team to inspect the country’s suitability for promotion to Associate membership, which will be voted on at the ICC Annual Conference at Lord's in June.
Jersey has been an Affiliate Member of the ICC since June 2005 and as such is one of the more recent additions to the ICC’s Development Program. Selection to host this global event is recognition of the successful developments that the Jersey Cricket Board (JCB) has achieved over the past two years since gaining membership.
The largest of the Channel Islands, Jersey is located off the north coast of France and has a population of around 90,000 people. Approximately 3,500 participate in the game in Jersey. There are six grounds with turf squares on the island, which play host to a league structure made up of more than 40 teams competing across two weekend divisions, three evening league divisions and two indoor league divisions. There are also a further 47 teams that compete at junior level.
Chris Minty, JCB’s director of cricket, said: “This is tremendous, not only for Jersey cricket, but also for Jersey. We are looking forward to the challenges that this will present and will be doing all we can to ensure it is a successful tournament.”
Keith Dennis, chairman of the JCB, commented: “We feel very proud and honoured that the ICC has awarded this big tournament to Jersey and it's a tribute to the structure we have in place here and, of course, our facilities, together with support from our local government and sponsors. This has created the opportunity to be in a position to host such a tournament and we are looking forward to it.”
The WCL Divison 5 is scheduled to take place sometime in May or June of 2008, but the exact date is yet to be confirmed. Originally planned to be an eight-team event, a recent decision at the ICC Development Committee meeting earlier this month opted to expand the league to include 12 teams - Botswana, USA, Afghanistan, Norway, Nepal, Singapore, Jersey, Mozambique, Bahamas, Germany and two teams yet to qualify from the East-Asia Pacific region.
The WCL is made up of five divisions with the Europe region contributing eight teams to the overall event: Ireland, Netherlands, Scotland (Division 1), Denmark (Division 2), Italy (Division 3), Norway, Jersey and Germany (Division 5).
ICC Regional Development Manager for Europe Richard Holdsworth said: “Jersey’s excellent facilities and administration will ensure this is a memorable event for those countries participating. This will do the game of cricket a tremendous service in Jersey.”
The top two teams from the Division 5 tournament will progress to WCL Division 4 which is a six-team round-robin event to be staged in late 2008 at a venue yet to be confirmed.
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa