Indian maestro breaks Jersey hearts

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Jersey had victory in their grasp but the game will be remembered for a stunning all-round display by Guernsey’s Indian import Ami Banerjee.He deserved more than his figures of 1 for 28 suggest for an outstanding opening spell that included six consecutive maidens.

He followed that up with a classy 46.A match-winning partnership of 44 from the ninth-wicket pair of Pierre Moody and Justin Ferbrache wrapped up the game for the Sarnians after Stuart Le Prevost’s excellent 48 had pushed them towards victory.Man-of-the-match Banerjee’s 15-overs opening spell was nothing short of incredible.Admittedly, in his early overs the pitch was assisting him but the way he subdued a batsman of Matt Hague’s talent was simply breathtaking.Banerjee let one ball slip down leg-side in his first over for a wide but then did not concede a run until the second delivery of his eighth.At the other end, Matt Jeffery produced four marvellous overs of his own and the whole side and home supporters were convinced that he had Hague caught behind with his 11th ball but the batsman stood his ground and Brian Mitchinson turned down the appeal.That was almost good for Guernsey because Hague just could not get the bowling away and he scraped his way to 12 from 72 balls before Banerjee finally got his man, caught at point by Tim Duke.Steve Carlyon looked in far better nick and capitalised on some tired stuff from Jeffery late in his six-over spell with some majestic cutting and pulling.Moody replaced the Rovers man and generally kept things tight with the exception of one poor over that was dispatched for ten by Carlyon.

The left-hander brought up a deserved half century in Gary Rich’s first over with a push to backward point.But he departed soon after when Jeremy Frith clipped his leg stump after getting his first delivery to turn through the gate.Chris Jones was then to be thrown a lifeline.

After a huge leg before appeal was turned down, Rich got a beauty through the number three and knocked over his castle, only to hear the call of no-ball.The Old Victorian made the most of it, scoring an excellent 57 not out from 79 deliveries including six fours, several of them being textbook drives through the mid-off region.But the explosive innings came from Meeku Patidar who produced some impressive hitting against the spinners, launching three sixes and a four in his 46 from 49 balls.

He perished going for a repeat off Frith only for Banerjee to claim a fine catch at deep mid-wicket.Mark Saralis continued the work although he had more than his share of luck.

Justin Ferbrache was convinced that he had him stumped, then Banerjee misjudged a catch out in the deep and to top things off, Tim Duke’s direct hit off his own bowling had Saralis resigned to his fate but Dave Bray shook his head at the run-out appeal.At the start of the reply, Glenn Milnes and Matt Oliver had both hit fine boundaries as well as having a little luck before the Cobo man got a snorter from Paul Horton, which he did well to glove to slip.Banerjee joined the New Zealander but the latter was soon to depart as a leading edge looped up to point and Guernsey were 30 for 2.But then the Optimist and Jeremy Frith threatened to take the game away from Jersey for the second year in a row, adding a comfortable 42 for the third wicket.

Banerjee was driving delightfully while Firth worked the ball around and pulled a couple of fours.However, the earlier reluctance of Mitchinson to raise his finger suddenly vanished as Hague went up for an ambitious leg before appeal against Frith that was surprisingly upheld.Four overs later when Andy Biggins hit a Stuart Ramskill full toss straight to square leg, Guernsey were starting to look like underdogs.But Le Prevost was the coolest man in the ground as he walked to the wicket and after only a couple of sighters, he was hitting fours to all corners.He was soon to lose Banerjee as a partner though as the Indian’s superb day ended as he was caught at mid-wicket but Le Prevost was in full flow already.A cut and a pull were followed by three trademark flicks off his legs, one of them ending in a lost ball.But the edge to the game was kept by Duke giving Horton a simple return catch and Rich being removed by a combination of Tony Carlyon and Mitchinson.Yet even at 152 for 7 Guernsey looked well in the hunt with Le Prevost and Moody there, the all-rounder hitting a couple of boundaries over mid-off early on.But Jersey were made firm favourites when Mitchinson’s finger of fate was raised again with Guernsey on 167.Le Prevost pushed one out to deep mid-wicket and looked to be struggling on the second run if a good throw came in.

It didn’t though and Simon Short’s first dive for the stumps missed and only on his second movement did he dislodge a bail.

The batsman was given out for 48, scored from just 37 balls.Jersey seemingly had the game in their grasp but Ferbrache desperately wanted that winners’ medal before he leaves for New Zealand – and he made sure he got it.He held up one end, mainly nudging singles but also hitting a boundary through backward point while Moody took control.

The run-rate was not an issue by this stage – stay in to win was what was required.For the first part of their partnership, most of the crowd were still seething at the previous decision but once Moody launched a straight six to bring up the 190, the focus was once again on the cricket.They took the score up in sensible ones and twos for the remainder of the game, each run cheered as Jersey wilted in the sun.And Moody (41 from 41 balls) ended it in superb style, smashing a straight pull for four over mid-on off Saralis to spark a pitch invasion from his ecstatic team-mates.Jersey skipper Dave Gorman was dignified in defeat and did not offer any excuses.

‘We are desperately disappointed.

We got ourselves into a position to win the game but that was a killer ninth-wicket partnership,’ he said.

‘It was a great crowd and great enthusiasm from the supporters.

Because of that it made it a better game and that was entertaining.

‘I was happy with 209 but it would have been nice to get 20 or so more runs.

We raised the tempo through Meeku Patidar and Chris Jones after a good knock from Steve Carlyon.’Ami Banerjee bowled excellently – to bowl eight or nine maidens is critical.’We bowled okay but we did not bowl according to plan.

We had the field set on the off-side and we bowled to straight too often.

We did not quite put it in the right place.

There was not much between the two sides and my congratulations go to Guernsey, it was wonderful for them to win here.

Jersey will be giving it another good go next year.”It was against the odds,’ said Guernsey skipper Andy Biggins.

But our strength in depth pulled us through and it was a win based on teamwork.’

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