I didn’t realise it beforehand, but the Island’s cricket season stops at the end of July for the bottom two clubs, Caesareans and Springfield, because in August all competition for them ceases.
They can play friendlies. They can play visiting sides (although there are scant few of those). However, by finishing out of the top four clubs in the Island, who then go into the melting pot of the top eight Channel Island teams, their CI cricket competition is over.
In the cricketing hierarchy, for younger players in particular, this problem of belonging to a club which doesn’t have a ‘proper’ game to play in August is already causing problems. Players, for example, returning from university, are opting to change teams because, if they don’t, they’ll never get a decent game again – not this year at least.
So a die-hard Springfield player becomes a player for OVs, or Romerils or SCF, and so on. And you can’t blame them. They want to play cricket; but if they have no structure to their games and if they have to play out meaningless friendlies, well, what’s the point in that? So there is a great deal of activity with (mainly) players returning from university, signing up for 1st division teams who are still involved in Channel Island cricket, but not the clubs they played for when they started out in their teens.
For the others; for those whose season is already dead; there is no cricket in August . . . which is crazy. For Jersey has a tremendous pedigree of cricketers who – even if they will never play at Island level – need games. And you don’t have to be in the best Island team to be a super star.
As long as the Island selectors notice you, no matter what your age or the team you play for, you should be judged on merit. If we don’t look after the clubs at the bottom end of the division, we’ll lose good players and end up with fewer clubs than even those in Guernsey (who are likely to have only four premiership teams next year). Meanwhile Guernsey are already anxious about clubs falling by the wayside.
Please, please, may that not happen in Jersey.