New cricket chief hopes to both lead and inspire

Sarah Gomersall hopes her appointment as Jersey Cricket’s chief executive officer will inspire more females to get into the sport

JERSEY CRICKET’S new chief executive believes her appointment shows a clear ‘statement of intent’, in a ‘traditionally male sport.’

Yorkshire-born Islander Sarah Gomersall accepted the role following two years of service as a non-executive director for the local governing body.

Despite a childhood dominated by cricket in north-east England, the former finance worker confessed that much of that time was ‘spent on the boundary.’

‘Cricket was and still is, to an extent, largely a male-dominated sport,’ she said.

‘I have been surrounded by the game for as long as I can remember. Everyone in my family was connected to the sport in one way or another.

‘Personally I played for an under-15 boys team, primarily when they were short, but I spent most of my time feeling like I was on the periphery of a game that I had so much passion for.

‘Times have definitely changed from then, but there is a long way to go.

‘My appointment feels like a real statement of intent and I want to be an inspiration to our younger female cricketers and let them know that they do belong in this sport.’

Much of the last two years that Gomersall spent with Jersey Cricket was spent re-establishing new governance, new strategy, and new relationships.

The sport has entered somewhat of a golden era in terms of the men’s side’s ICC ranking and the improvement of the women’s game.

‘Cricket has continued to be on the up in Jersey for a number of years, and we need to make sure that we continue that progression,’ she explained.

‘Forming relationships has proved vital for giving our elite level cricketers the platform to continue to succeed.’

Gomersall’s predecessor, Craig Meredith, stepped down to relocate to the mainland, with his son earning a call-up to Kent’s U15 squad, alongside fellow Islander Jack Kemp.

‘Seeing our young players called up to a top county programme is testament to the coaching work that goes on over here,’ Gommersall added.

‘Not only that, but the continued development of relationships with the county teams are not only necessary, but imperative that the pathway for these individuals doesn’t stop with us.

‘We want to allow our Islanders to fulfil their potential and the more relationships we have with the county sides, the better the chance that Islanders will be selected.

‘They also mean that more fixtures in the mainland are arranged and further provide a platform for our cricketers to perform and grab the attention of their coaches.’

On the women’s side of Jersey Cricket, Lee Meloy’s fledgling team continue to endear themselves to the masses, courtesy of their most recent demolition of neighbours Guernsey.

One aspect missing was the lack of ICC sanctioned events, stunting the goal of progression. That is set to change in 2023.

The ICC are said to be impressed with the development of Jersey Cricket organisationally and have given the green light for the women’s team to be involved in more international events.

Gomersall said: ‘I think the continued development of the women’s game in Jersey is vital and it’s a key point of emphasis heading into the new year.

‘The news we have received from the ICC is a big boost for them and Lee, so 2023 will be an exciting time for them, as they become more exposed to a better standard of cricket.

‘It might prove a bit challenging at first, but they can only improve by playing against better opposition.

‘The men’s team have paved the way and showed that Jersey can compete with some of the bigger nations in the sport and that will certainly incentivise the women to follow in their footsteps.’

On top of all the positive news domestically, there are also plans to expand the domestic game and revive the Channel Islands League, involving Guernsey clubs.

Despite the long-standing rivalry between the Channel Islanders, Gomersall believes that competition between the pair breeds improvement.

‘The rivalry is hugely important to both Guernsey and Jersey. But what is also key is that the competition remains fierce.

‘As much as both sides don’t want to admit it, we need either other and I believe that a domestic league that incorporates Guernsey outfits would be of benefit to all involved.’

What is strikingly clear is that Jersey Cricket is in an unprecedented place, and its new CEO has no thought of stunting that progression heading into her inaugural year in charge.

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