JERSEY were left ruing what might have been in the opening fixtures of the finals of the European Cricket Championships after being edged out in a thriller against hosts Spain, before a second straight loss to England XI.
A high extras count – 35 of them including a five-run penalty for a slow over rate – proved decisive as Spain held on for a five-run win in a hugely entertaining encounter that acted as a great advert for T10 cricket.
And they let slip a strong position against England XI, after picking up early wickets only for a sixth-wicket partnership of 102, which included 70 runs off the final three overs, to take the game away from them.
The Islanders, without regular skipper Chuggy Perchard who was due to link up with the squad today, won the toss and elected to bowl first as fast bowlers Julius Sumerauer and George Richardson made early inroads.
Sumerauer had danger man Daniel Doyle Calle out for a duck just two balls into the innings and Richardson picked up two in the next over.
When Sumerauer bowled Hamza Saleem Dar in the third, Spain were struggling on 28-4 and Jersey would have been eyeing a routine win.
But things started to unravel for the Islanders as a series of wides and no-balls gave the hosts a foothold in the game.
The partnership of Muhammad Yasin (37) and Muhammad Ihsan (67 not out) put on 105 for the fifth wicket before Yasin was caught on the boundary by Theo Pullman.
What followed were bizarre scenes as Awais Ahmed took too long making his way to the middle and was timed out.
Spain eventually ended on 158/7 – a gettable target for a batting line-up as talented as Jersey’s but, nevertheless, the Islanders would have been fully aware that they had gifted their opponents at least 30 runs.
Openers Patrick Gouge and Asa Tribe got Jersey off to a fast start, putting on 59 in the first three overs but Spain managed to put the squeeze on in the middle overs and the run rate started to creep up.
Jonty Jenner blasted 28 off the seventh over which looked to have wrestled back control but the very next over went for just six – including the wicket of Jenner – and Jersey once again had a battle on as they needed 34 from the last two overs.
Tribe fell in the ninth, as Doyle Calle took a crucial catch on the boundary when it looked as if the Jerseyman had got enough on it for a maximum.
One over to go. Still 20 required.
Josh Lawrenson clubbed the first two balls of the tenth for six but back-to-back singles left Jersey needing six more of the final two deliveries. Lawrenson lined one up but – like Tribe before him – was caught on the ropes leaving Elliot Corbel, a new face in the squad, with the unenviable task of needing to hit the last ball of the innings and his first of the tournament for a maximum.
He got enough on it but once again there was a Spanish fielder underneath it to pluck the ball out of the skies before it could clear the ropes. Corbel slumped on his haunches as Spain celebrated a narrow win.
Stand-in skipper Tribe, speaking after the Spain match,said: “We were disappointed not to get through the first match, but it was a really close game and a good one for the neutral fan.
“(Patrick) Gouge and Jonty (Jenner) showed their class with the bat at the top of the order and our new ball bowlers put Spain under real pressure.
“Personally I felt like I hit them ok. I felt in great rhythm in the group stages but it’s just the first match and the rhythm will come. I think we bowled a few too many extras. This led to us getting a five-run penalty because we weren’t able to get our overs finished in time and that was definitely a part of our downfall.
“We know why we’re here and we certainly know we’re good enough. It’s just about backing ourselves and nailing our skills when it comes to the pressure moments.”
Against England XI, Sumerauer and Rhys Palmer took two wickets apiece as the Islanders restricted their opponents to 53-5 at the half-way stage of the innings. But, David Scott (45 not out) and Thomas Bevan (56) pulled England to 155/6 from their ten overs.
The Jersey response got off to the worst possible start as Gouge was dismissed of the very first ball and from there they were up against it. Tribe departed for just five, while Jenner made 21 and Sumerauer four as Jersey were left 32/4 off three overs.
Wickets continued to fall and England eventually wrapped up a 79-run victory.
Spain v Jersey (game one)Spain won by five runs
SpainD Doyle Calle, c Pullman, b Sumerauer 0M Yasin, c Pullman, b Tribe 37B Khan, c Jenner, b Richardson 4Y Ali, c Lawrenson, b Richardson 0H Saleem Dar, b Richardson 16M Ihsan, not out 63A Ahmed, timed out 0A Alger, c Gouge, b Pullman 2M Ur Rehman, not out 1
Extras: 35 Total: 158/7 (10 overs)
Bowling: J Sumerauer 2-0-22-1, G Richardson 2-0-38-2, T Britton 2-0-35-0, A Tribe 2-0-29-1, T Pullman 2-0-23-1
JerseyP Gouge, c Adeel, b Atif 37A Tribe, c Doyle Calle, b Saleem Dar 47J Jenner, b Ali 40J Sumerauer, not out 7J Lawrenson, c Alger, b Ur Rehman 14E Corbel, c Ihsan, b Ur Rehman 0
Extras: 8 Total: 153/5 (10 overs)
Bowling: Y Ali 2-0-28-1, R Adeel 2-0-29-0, M Ur Rehman 2-0-32-2, M Atif 2-0-38-1, H Saleem Dar 2-0-25-1