However, she believes that the role of team manager needs looking at again, after her week away in Guernsey with the Jersey team.’In Guernsey I talked a lot to the other team managers, and learnt a lot from them, especially that, with a large team like ours, the load needs to be spread a great deal.’We took 300 people, and I feel that there should be more delegation; someone to look after accommodation, someone else travel, finance, kit and so on.’That’s how other islands operate and it seems the right way forward for the Jersey team.’After an early morning meeting with the other islands’ team managers and then a debriefing at the Peninsular Hotel, Vowden would try to get to as many sports as she could during the day.There were many highlights, including the first competition team gold in men’s and women’s triathlon, individual gold for Mel Messervy and bronze for Paul Clements.’When they cycled back to the hotel they cycled right into the lobby and then the dining room.
Everyone who was there stood and cheered.
It was a very special moment.”On the track Jo McGarry and a Guernsey runner, and a runner from the Isle of Man, lapped the pack in the 10,000m before the Guernsey girl went 50 yards ahead.
I could see Jo’s knees going and I said “”she’s never going to do this””, but she clawed back the yards and eventually won by a good ten yards.’She told me afterwards that she kept telling herself “”I am not going to lose this race””.’The support for her from the Jersey team was fantastic.’But I also loved the opening ceremony, when thousands of people turned up to cheer us on; also Claire Lidster’s 110m hurdles, when she dipped for the gold, and Peter Irving’s bronze in the 400m hurdles after he fell two years ago close to the line when he was winning.’The atmosphere in the swimming pool was tremendous and I was there when Rosie Barrett and Eloise Le Cornu won their first individual medals – I was proud of both of them.’On the downside, Vowden thought it unfair that the athletes would turn up at the Track of a morning, only to be told that their heats had been cancelled; she was upset when she realised that Sam Firby hadn’t won the gold medal in the Town Criterium, and other lowlights came in the gym and on the volleyball courts.’I thought Sam had won and had actually turned away when they announced, on the tannoy, that he’d finished second,’ she said.’And what a disappointment it was when, against Guernsey, the women’s volleyball team hauled themselves back from two sets to nil down to 2-2, then 11-11 in the deciding set before losing.’In the set routine on floor and vault Jersey were in the first three places with one island to go.
The girls were brilliant.
Then the Isle of Man came out and Jersey won nothing.
I was so disappointed for Arthur and Julia Falle.’Vowden also had a feeling, as she watched the semi-finals of the men’s football match, that Jersey would lose after they’d gone a goal ahead and the Isle of Man were reduced to ten men.
Her worst fears were realised as Jersey lost 2-1.However, she said that not only had Guernsey ‘organised it brilliantly’, but that throughout the week she was continually amazed by how many Jersey people came over to watch and support their team.
She said she would like to thank them, and the Jersey squad, for being excellent ambassadors for Island sport.
However, she ended with a warning that Jersey cannot hope to be at the top of the tree as it has been, for so many years.’For a long time Jersey has been at the top, but now new islands are coming in and helping to raise standards,’ she said.
‘In the long run that cannot be a bad thing.’