This is the biggest thing to have ever happened to Island cricket,’ said beaming Jersey Cricket Association president Keith Dennis.
‘It is an enormous honour and the possibilities that could emerge from this stretch on and on.’ The award of the tournament, which will pit 11 other cricketing nations against the JCA’s finest, also is a huge indication that Island’s application for associate membership of the International Cricket Council will be a success later this summer – and that brings financial as well as playing advantages.
Currently an ICC affiliate member Jersey are understandably cock-a-hoop over the award, which follows a recent inspection by officials from the world-governing body – and which should have far-reaching beneficial effects on the local game.
‘This is marvellous news,’ said director of cricket Chris Minty.
‘To have been in the running to host an eight-team tournament was big in itself, but to now have been awarded it, after it has been enlarged to 12 teams, is simply tremendous.’ But president Dennis was not surprised by the ICC’s decision: ‘Jersey’s facilities are head and shoulders above what you will find elsewhere – we have a tremendous set-up here of which we should be proud.’ The ICC’s move to enlarge the tournament may well have been crucial; nearest rivals for the honour Singapore currently only have four grass-wicket pitches, while Jersey can provide six – at Grainville, Les Quennevais (two), FB Fields, Farmers Field and College Field.
Nepal, too, were hoping for the nod, but the recent visit of ICC global development manager Matthew Kennedy, during which he admitted to being ‘blown away’ by Jersey’s set-up and facilities, has obviously been the determining factor.
The tournament dates have as yet not been set, but it should take place in either May or June 2008.