Jonty’s kit switch a no-brainer

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ONE of Jersey’s top cricketers admits the decision to join Farmers CC and support their debut European Cricket League campaign was not difficult to make – despite his allegiances to Old Victorians.

Jonty Jenner will travel to Spain as coach of the rival squad, having played against them last summer in the Weekend League Premier Division. Farmers were crowned overall champions following a three-format season and subsequently qualified to represent Jersey at the T10 ECL finals – viewed as the cricketing equivalent of football’s Champions League.

And it quickly became clear that the St Martin club would be taking the competition seriously, as captain James Perchard and his brother ‘Chuggy’ – Jersey’s men’s captain – approached Jenner for help.

‘I have had a bit of stick from the OVs boys, after they saw a picture of me in Farmers kit,’ Jenner explained.

‘James and Chuggy approached me and said there was space for a team coach and asked me to join. If you’re given a chance to help another Jersey club at a big event like this, why not?

‘I’ve done quite a lot of coaching for junior teams and for clubs in Australia but I haven’t had full reign over a men’s senior team before. We’ve had a good six-week block together and it has been really good fun. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.’

The former Sussex CCC cricketer added that online coverage of fixtures in Groups A-D, which have taken place over the last four weeks, has aided preparation.

‘Pre-season can be a bit dull so it has been great for the Farmers guys to have something to work towards,’ he said. ‘They’ve taken on board everything we’ve done and the beauty of there being a lot of coverage of the earlier groups is that we know what standard we’ll be up against. We can implement things in training so that nothing takes us by surprise.’

There is also a dose of personal motivation, as an outright victory for Farmers would benefit the whole of Jersey Cricket. Should the Islanders win their group they will progress to finals week, which takes place from 14-18 March.

‘If Farmers were to win the first week, qualify for the second week and then finish top, Jersey will get two qualification places for next year,’ Jenner said. ‘That would be 50% of our Premier League playing against supposedly the best cricket teams in Europe.’

He added: ‘The younger players in the Farmers squad haven’t had this kind of opportunity before, to play away, so it will be a nice taste of what is to come if they want to excel in the future. Early exposure to tournament cricket is important. It’s really different to playing in a league and the games come thick and fast. For the young guys in particular, it will be great experience if they’re looking to get into the Jersey squad in the future. This is a great pathway to set them up.’

Farmers are due to face HBS Craeyenhout, from the Netherlands, Pak I Care Badelona [Spain], Punjab Lions Nicosia [Cyprus], GEK Corfu [Greece] and Malo CC (Portugal) in Group E from Monday.

In tomorrow’s JEP: Farmers set for Europe – tournament preview

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