MAINTAINING a positive front while eating lunch alongside Hong Kong appeared to pay off for Jersey as they maintained their perfect home record in Challenge League B.
The hosts returned to Farmers Field, where they had pulled off an impressive win over Uganda a few days earlier, and ended up needing 285 to win after the group leaders had piled on 85 runs in the final five overs of the first innings – a rate of 17-per-over.
Jersey’s hard work in the field looked to have been undone but if they were disheartened by the conclusion of their bowling efforts, the key was not to show it to players who pride themselves on their stingy bowling attack.
Asa Tribe, who scored the winning runs to send Jersey top of the table with two games remaining, said: ‘Before we went to lunch Jake [Dunford] told us not to let [Hong Kong] see us with our heads down. He said “Go into lunch, sit down and keep a smile on your face, knowing we are going to win this match”.
‘I don’t know if it affected them, but it seemed to work for us.’
Tribe has now scored an impressive 249 runs in his first three List-A matches, split into two half-centuries and a century.
‘The openers really did a great job of laying the groundwork,’ he said.
‘We were always ahead of the rate and never needed to panic. To get over the line having lost only three wickets was a sign of how good the performance was.’
The former De La Salle student was not in the squad for the round-two games in Uganda [A-level examinations took precedence] and therefore was not part of the controversial fixture between the two sides.
He said: ‘There was certainly some bite out there. Not just because of the last game, but everyone knew that a win for either team would go a long way towards qualification.
‘I wasn’t involved in the last game, so I stayed clear of the conversations out in the middle, to be honest. It probably helped me focus on the task at hand and not get overly emotional about the situation.’
Head coach Neil MacRae has been effusive in his praise for his players’ fielding all summer long.
The young, athletic side have become notorious in their hustle and the effort displayed is a key contributor in elevating Jersey into the driving seat.
He said: ‘On a flat wicket, the game was really won in the field and in the first 25 overs in particular.
‘Jonty Jenner and Anthony Hawkins-Kay were outstanding fielding in the inner ring and that was a huge factor in the outcome.
‘The home support was incredible, as it was against Uganda in our run chase also.
‘It wasn’t easy and Hong Kong had two guys dig in and both score centuries. We are still learning and improving and one of the aspects we will work on ahead of our remaining games is trying to keep it tighter with the ball towards the end of an innings.
‘Looking at the bigger picture, we have won eight on the bounce dating back to Oman in 2019, which is just a brilliant effort by all involved.’
The Islanders meet Italy and Kenya on Saturday and Sunday respectively, knowing that two more wins will guarantee them a place at the Cricket World Cup play-off, which is scheduled to take place in 2023.