Island team strive for success

Strive has become Jersey Cricket's second home during their intensive training ahead of the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off later this month Picture: JOSH HEARMON

JERSEY players will continue to chase for World Cup qualification later this month with an additional nutritional and physical boost.

Neil MacRae’s squad have undertaken a rigorous training regime with Strive’s guidance over the winter months, aimed at putting the Caesareans in the best physical shape possible for their ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier play-off in Namibia.

And a member of the Strive team is set to accompany the squad when they leave on 18 March, in the shape of the gym’s Academy lead, Chloe Montgomery.

The Islanders travel to South Africa first, for training and warm-up matches ahead of their biggest tournament to date, against Papua New Guinea, USA, Canada, UAE and either Namibia or Nepal.

The top two will progress to the final stage of qualifying for the 2023 World Cup in India, while the top four will move into ‘League 2’ for the 2027 World Cup qualification cycle – one step above the highest level Jersey have reached in 50-over cricket.

‘It has been brilliant to have Strive’s help during this time to get prepared,’ said MacRae. ‘The facilities, coupled with the expertise of the trainers, are second to none and it really does make a difference.

‘Preparation out of season is never ideal, but we do feel like the work we have done, along with the effort of the players, will stand us in great stead for Namibia.

‘We are as sharp as possible while practising indoors and fortunately we have a group that have been playing Southern Hemisphere cricket over our winter. So they will feel acclimatised and match ready ahead of Africa.’

Former Jersey Reds and Harlequins physiotherapist Montgomery was present with MacRae’s side in Spain and Africa during 2022 and believes the continuation of such a partnership can only be a positive.

‘Jersey Cricket are in such a great place as it stands,’ she said.

‘To be a part of that journey and progression has been really exciting for us at Strive.’

Islander Harry Jenkins initiated the link between the pair and Montgomery believes the nutrition agreement will prove pivotal, as the gym seeks to aid success for Island athletes and teams.

‘We recently became the nutrition partner for Jersey RFC and we believe that the benefit will be huge for Jersey Cricket as well,’ she explained. ‘Not just in their preparation, but performance and recovery later this month in Namibia.

‘We always hoped to fill that void for athletes wishing to improve in the Island. Jersey lagged behind on the necessary facilities to nurture elite athletes and we feel like we are making a difference on that side. If we can better prepare our local talent for the national stage, it benefits all.

‘In the past we have seen athletes travel across for elite competition and somewhat been ‘a deer in the headlights’ against the competition. The furthering of our relationship with cricket is just another step in the right direction in trying to take sport in Jersey forward.’

The 2023 Cricket World Cup Qualifier Play-off is due to take place between 24 March and 5 April.

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