Jersey cricket will be hoping to hit Oman for six, with help from a 15-year-old boy.
Teenager Harrison Carlyon is the youngest member of Jersey’s cricket squad which will play Oman tomorrow in Los Angeles in the opening game of the World League Four Finals.
At stake is promotion to the third tier of world cricket and Jersey will start with a decent chance of elevation having beaten Oman in May to secure their place in the World League Four Finals.
The tournament pits Jersey against Oman first up, followed by Denmark on Sunday, Italy on Tuesday, Bermuda on Wednesday and hosts USA next Friday.
“They are all teams we have beaten in the past,” said Chris Minty, Chief Executive of the Jersey Cricket Board. “But we are not kidding ourselves. It will be hard. Nobody knows what the conditions will be like, so you just don’t know how the games will develop, but the team has gone out there full of confidence and we have to do our level best and hope that is good enough.”
The top two sides in the six-team league will be promoted - there will be a play-off to decide who finishes first and second - while the bottom two outfits will be relegated back to World League Five.
Mr Minty said: “It is a tough schedule but the prize at stake is enormous, a place in World League Three, where the likes of Canada and Uganda are currently playing.
“The team have had few days in Houston to get acclimatised and to play a bit of warm-up cricket so now it is all systems go. Five matches in a week at 50-overs a side takes some doing but they are a very fit bunch of lads and we are hoping for the best. The ideal scenario would be a place in World League Three, but failing that we would settle for staying in World League Four bearing in mind we have only just been promoted.”
Mr Minty is adamant Harrison Carylon’s selection at the age of just 15 underlines Jersey's commitment to youth development.
“I think it shows that fact that we believe if you are good enough, you should be in the squad on merit. He is a super young cricketer and let’s throw him in there and see how he does. You can only improve by playing and Harrison is a fine young cricketer who we have a lot of faith in.”
Over 30 teams play cricket regularly in Jersey and Mr Minty says the sport is in good health.
“I’d say we are happy with the way the game is progressing and we have a very strong youth set-up, but you can always improve and we think domestic cricket in the Island needs a bit of a revamp.
“There has been studies into why people are not playing on a Saturday and Sunday and put simply it is the fact that a game takes six hours and you may have to travel there and back, so by the time you have finished we could be talking eight or nine hours. That is too much for too many people who love the game.
“We have a thriving winter league which takes less time out of people’s busy lives.”
Jersey kick off their campaign this weekend and followers of the sport can watch it being streamed live from Woodley Park, Los Angeles, here
Captain Peter Gough is convinced his side will perform well in the city of silver screen stars. “We have a nicely balanced attack with a combination of seamers and spin options and an established batting line-up. We’re looking forward to playing and adapting to different conditions. We have yet to visit the grounds, but we really appreciate the effort that has gone in to preparing them and can't wait to play here.”
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