At Fletcher Sports we support all things active on Guernsey and are very proud of the sports teams on our island who are always punching above their weight.
One of these great teams is the Guernsey cricket team which in recent years has started to broaden its horizons and play in bigger international leagues.
We caught up with Ashley Wright, Head of Cricket. Ashley started playing the sport when he was just 13 and his love of the game has never left him. He has worked as a coach for many years, including with Surrey CCC, Sussex CCC and is about to embark on his third year with Guernsey.
Last year Guernsey suffered a narrow defeat to Jersey, the question on everybody’s lips is can we beat them this year?
Last season’s defeat to Jersey was bittersweet for me. I thought that we played some excellent cricket in parts and it showed the progression that we have made as a batting unit. Unfortunately, a better team beat us on the day. However, our team continues to progress and although we are the underdogs, I truly believe that we can beat Jersey if we play to our potential.
How does it feel to be playing on a much bigger and more international stage?
It’s always great to see how passionate the players are when representing their island. I am especially impressed with how dedicated they are and how much time and effort they put in to make Guernsey proud.
We have heard that training can be quite intense for the team - from practice, fitness and diet as well - can you tell us a bit more?
Coming from a professional background, the training side has been one of the hardest things to get right. Getting the balance between professional and amateur is particularly tricky. When the lads train, they train like professionals but the biggest difference in the amount of contact time. Our players all have jobs and families to juggle alongside the need to work hard to improve. Sometimes we get the balance wrong but it’s very important that when we train, we train properly and hard.
What do you think the biggest challenge will be for the team in the upcoming season?
As individuals, we have a goal for constant improvement and as a team, we have three performance goals. This season the goal is to gain promotion in the T20 European WCQ and win the inter-insular. We also want to get back into WCL 5 in 2 years time.
Do you think we have enough young players waiting in the wings to keep up the team’s momentum?
We are lucky that a majority of our squad is young enough to play for the next ten years. This will give time for the next batch of cricketers in our new system to come through. The hard thing with Guernsey with such tight immigration laws is that we don’t get many cricketers coming to the island unlike other associate nations. I think for such a small island with a small number of cricketers to choose from, we massively overachieve. This doesn’t mean that we don’t want to keep progressing but the challenges are getting harder each year.
What do you think is the best way for kids to start playing cricket and how should Guernsey be encouraging this?
For me, fun is the most important factor when starting to play any sport. It is also important to keep challenging the players so that they improve and continue to enjoy the sport. We have started a new future stars program for the 5-12 year olds. The aim is to get everyone involved by letting all the kids have a go at batting, bowling and just trying things out for themselves. We want the kids to have a go at everything and enjoy themselves. It’s an 8-week course and all the players get their own bat and ball to get them started.
Good luck lads! We can’t wait to see you all play this year, we are sure the new season will give us some great memories.
If you fancy lining up at the crease this summer, why not head down to Fletcher Sports or shop online for bags, bats, balls, gloves, pads, shoes - whatever you need, we can help!
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