World Cricket League Five: Mixed starts for Channel Islands in openers in South Africa

Ben Stevens
Jersey's Ben Stevens (right) was born in Hong Kong

Left-arm spinner Ben Stevens took five wickets to help Jersey to a six-wicket win over Vanuatu on the opening day in South Africa in World League Five.

Stevens, who missed Jersey's relegation in Los Angeles last year after a health scare, returned with figures of 5-28 to restrict Vanuatu to 170 all out.

Former captain Peter Gough then made a stylish 65 as the Channel Islanders reached the target inside 35 overs.

Guernsey, meanwhile, suffered a 48-run loss to Italy.

Damian Crowley's 92 guided the Italians to 277-7 from their 50 overs, as David Hooper took 3-50 for the Sarnians.

In reply Guernsey lost opener Matt Stokes in the second over before Ollie Newey hit nine boundaries on his way to 73 in a total of 229-8.

The eight-team ICC tournament on the outskirts of Johannesburg is the first global stage of the qualification process for the 2023 World Cup in India.

In the other match in Jersey's group Germany beat Ghana by one wicket, while in Pool A Qatar smashed 343-7 to overcome the Cayman Islands by 93 runs.

Two sides will be promoted to League Four, one will remain in the fifth tier, and five will be relegated out of the World League structure into regional, continental cricket.

Jersey all-rounder Ben Stevens told BBC Radio Jersey: "It's brilliant and an absolute honour [to be back representing Jersey again]. I did all I could to be in the best shape I can be and I'm here now and performing so I'm happy.

"These decks seem to be pretty flat so it was quite fun to vary my pace a little bit and get a few LBWs.

"I'm chuffed to bits [with five wickets], Vanuatu are a very strong side and they're well drilled."

Guernsey coach Ashley Wright told BBC Radio Guernsey: "It's been a tough game, but we always knew that Italy were probably one of the strongest teams in the tournament.

"I actually think we did really well in parts, it was a big score to chase and perhaps we could've done a little bit better with the bowling.

"Our cup finals are the next two games [against Qatar and the Cayman Islands] and they're the games where we have to really push."

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