Not every Commonwealth Games team can return home with a glut of medals, but the smaller delegations can celebrate success in other ways.

At Gold Coast 2018, Jersey caused a day one sensation at the lawn bowls by defeating the top seeds from hosts Australia.

The men's triples team of Derek Boswell, Malcolm De Sousa and Ross Davis defeated Aron Sherriff, Barrie Lester and Nathan Rice 21-18, causing mild bewilderment at Broadbeach Bowls Club.

"You can imagine how popular we were," said Jean Cross, Jersey's Chef de Mission in Gold Coast who will reprise the role for Birmingham 2022.

"On the front page of the paper they were saying how may gold medals we'd won, and how many Australia had won."

Jersey could compete in 10 sports in Birmingham, with the first 16 athletes selected in October in athletics, bowls, cycling, gymnastics, swimming and triathlon.

Four more in athletics and cycling were added this month, alongside a duo in table tennis.

Cross said that the team would be finalised in the first week of June, to give athletes the longest possible timeframe to reach the necessary standards before the Opening Ceremony on July 28.

"We are, deliberately," she said.  

Harry Shalamon reached the 50 metres backstroke final at Gold Coast 2018 ©Getty Images
Harry Shalamon reached the 50 metres backstroke final at Gold Coast 2018 ©Getty Images

"In a normal Games cycle we would have intended to announce the team six months ahead of the Games. 

"But with consultation with all our member sports, we agreed to vary the qualification period to allow the athletes as long as we can to achieve qualification.

"COVID stopped everything, so being on an island we were restricted in getting to competitions off island.

"We didn't feel it was appropriate to hold sports to the same deadlines.

"It puts us under pressure, but we were happy to do that as we felt it was the right thing to do for our athletes, particularly in summer sports where you've got a couple who are still hoping to compete. 

"We know they've got competitions in April, May time."

Jersey athletes to watch in Birmingham will include swimmer Harry Shalamon, who finished sixth in the 50 metres backstroke in Gold Coast.

He qualified for the final as the quickest non-Australian and has spent time in the United States.

Bowlers Boswell and De Sousa will both compete at their fourth Games, while Rhys Pilley is due to become only the second male track cyclist to represent Jersey.

In athletics, discus thrower Zane Duquemin has been picked for his fourth Games, while sibling Shadine Duquemin is due for a second appearance in the same discipline.

The table tennis pair includes Hannah Silcock, who has been named at just 14-years-old.

"We have a very defined pathway to allow progression," said Cross, a vice-president of the Commonwealth Games Association of Jersey.

"Each sport agrees validation criteria at the beginning of the quadrennial, so that's how we rate athletes. 

Zane Duquemin has been picked for his fourth Games in discus ©Getty Images
Zane Duquemin has been picked for his fourth Games in discus ©Getty Images

Because we have a limited number, we could be in a position where you have to select between a cyclist, a lawn bowler, a triathlete and a swimmer...

"So we have a validation committee who follow that process."

The Commonwealth Games is the most prestigious competition most athletes can compete at in Jersey colours.

Serena Guthrie, a netball player from Jersey, won a gold medal in Gold Coast but did so as part of the England team which dramatically claimed a last-gasp victory over Australia in the final.

"For most sports the Commonwealth Games is the highest ranked competition that they can compete at under the Jersey flag," said Cross. "We're not part of the Olympic Movement. 

"Whatever your expectation of the Commonwealth Games, when you actually experience it, it will always exceed your expectations.

"It's a really important event in the Jersey sporting calendar and to walk into the Opening Ceremony, as part of that Jersey delegation, is just such a huge honour.

"Our role is to make sure we take care of any worries, so all the athletes have to do is focus on themselves and their performance. 

"Because that's what it's all about."

Cross said she was left impressed after joining other Chef de Missions at the Birmingham 2022 open day meetings last month.

The team's athletes will be split up as the Games will be using multiple Villages instead of just one.

"We don't count as a small nation, we're actually a medium sized nation," Cross said. 

"Our delegation is about 55.

"We always generate a good team spirit and a very supportive atmosphere for our athletes. 

Jersey netball player Serena Guthrie has won Commonwealth Games gold for England ©Getty Images
Jersey netball player Serena Guthrie has won Commonwealth Games gold for England ©Getty Images

"It took some getting around the idea that we wouldn't all be in one Village. 

"But having seen the distances involved, we totally understand why sports are placed in the different places. 

"I can't make a boxer go for their weigh-in at half six in the morning, and tell them they have to do an hour's coach drive to get there."

Jersey has won a single gold medal in its Commonwealth Games history - claimed by Colin Mallett in the full bore rifle at Auckland 1990.

Channel Island neighbours Guernsey also won the only gold in their history in shooting in the New Zealand city, with both teams disappointed that the sport is not on the Birmingham programme.

"There's always rivalry between Jersey and Guernsey!" said Cross. "At any level of competition.

"Whether you are talking about an individual, Island Games or Commonwealth Games, across all sports.

"There's always a very healthy rivalry."

The Island Games provides an opportunity for both Jersey and Guernsey to select much bigger squads.

Guernsey will host the next edition in 2023, after Jersey staged the event in 1997 and 2015.

"It is different when you live on an island in a smaller community," Cross said.

"The Island Games is a fantastic event, the team spirit is amazing.

The British and Irish Lions train in Jersey before their tour to South Africa ©Getty Images
The British and Irish Lions train in Jersey before their tour to South Africa ©Getty Images

"From Jersey, when you're looking at a team size of up to 300, it's a totally different experience to the Commonwealth Games, and it's every two years.

"It's a real asset to any sporting calendar and it gives you something to aim for. Two years doesn't seem that far away."

Cross, a former Island Games badminton player, helped to organsise the sport at the edition in 2015.

"There are very special memories of Jersey winning the team gold on the Monday night," she said. 

"If you ask anyone who was involved, Monday night at the badminton hall was a very special evening!

"Hosting a Games does great things for local sport. Anyone going to see good sport, it's inspiring. 

"To see children experience an Island Games, they will want to be involved when they're at an age when they can."

Jersey has recently played host to the British and Irish Lions and England rugby teams, while there was talk of a bid for the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games which was eventually postponed due to COVID.

The Inspiring Active Jersey strategy, implemented by Jersey Sport, has goals including getting more people active.

Cross said the legacy plans for Birmingham 2022's key venues is something that deserves particular praise.

"Obviously we've still got a long way to go, but it was lovely to see some of the venues and the legacy some of these venues are going to leave, particularly the swimming pool at Sandwell," she said.

"When they talked us through the legacy of the building, and what it will leave for the community, it was very, very impressive.

"Walking into there and then walking up to the Alexander Stadium...

"It was a real 'wow' moment."