Scottish Cricket Notebook

In the first edition of Iain Leggat’s new weekly cricket column he guides us through his thoughts and musings from the first five weeks of the Scottish Cricket Season.

This year, the start of the Scottish cricket season has been blessed with sunshine

Confession time. I have been meaning to start this notebook for around 5 weeks. I’ve even been filling it with my thoughts from week 1, where I strolled round the Edinburgh grounds on the first Saturday of the season, but the lazy summer holiday student took over, and my brain convinced me I had better things to do.

So here we are. I present to you what I hope will become a weekly/bi-weekly column featuring my notes from the weeks play in Scotland. Be it from the international scene, the women’s game, the regional series and the domestic leagues.

Please note this first edition is featuring a catch up of 5 weeks of notes – but I’ve attempted at squeezing it all together.

Sun, Sun, Sun, Here it Comes

Hasn’t the weather been nice to us so far? Five weeks of sunny Saturdays, hanging out in the meadows and popping down to the Grange.

Thanks to the sun’s remarkable form so far cricket in Scotland has been in full flow, with what has felt like an endless stream of matches. Ex Men’s team captain Gordon Drummond said to me early last week, “They say we don’t play much cricket in Scotland, but there’s up to 130 fixtures within the regional & national high performance programmes in the summer.”

My only fear is that the weather gods are teasing us, and will decide to bring the rain in June!

Sarah Bryce stealing the headlines

The women’s team have been the stars of the season so far, and Sarah Bryce is the brightest of them all.

Sister of newly announced Wildcats captain, Kathryn Bryce, who is doing bits for Loughborough down south, Sarah has had a stellar start to the summer. Already knocking up an impressive 231 runs in the ECB Division 3 of the Women’s County Championship, she has also selected to play for the ICC Women’s Global Development Squad that will play down south in July.

I watched her hit a fantastic 73 for the Eagles in the opening match of the newly branded Women’s regional series versus the Stormers. The first shot of her innings was a lovely drive for 4 in what was part of a balanced and mature knock from Sarah. It was definitely a signal for her impressive form.

Plenty more cricket to come for the Women’s team, I just hope that the form is taken on the plane to the Netherlands in July in time for the T20 World Cup Qualifiers.

Regional Series Hotting Up

Scotland’s premier cricket series has been providing some very interesting matches in the early part of the season. The Eastern Knights were my pick for success in both the 50 over and T20 tournaments, but so far it has been even-stevens between all three regions.

In the opening weekend of the Tilney Pro50 competition the Eastern Knights claimed a deserved win over the Caledonian Highlanders, and the Western Warriors put on a defiant batting display the next day to beat the Knights at the Grange.

The encounter at the Grange was 50 over cricket at its best. The Knights put 255 on the board and looked to have the win in the bag with the visitors losing a bunch of early wickets. With the Warriors on 37/3 two fifty partnerships from Berrington and Henry and Lyons and Henry put the visitors back in it. Now on 237/8, Mitchell Rao and Scott McElnea took their side over the line with 8 balls to spare.

Best game of the season so far!

The T20 got underway two weeks ago with the Highlanders finally getting their moment to shine, beating the Warriors by 3 wickets at Titwood. The Knights also claimed a wicket over the reigning champions with a commanding 7 wicket win.

The regional series should get all the praise this season. It has a host of international stars playing, from Berrington, Munsey, MacLeod and Coetzer. Then an array of up and comers like Dylan Budge and Mitchell Rao.

My advice: if you’re near a game, don’t follow on Twitter! Get on down to the ground and watch.

Keep An Eye On

This week’s keep an eye on is Craig Wallace and Dylan Budge.

After struggling for form in Zimbabwe during the Qualifiers Craig Wallace has begun the summer in fine fashion. Opening weekend, he hit 85, then the following weekend a century against league leaders Mazars Grange. He put together a match winning 69 not out in the opening game of the Scottish Cup against Watsonians. He hit another century against the Warriors in the Pro50 and a half century in the T20. His fall into form is looking good for the upcoming internationals in June.

Youngster Dylan Budge is becoming hard to ignore. The Grange player has found a way into the headlines most weeks so far. Playing for Scotland A at the Riverside vs Durham 2nd XI he hit 151 off 221 balls helping Scotland put 500+ on the board to eventually beat the northerners by 9 wickets.

In the regional series he has been impressing for the Eastern Knights hitting 35 not out in their first win of the Pro50, then a huge 143 this weekend against the Western Warriors. This along with a century in week 5 of the league against Carlton is providing Grant Bradburn with plenty of reasons to select him for the Men’s squad in June. Keep an eye on the 22-year-old.

Kyle’s Appointment Excellent News

Men’s team captain Kyle Coetzer has been appointed on to the ICC Cricket Committee as the Associate Nations Representative.

Nothing bad to say on this. I have a grin all the way across my face. His appointment is outstanding and I can think of no one better to be the voice of the Associates. He knows what needs to be done, and I am positive it will lead to much needed progress in the game.

…And Finally

I have fallen in love with a small Edinburgh cricket team that falls under the name of Morton CC. My urge to return to playing led me in the direction of a club more famously known for their love of the pub than their batting skills. But four games into the season and I am love struck.

The comradery and love for the game that the guys have is wonderful and has given me constant reminders of why I love this beautiful sport. The 2’s are sitting on 2 wins and 2 losses so the season has begun in good spirits, not to mention the team play in front of arguably the largest crowd in Scottish Cricket (The Meadows on a Saturday).

Pic Of The WeekDurham Academy players wanting a pre innings snap for their bat sponsors. I mean, look at the love for his GM.

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