Tim Hart reports, “Sunday the 4th of June saw the Western Warriors Under 15s welcome the Eastern Knights to Glenpark (Greenock CC) – with the hosts, pleasingly, making it two wins from two championship matches. Skipper Asad Khan (Clydesdale CC) won a very useful toss and elected to bowl on a wicket which certainly should have offered the bowling side some early assistance. However, the Knights then cruised to 40 for 0 off just ten overs – with both batters looking very much ‘in’. A mix-up then led to both batters being stranded at one end – but it still required wicket-keeper David Sturgess (Clydesdale CC) to show some composure and collect a pretty tricky throw to complete the run out. Rafay Khan (Renfrew CC) then picked up two wickets in one over and the Knights were suddenly 46 for 3 off thirteen overs.
“Opener McIntosh and number five Campbell re-built well – punishing the odd loose delivery and putting the fielders under some pressure with good, aggressive running. Skipper Khan rotated his bowlers effectively and, immediately after drinks, it was the return of Shahzad Ahmad (Ferguslie CC) which led to both batters being dismissed within three overs of each other. The returning Fletcher Rao (Prestwick CC) then picked up a well-deserved ‘3-for’ and Sohaib Shah (Poloc CC) offered good control from one end, with 5-0-14-0. Shah’s second spell produced the ninth wicket and Ahmad then joined Rao with a ‘3-for” shortly afterwards. The Knights 137 all out – Rao 3 for 24, Ahmad 3 for 27.
“In reply, Ross Heginbottom (Clydesdale CC) took advantage of a very tough diving catch going down and proceeded to unleash some vicious hits along with a couple of expertly timed punches. One nineteen-ball spell in his innings saw him score 44 runs, reach a much-deserved half century, and dispatch the match ball over the wall for the only 6 of the match! Meanwhile, opening partner Angus Guy (Clydesdale CC) worked the ball around well and added four boundaries of his own. When Heginbottom (78) was run out, the score was 107 for 1 off just 15.4 overs – and bowlers and fielders understandably looked a little bewildered. Although there was a little moment of concern as 123 for 1 became 124 for 3 as Guy (34) was also run out and Khan fell leg before to one which kept low, Adam Malik (Dumfries CC) and Sturgess saw the side home – with a pull for 4 by Sturgess completing a seven-wicket win, with just under half the overs to spare.
“The Warriors bowling attack displayed some increased discipline (fewer wides!) than two weeks ago and Khan rotated his bowlers very effectively – although the ground fielding is definitely the ‘next’ area which needs worked on very hard over the next few weeks. With the bat, the opening partnership was a perfect combination of power and touch – and, despite the two run outs, the running between the wickets showed far more intent. Overall, a really good win – but there is plenty of cricket still to be played in this season’s Championship.”
Tim Hart reports, “The Western Warriors Under 15s (pictured) got their 2017 Cricket Scotland Inter-Regional Championship campaign off to a winning start, by defeating the Caledonian Highlanders by 87 runs, at Lochside Park (Strathmore CC).
“The Highlanders decision to field first looked to be a good one when the Warriors were reduced to 51 for 4. However, vice-captain David Sturgess (Clydesdale CC) and Sohaib Shah (Poloc CC) built a very important partnership for the fifth wicket. Neither was as fluent as they might normally be – but the situation required a very patient and risk-free approach. With the partnership approaching 100, Shah (37) was caught trying to go over the top – but Sturgess would go on to complete a match-winning half century. In the end the Warriors were 208 all out, with Sturgess making 60 and the total being helped by 55 extras (including 48 wides).
“In reply, Shahzad Ahmad (Ferguslie CC) struck twice early on and his opening spell was backed up by six tight overs from Fletcher Rao (Prestwick CC). The seam and spin combination was continued with spinners Daniel Cairns (Clydesdale CC), Rafay Khan (Renfrew CC) and Zakki Tariq (Clydesdale CC), and seamers Tarun Koteeswaran, Humza Zulfiqar and skipper Asad Khan (all Clydesdale CC), maintaining the pressure effectively. Rafay Khan was the pick of the bowlers and deservedly finished with 3 for 22, with Zulfiqar (two) and Asad Khan (one) also picking up wickets. The win was completed when Rao picked up two wickets in the 43rd over. Highlanders 121 all out (including 36 extras and 29 wides).
“As the season progresses, the batters will want to make the most of getting ‘in’ and the bowlers will want to cut down on the number of extras. However, it was a great start to the 2017 season – with the difference between the sides being the Shah and Sturgess partnership, and the man-of-the-match half century from the latter.”
Tim Hart writes, “The annual Under 14 triangular series, which sees the Western Warriors Under 14s play against Belfast and Edinburgh, will again be held in 2017. The matches will take place on Monday the 7th and Tuesday the 8th of August – and the west Regional Development Centre is delighted that Prestwick Cricket Club had agreed to host the festival once again, at its Henry Thow Oval ground.”
Tim Hart writes, “Following on from the announcement of the 2017 Western Warriors Under 15 training squad, the west Regional Development Centre is now able to reveal the vast majority of its fixture programme for the season. Dates have been agreed for five out the six Cricket Scotland Under 15 Inter-Regional Championships matches and for the Under 15 T20 day. These matches will see the Warriors play the Caledonian Highlanders and the Eastern Knights. A date for the sixth inter-regional match is close to being agreed – and it is hoped that a couple of other fixtures may be added into the programme too.”
Tim Hart writes, “This Sunday, the 19th of March, will see seven players from the west district attend the final Scotland Under 15 training session of the winter. Following consultation with the west Regional Development Centre, and the Head Coach and Team Manager coming to observe a west Regional Development Centre training session, the seven players were asked to attend a Scotland Under 15 trial session which took place in Edinburgh in late January. All seven were then invited to attend the two national training sessions, one in February and one in March. Congratulations, and good luck, to: Daniel Cairns, Angus Guy, Ross Heginbottom, Asad Khan, David Sturgess (Clydesdale CC), Rafay Khan (Renfrew CC) and Sohaib Shah (Poloc CC). Thanks, too, to all the coaches who have been working with these players at regional and club level throughout the winter.”
Tim Hart writes, “The west Regional Development Centre, and its coaching team, are delighted to be able to announce the 2017 Under 15 Western Warriors training squad. This squad has been selected following the west Regional Development Centre and west Regional Academy winter training programmes and sees twenty players, from eleven west district clubs, selected. The squad sessions will have a large focus on outcome-based training – in an effort to replicate the challenges we look forward to facing during the summer fixture programme. Congratulations to all the players who have selected.”