Tim Hart reports, “Following the rain cancellation earlier in the season, the Western Warriors Under 15s were delighted to welcome the Scotland Women Under 21 to Hamilton Crescent (West of Scotland CC) on a glorious summer’s day, for a 40 overs-per-side match played based around ODI rules.
“Having won the toss, skipper David Sturgess (Clydesdale CC) led from the front with 72. However, it was Daniel Cairns (Clydesdale CC) who initially looked the more fluent of the opening partnership, compiling a very positive 46 (off just 37 deliveries) before falling to an outstanding catch at long on. Adam Malik (Dumfries CC) then joined Sturgess and the two added 87 runs, just falling short of the 88 put on for the first wicket. During their partnership, both reached half centuries – and both became much busier at the crease as their respective innings progressed. Sturgess looked set to post a very big score before being very unlucky to get out LBW to a ball which kept extremely low – his 72 coming off 88 deliveries. Tom Forrest (Greenock CC) took full advantage of the way the innings had been set up to score a very good 42 (off 31 deliveries) – with a good combination of boundary striking and intelligent strike rotation. Malik (57) then became the first of three run outs, in quest for quick runs to end the innings. Warriors 260 for 8 off their 40 overs.
“In reply, the opening bowlers bowled with good control but struggled to make the early breakthrough. When the breakthrough did come, it was thanks to a direct hit from wicket-keeper Cairns – and then a really good yorker from Abhishek Sinha (Clydesdale CC) quickly brought a second wicket. The change bowlers found far more success and the wickets were then well-shared – and, pleasingly, seven of the ten wickets were clean bowled, as the bowlers attacked the stumps well. Anne Sturgess (Clydesdale CC) picked up two wickets (one thanks to a smart stumping from Cairns), as did leg-spinner John Greene (Glasgow Accies CC) and seamers Tarun Koteeswaran (Clydesdale CC) and Jamie Nowell (Greenock CC). Scotland Women Under 62 all out.
“A good win, on a very nice day for cricket – and with West of Scotland CC being excellent hosts.”
Tim Hart reports on the Under 14 tri-series between the Western Warriors Under 14s, Edinburgh Under 14s and Belfast Under 14s.
Day 1, Monday, 7 August
“Heavy, and persistent, rain saw the Western Warriors Under 14 match versus Edinburgh reduced to a twelve overs-per-side game. Batting first, the Warriors faced too many ‘dot’ balls (44 of the 72 deliveries) – with only skipper David Sturgess (Clydesdale CC) reaching double figures, with his 22* (retired). The Warriors finished 69 for 4 – with three of the four wickets being stumped! The Edinburgh reply then had striking similarities to Warriors‘ innings – 49 ‘dot’ balls, only one batter (Jack Jarvis) reaching double figures (with 21* retired – as he also joined Sturgess in hitting a 6 to reach the retirement score!). The pick of the Warriors bowling attack was Aditya Mahapatra (Ferguslie CC) who had figures of 3-0-6-2, there were wickets for Reiss Wylie (Kelburne CC) and Humza Zulfiqar (Clydesdale CC), and Sean Fischer-Keogh (Greenock CC) only conceded 2 runs from a very important tenth over of the innings. In the end, somehow, the Warriors managed to defend their score – Edinburgh 65 for 5.”
Day 2, Tuesday 8 August
“Tuesday saw the Warriors field first – with the Belfast openers compiling a very good 69-run partnership for the first wicket. This set their innings up well – and they were aided by a couple of very difficult diving chances not quite be able to ‘stick’ in the hands of the fielders. Opener Burke reached a good 50 and Wylie and Drain took the total up to 157 for 5 off the 30 overs. For the Warriors, Faizan Rauf (Clydesdale CC) was the pick of the bowlers with 3 for 35, Mahapatra returned another good set of figures (6-0-18-0) and fellow off-spinner Zakki Tariq (Clydesdale CC) also helped to contain the scoring rate, with 6-0-23-1. In reply, Cameron MacLean (Kelburne CC) and David Sturgess (Clydesdale CC) put on 43 for the first wicket and Richie Simpson (Ayr CC) and Humza Zulfiqar (Clydesdale CC) added 46 for the fourth wicket. However, despite 5 of the top 6 (the four mentioned and Muhaymen Majeed of Renfrew CC) all getting ‘in’ no batter would pass 20 – and ‘dot’ balls once again were a big factor, with only Simpson scoring at better than one run per ball faced. This resulted in the task towards the end of the innings being too difficult – alongside the constant fall of wickets. The Warriors would finish 138 all out. The result meant that, although each team finished with one win, the Warriors ended up finishing in third place – with Edinburgh winning the tri-series.
“Overall, it was a good competition – and great for this group of players to get some competitive cricket. Thanks must go to Belfast and Edinburgh for travelling and playing their part in some close matches, to the umpires and coaches and to Prestwick CC and especially their groundstaff who were fantastic hosts.”
Tim Hart writes, “The latest Western Warriors Under 15 inter-regional championship match was abandoned, at Myreside (Watsonians CC), after just 16.1 overs. The Eastern Knights had won the toss and elected to bat – with the Warriors being happy to be asked to field first. Taha Khan (Clydesdale CC) and Shahzad Ahmad (Ferguslie CC) returned controlled enough figures from their opening spells – although both will feel they could have put a few more deliveries in the ‘right’ area. Ahmad did find the outside edge once – but it became one of three dropped catches in the opening period of the game. It was the introduction of spin which saw the breakthrough(s) made – with both Daniel Cairns (Clydesdale CC) and Rafay Khan (Renfrew CC) picking up wickets. When a heavy shower arrived, the Knights were 74 for 2 off 16.1 overs – and the game looked to be well set up for both sides. However, the very heavy band of rain and then persistent showers which lingered for the next hour or so meant that there was no option but to abandon the match.”
Tim Hart reports, “The Western Warriors Under 15s drew with the XL Club (Scotland), at New Anniesland (Glasgow Accies CC) today. Having won the toss and elected to bat, the Warriors total of 195 all out was built upon a 91-run opening partnership between Angus Guy (Clydesdale CC) and Humza Zulfiqar (Clydesdale CC). After that initial partnership, the next highest was just 23 – as the experienced bowling attack stuck to their plans very effectively. Guy scored 50, Zulfiqar 39 and Adam Malik (Dumfries CC) provided the middle order with some stability with his 41.
“In reply, Taha Khan (Clydesdale CC) struck twice in the seventh over, to leave the XL Club (Scotland) 18 for 2. With the format of the match being a time game, the Warriors needed to bowl their opposition out to secure the outright win. Although spinners Daniel Cairns (Clydesdale CC), John Greene (Glasgow Accies CC) and Zakki Tariq (Clydesdale CC) all picked up one wicket each, there was not enough time for the win to be secured. There was, however, enough time for Guy to bowl the final over of the match – and he joined the wicket-takers list, in what might prove to be his only over of the season for the Warriors! XL Club (Scotland) 97 for 6, match drawn.
“Thanks to XL Club (Scotland) for the fixture, to Glasgow Accies CC for hosting, to Colin Dawson for standing in to umpire at very short notice and to ‘Scribe’ for scoring.”
Tim Hart reports, “The Western Warriors Under 15s travelled to Scroggie Park (Falkland CC) for the latest Cricket Scotland Under 15 inter-regional championship match – and the team returned with a narrow win.
“Despite losing Sohaib Shah (Poloc CC) LBW in the second over, the Warriors looked set to post a big total as they reached 71 for 2 at the first drinks break (seventeen overs) and 135 for 3 at the second drinks break (34 overs). To this point, Ross Heginbottom (Clydesdale CC) and Daniel Cairns (Clydesdale CC) added 47 for the second wicket against an early pace/seam Caledonian Highlanders bowling attack, then Cairns and skipper Asad Khan (Clydesdale CC) added 21 for the third wicket before Khan and David Sturgess (Clydesdale CC) put on a further 64 for the fourth wicket. However, 135 for 3 then became 165 all out – in just 47.1 overs. Khan’s deserved half-century (53) was backed up by Heginbottom (28), Cairns (23) and Sturgess (21) – but the partnerships for wickets five to ten were just 2, 8, 4, 4 and 0 and the methods of dismissal did not reflect the ability of the lower order batters.
“There was some light rain during tea which slowed the outfield slightly – and Shahzad Ahmad (Ferguslie CC) and Taha Khan (Clydesdale CC) produced the controlled opening spell which was required. Ahmad picked up two wickets, one of which was thanks to an outstanding, one-handed reaction catch from wicket-keeper Richie Simpson (Ayr CC) – and there was a great piece of teamwork from Sturgess with a sliding pick-up and Shah with a cannon throw to pick up a run out. This left the score at 19 for 3, with Ahmad having figures of 5-0-11-2 and Khan 5-0-8-0. Asad Khan, Cairns and Rafay Khan (Renfrew CC) then kept the ‘squeeze’ on the run rate very effectively, with the Highlanders being 39 for 3 off twenty overs. The introduction of Fletcher Rao (Prestwick CC) then resulted in four quickfire wickets – one thanks to a great diving catch from Sturgess, outside the 30-yard circle, at mid-wicket. Highlanders 48 for 7 off 28 overs, with Rao having incredible figures of 3-2-3-4! Sixteen overs later, the score had progressed to 129 for 7 – and suddenly it was 36 to win off 36 deliveries. During the intervening period, it is fair to say that a little complacency appeared to have set in – probably along with some unjustified expectancy that the match would just finish on its own. Also ‘setting in’ were two batters – with Elstone and Evans batting very assuredly and enjoying the biggest partnership of the match. The one thing still in the Warriors‘ favour was that 1 run per delivery was needed – and that Khan had managed to rotate the bowlers in such a way that he had every option left open to him. With Taha Khan and Cairns both only going for 2 runs off overs 45 and 46, the equation changed to 32 needed of 24. When the skipper then conceded only 2 more from the first five deliveries of the 47th over, something had to give. The big swing could only pop up safely into the safe hands of Heginbottom at square leg. Evans out for a very good 36, Highlanders 136 for 8 – and needing 30 off eighteen. Cairns then got the wicket his tight spell (ten overs for 21) deserved, before Ahmad cleaned bowled Elstone (for a very impressive 64) in the final over. Highlanders 146 all out, Rao 4 for 19, Ahmad 3 for 21.
“For the neutral, probably a great last passage of play to watch. For the Warriors coaches and spectators, it was definitely a little too close for comfort. The victory should have been more comfortable and the Warriors players will want to continue to build upon some very positive elements with the bat, the ball and in the field. It was good to see four batters getting ‘in’ and to see another batter score a half-century, the bowlers generally offering good control and the three outstanding pieces of fielding which resulted in wickets. Moving forward, the top order batters will want to try and ‘go on’, the lower order needs to show a greater ability to back the skills they have and a find a way of rotating the strike and the bowlers will want to try and maintain the ruthless edge shown at the beginning and end of the innings. Next week’s return fixture at Titwood will give the squad the opportunity to build on all the good points from what turned out to be a good, battling win!”
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.”