Doo’cot Park was the venue today for the Western Warriors Under 18s’ latest Inter-Regional Championship match. Their hosts in Perth were the Caledonian Highlanders. After winning the toss, the Warriors decided to bowl first. However from the very start of the Highlanders‘ innings indisciplined bowling from the Warriors‘ seamers would see them concede the advantage to their northern regional rivals. The very first over saw five wide deliveries bowled, and this set the pattern. Ten overs in and with change bowlers already called on, the wide delivery count had mounted to fifteen, with two no balls thrown in for good measure. For the Highlanders this took much of the pressure off their top order and, though wickets would eventually fall, the home region’s total kept ticking up. Their eventual 226 for 5 – Johnston top-scoring with an unbeaten 72* (112) – included 36 runs in wides and no balls, each of these extras coming from a single delivery. This meant the Warriors had actually bowled 56 overs by the time the first innings eventually closed.
In amongst the seamers’ struggles the two Warriors spinners used – Poloc CC’s Ahmed-Raza Hanif and Owais Shah – returned combined figures of 10-2-58-1, neither bowler going at more than 3-an-over. This simply went to highlight the travails of their seamer teammates. 226 for 5 then, meaning – after tea – the Warriors would be chasing 227 to win.
Shah and clubmate Amaan Ramzan opened for the Warriors in pursuit of 227, and they’d put on 36 when – in consecutive Shorton deliveries – both were then dismissed. Ramzan (16) tamely chipped a slower ball to backward point, whilst Shah (14) miss-pulled a full toss back to the bowler. 36 for 0 was suddenly 36 for 2, with two new batters in the middle. Zain Ashraf (Clydesdale CC) and Taimoor Ahmad (Poloc CC) were the new pair, but after guiding the total past 50, they were separated when the former was bowled by an Ejaz yorker for 13. Ahmad (44) would go on to top-score in the innings, with a couple of cameos from Clydesdale CC pair Ihtesham Ul Haq (23) and Aliyan Qureshi (39). However no Warriors batter could replicate Johnston’s contribution for the Highlanders, and when Sajjad was bowled by Shorton in the 47th over the side were 187 all out, and the Highlanders had secured a 39-run win.
The Western Warriors Under 18s were in T20 action today at New Williamfield, up against the Eastern Knights, Caledonian Highlanders and Ulster Schools. The side won one match (defeating the Knights), and lost two, as did the other two Scottish regional sides, with Ulster Schools running out winners of the event by virtue of defeating all three Scottish sides. Thanks are due to Stirling County CC for hosting the tournament, and to WoSACO for providing umpires.
The touring Ulster Schools played their first match today, a Pro40 against Western Warriors Under 18s at Poloc CC’s “Shawholm” ground in Glasgow. After winning the toss, the tourists decided to bat first on a glorious day, on a flat track and with a fast outfield. And score quickly the Ulster batters did, going along at over 5-an-over in the first ten overs. This run-rate was boosted by wayward bowling from the Warriors attack, however, and almost despite this, the tourists were also losing wickets. Fifteen overs in to their innings and the score was 76, more than 5-an-over. But the Ulster side were also five down! East Kilbride CC’s Kess Sajjad had been the main wicket-taker, dismissing four of the tourists’ top five, all caught. In fact when Ulster schools were bowled out for just 114 in the 28th over, no fewer than seven batters had been dismissed by being caught, Louis Ware and Harry Briggs (both Greenock CC) taking a brace of catches each. The other feature of the innings was the wayward bowling. This, like the coming-and-going of Ulster Schools batters was a recurring theme. No fewer than 32 of the 114 runs recorded were extras, and of these 22 were wides. In other circumstances this would likely have cost the Warriors the win.
However today it didn’t. However, if the Warriors‘ bowling was sloppy, their batting was, at times, little better. In what turned out to be a bit of a nail-biting finish, the Warriors sneaked home by just two wickets. No fewer than six batters reached double figures, but none 20. Yet the start of the run-chase suggested it would be routine. Uzzair Shah of Poloc CC (17) and Greenock Cc’s Harry Briggs (14) had taken their side’s reply to 39 without loss, with no alarm bells ringing, before Briggs was first out, bowled by Robinson. Shah then committed the cardinal sin of getting out immediately too, 39 for 0 was suddenly 39 for 2, and two new batters were in the middle. However, again, the total started to increase nicely. 50 was passed, then 60, as the halfway point in the run-chase came and went. But then just as two wickets had fallen with the score on 39, so two fell when the scoreboard read 67. 67 for 2 became 67 for 4. And again it was the two “in” batters who got out: Taimoor Ahmad (Poloc CC) and John oliver (Glasgow Accies CC). Both caught. From this point on it was like deja vu referencing the Ulster Schools innings: batters coming-and-going as if the wicket was a revolving door. 67 for 4 became 107 for 8, and 7 runs were still needed with only two wickets in hand. However the win would be secured, the finish line being reached when Helensburgh CC’s Gregor Chambers stroked a 4 through extra cover to see his side home. A win, but only just, by two wickets.
So, a win, but much to work on for the Warriors, who meet the Ulster Schools side again on Wednesday, in Stirling, in a quadrangular T20 competition.
The Western Warriors Under 18s started their Inter-Regional Championship campaign today in Linlithgow, at Boghall, with an away game against the Eastern Knights. Batting first after Captain Taimoor Ahmad (Poloc CC) won the toss, the side’s big total of 312 for 7, on a good batting track, was built around Poloc CC’s Owais Shah’s 145 (145). Cashing in on a day when his luck was very much in – he was dropped five times, (on 40, 62, 105, 124 and 126, and survived a miss-stumping on 133) – Shah’s innings was given important support from the other batters who batted with him. Club team-mates Amaan Ramzan and Ahmad chipped in with 33 (42) and 26 (26) respectively, before Clydesdale CC’s Zain Ashraf batted in his usual really positive manner, scoring 35 from just 29 balls, 15 in singles, in an impressive display of how to rotate strike and keep the ‘board ticking over. The innings then finished with a cameo 15* (5) from Ferguslie CC’s Haroon Tahir who hit three successive 4s from the first three balls of the final over to see the Warriors go past 300, and eventually post 312.
In reply, though ultimately they would win by 107 runs, it would be fair to say that, save East Kilbride CC’s Kess Sajjad, none of the Warriors bowlers really found any sort of consistency, the Knights‘ wagon wheel reflecting a propensity to bowl “both sides of the wicket”, and too short. Ahmad would finish with 4 for 25, and Tahir with 3 for 51, however neither bowled as tightly as would have been expected. Sajjad’s figures of 6-2-14-2 were the clear standout bowling performance in the innings. If the bowling was below-par, the Warriors‘ fielding was similarly lacklustre, and though a bumpy outfield provided a possible contributory cause, it wasn’t an excuse for some poor execution of the basics. In closer matches this would cost the side.
However a win was secured, and the Warriors now look forward to their next outing, against the Caledonian Highlanders, in Glasgow, in early July.
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.”