The annual triangular festival was blighted by rain – with all but fifteen overs of play being washed out. The heavy overnight rain from Sunday into Monday meant that no play was possible on the opening day – resulting in both of the West Regional Development Centre Select XI’s matches being cancelled.
Despite all the rain, a fantastic effort from the Prestwick CC ground-staff meant that there was early optimism on day two. Northern Knights Under 13s won the toss and invited the Western Warriors Under 13s to bat first. The Warriors had reached 50 for 4 off fifteen overs before a[nother!] heavy shower forced the players off for a third, and final, time. As ever, huge thanks must go to Prestwick CC for their continued support of this competition – and to their ground-staff for enabling any play to take place.
The Western Warriors Under 14s traveled to The Arns (Clackmannan County CC) to play their final scheduled match of 2019, against the Cricket Scotland Women’s Performance Academy.
The Performance Academy won the toss and chose to bat first. Despite losing a wicket to Bahadar Esakhiel (Clydesdale CC) in the first over, Becky Glen took the attack to the Warriors bowlers – with a quickfire 35 off 23 deliveries, taking the score to 50 for 2 off seven overs. As has been the way during the T20 matches, the introduction of Shahan Raja (Clydesdale CC) had an immediate impact – Glen being smartly stumped by Lukas Fischer-Keogh (Greenock CC). This was the first of Raja’s three wickets – and, with Nikhil Koteeswaran (Clydesdale CC), James Hobman (Dumfries CC), Caelan Lang (Helensburgh CC) and the returning Esakhiel all bowling well towards the end of the innings, the Performance Academy finished on 107 for 8 off their twenty overs. The effort of the bowlers was well backed up by Fischer-Keogh who finished with three catches to go along with his stumping.
In reply, the Performance Academy bowled very well early on – making it very difficult for the top order to “break the shackles” and score freely. The scoring rate was very quickly pushed to 1 run per ball – and it just kept climbing! The top four, Koteeswaran, Esakhiel, Rory Paterson (Glasgow Accies CC) and Anne Sturgess (Clydesdale CC) did all find the boundary – but the experience of the Performance Academy bowling attack shone through, as they were able to exert lots of pressure through dot balls and a committed fielding effort. Lang (12*) and Fischer-Keogh (21*) did get the side close – but they couldn’t quite find the 41 needed off the final four overs for victory.
Overall, a slightly disappointing performance and result. However, the bowling and then batting skills displayed towards the end of both innings was very encouraging – and the loss did provide a great learning opportunity about the value of bowling straight (19 runs in wides were gifted to the Performance Academy) and managing the scoring rate in T20 cricket.
A fantastic squad performance resulted in the Western Warriors Under 14s winning Cricket Scotland’s Under 14 inter-regional T20 Blitz, played at Doo’cot Park, on Sunday the 14th of July.
Game one saw the Warriors play the Caledonian Highlanders, with the Warriors batting first. Openers Gould and Esakhiel (both Clydesdale CC) got the innings off to a quick start, putting on 30 in the first three overs – in a match reduced to 16 overs-per-side. Although the innings didn’t “kick on” to a really big total, 107 for 3 looked to be around par – with Esakhiel top scoring, with 46*. In reply, the Warriors kept a good squeeze on the run rate early on. The building pressure then led to a flurry of wickets – 17 for 0 becoming 24 for 4, with Shahan Raja (Clydesdale CC) picking up two wickets. From there, there was no way back for the Highlanders. They finished on 68 for 8, with Raja being the pick of the bowlers and finishing with 3 for 17.
In game two, the Eastern Knights won the toss and elected to bat first. Their openers batted with very positive intent – and immediately had the Warriors on the back foot, reaching 61 for 0 off of seven overs. However, the introduction of Raja saw both openers clean bowled within four deliveries of each other. Murray Johnson then continued to take the attack to the Warriors. However, with the score on 100, he was clean bowled by a good yorker from Hassaan Mehmood (Poloc CC). The Warriors bowlers then bowled very effectively during the final seven overs – only conceding a run-a-ball, with Mehmood picking up a second wicket and Andrew Harden and Nikhil Koteeswaran (both Clydesdale CC) one each. Knights 142 for 7. In reply, Esakhiel and Gould were asked to build a solid base, while scoring at a good rate. They did this perfectly, putting on 67 for the first wicket in eight overs. By this point Esakhiel was well and truly “in” and he went on to dominate the chase – getting the required run-rate to less than one run per ball and crucially keeping it there. He was given good support by Abdullah Tufail (Renfrew CC), who scored 19* – but the day belonged to Esakhiel, who finished 81*, as the Warriors won by eight wickets.
While Esakhiel and Raja will rightly grab the main headlines, all twelve players played an important role in a very impressive win – and a competition win which demonstrated a good bounce-back from the disappointment of the team performance in the 40-over competition.
The Western Warriors Under 14s travelled to Largo CC for the final 40-over match in the inter-regional championship. After electing to bat first, a superb batting performance put the team in a very strong position. Openers Owen Gould and Bahadar Esakhiel (both Clydesdale CC) set the innings up perfectly, bringing up their 100 partnership in the 22nd over. Although both were to be dismissed in their attempts to up the scoring rate (Gould for a high quality 73 and Esakhiel, unfortunately, run out on 47), Lukas Fischer-Keogh (Greenock CC) and skipper Nikhil Koteeswaran (Clydesdale CC) both produced quick-fire, and innovative, innings to boost the total. Fischer-Keogh finished 26* and Koteeswaran 42*, as the Warriors posted 225 for 3.
The Warriors were gifted an early wicket, with a run out. However, the bowlers again struggled to cope with a right/left combination from opposition batting line-up – resulting in far, far, too many wides. Add in some lapses of concentration in the field, and a crucial 140-run partnership was built for the second wicket. There were some encouraging passages of play – Koteeswaran looked the most threatening of the Warriors attack (picking up a wicket which his spell deserved), Under 13 spinners Uzair Ahmad and Qasim Khan (both Ferguslie CC) continued to offer flight and turn and two tricky catches were held. However, 55 extras proved too much of a hinderance to the Warriors effort – with the Highlanders winning the match, and championship, with a couple of overs to spare.
Overall, the Warriors will be left with a big feeling of frustration from the 40-over championship – which has featured nineten different players over the four matches. Following the good win over the Knights in game one, the team worked themselves into good positions in the three matches which followed – but couldn’t find the consistency required to turn these into wins. Esakhiel (149 runs @ 37.25), Gould (146 runs @ 48.67) and Koteeswaran (104 runs @ 34.67) have all scored consistently, and Koteeswaran (seven wickets @ 16.71) and Ahmad (six wickets @ 27.50) led the way with the ball, with Andrew Harden (Clydesdale CC) also taking a “2-for”.
Although the 40-over championship campaign is now over, the Warriors still have plenty of cricket to play – two friendlies, the T20 championships and two Under 13 triangular series matches. These matches will provide plenty of opportunities for the squad to continue to develop their skills and try to find some additional consistency.
Following heavy overnight rain, and a subsequent rain delay, the Warriors welcomed the Eastern Knights to Titwood (Clydesdale CC) for the latest Under 14 inter-regional championship match. After electing to bowl first, Ibrahim Faisal (Clydesdale CC) produced an excellent spell of new ball, swing bowling and was very unlucky not to finish with better figures than 5-2-16-1. That performance, and 6-0-22-3 from Uzair Ahmad (Ferguslie CC) was the highlight of the Warriors effort with the ball, as the Knights scored 147 for 7 off their 27 overs. Although wides (30) continued to be a problem for the Warriors‘ bowlers, the effort in the field was improved on the previous couple of matches.
In reply, the usual opening partnership of Owen Gould and Bahadar Esakhiel (both Clydesdale CC) was restored, and the foundation for a good chase was set. Esakhiel was fluent early on, before being bounced out for 22. However, Gould was very well set – rotating the strike well. Unfortunately, and despite being 92 for 3 with 8 overs to go, the pressure of the chase proved too much – with a series of ill-advised shots, and three pretty calamitous run outs, leaving the Warriors 31 runs short of the target. The Warriors finished all out for 116 – with only three batters reaching double figures, in a below par effort, despite a very good 41 from Gould.
With one Championship match left, the challenge remains for the Warriors to bring all three elements of the game together over the length of a full game – and to build upon the flashes of very good cricket which have been seen so far.
The Western Warriors Under 14s welcomed the Caledonian Highlanders to a sun-drenched Meikleriggs (Ferguslie CC) and turned in a below par performance, to fall to a four wicket defeat.
Batting first, Bahadar Esakhiel (Clydesdale CC), Uzair Ahmad (Ferguslie CC) and Nikhil Koteeswaran (Clydesdale CC) all looked well-set – before getting out for 44, 25 and 17 respectively. Throughout the innings, the Warriors just weren’t able to form meaningful partnerships – and they finished 152 all out, with overs to spare. The innings also featured two very poor run outs – and a batter being dismissed “obstructed the field” (only because you can no longer be dismissed “handled the ball”!).
In reply, what wasn’t needed was for the Warriors to give the Highlanders 55 free runs – 49 in wides, 4 in byes and 2 in no balls! This indiscipline, and four dropped catches, meant that despite Ahmad taking two wickets and Koteeswaran ripping through the top order (4 for 31), which left the Highlanders 54 for 5 and 96 for 6, the target was reached with fifteen overs to spare.
There is now a two-week break before the Eastern Knights come visiting – and these two weeks will give the squad the opportunity to re-group, and to continue to work on executing the skills we know they do have, so they can turn in a much more complete performance.
The Western Warriors Under 14s got their 2019 campaign off to a winning start – prevailing in a nail-biting encounter with the Eastern Knights. Batting first, Clydesdale CC trio Bahadar Esakhiel (36), skipper Nikhil Koteeswaran (35) and wicket-keeper Owen Gould (32) all made very useful contributions to the total of 199 for 7 from the 40 overs. Extras did top score, with 53 – but the Warriors would quickly gift almost the same total (48) back, including two sets of 5 penalty runs for running on the wicket, and from consecutive deliveries!
The Knights‘ reply was built around a big 114-run second wicket partnership – but some impressive spin bowling from Ferguslie CC duo Uzair Ahmad and Qasim Khan (8-0-31-1 and 5-1-11-0 respectively) managed to push the required rate beyond 7 runs per over. The Knights then got this back down to almost one run per ball, as the Warriors proceeded to drop six catches! However, Koteeswaran made the crucial breakthrough during a very impressive late innings spell – and, when Andrew Harden (Clydesdale CC) picked up the crucial wicket of McIntyre with the first ball of his second spell, the Warriors were able to control the end of the innings well. Knights 190 for 6 – with the Warriors showing great character to seal the victory.
Next up is a home game, against the Caledonian Highlanders, this Sunday.
The Western Warriors are delighted to be able to confirm their Under 14, Under 16 and Girls Under 16 squads for their winter training programmes. The Under 14 and Under 16 training programmes are running in specific “skill-sets” and all players listed are involved in at least one of the “skill-sets” within the two age-group programmes. The full list of players can be found online and contact details for the coaches can be found here (linked to the Contact us section please).
Nic Wilson, Cricket Scotland’s Female Participation Manager, has circulated a document on female cricket pathways today, and this can be viewed online. Nic writes, “The new female cricket pathways document shows the current programmes for females at both participation and performance level. This document will be added to Cricket Scotland website very shortly. To ensure growth [in the women’s game] it is vital to provide several entry points into female cricket, covering all ages, and readers will see these in the left column under FIRST EXPERIENCE. Next to this is the ‘traditional’ club pathway, incorporating competitions like the Women’s Premier League, Beyond Boundaries Women’s Scottish Cup and The Wee Bash. We will be promoting a new concept in 2019 – the Female Cricket Hub, watch this space!
“The regional programme consists of two women’s teams: the Eagles representing the east and the Stormers representing Caledonia and the west. Below that sit four regional Under 16 teams aligned with the male pathway Eastern Knights, Western Warriors and Caledonia Highlanders North and South.
“The national pathway is self-explanatory with an ever-expanding programme for all teams involved.
“Cricket Scotland are committed to increasing female participation in our clubs and schools and taking our representative teams to new heights. We hope that this document will provide clarity to how we are going about this, for anyone involved or interested in female cricket in Scotland. Our female participation team consisting of Rosy Ryan (west), Madison Garland (east) and myself are here to help and happy to answer any questions that might arise . Your local development officer or Regional Manager will also be able to help.”
Yesterday saw 43 young players, from fifteen different clubs, attend the Western Warriors Under 14 trial sessions. Each trial featured a warm-up, some skill and movement stations, and four different net-based challenges. Thanks to all the players for their effort on the day and to Riyaad Henry, David Hinchliffe and Michael Miller for their assistance with running the sessions. Players can expect to hear the outcome from their trial over the next ten days. Anyone wishing more information should contact Under 14 Lead Coach, Tim Hart (07825-172346), directly.