The first in a series of activities which will act as a trial for the Western Warriors Under 15 Squad 2022 took place yesterday, at Titwood (Clydesdale CC). A match, which generally saw the bowlers enjoy more success than the batters, managed to bring together 24 players – representing only half of those who were nominated by their club Junior Convenor! The hope is that another one or two match-play opportunities can be created over the next few weeks – before more traditional indoor trial sessions take place, at some point in October or November.
If any Junior Convenor still wishes to nominate players, they should contact Tim Hart immediately.
Sunday saw the eagerly anticipated Inter-Regional T20 Day take place – with the under 15 tournament being held at Livingston CC. Unfortunately, both matches resulted in losses – with the squad struggling to re-adjust to the shorter format, made even shorter as matches were reduced to 16 overs per side.
In the first match, the Eastern Knights openers started with very positive intent – bringing up their 50 in the 7th over. This allowed them to accelerate their scoring – including both openers scoring 50s, in a 112 run partnership. Ewan McCartney (Helensburgh CC) took three late wickets, Robbie Walsh (Ayr CC) two and Shlok Thaker (Clydesdale CC) one – but Knights scored 147/6 (16). In reply, despite an impressive 46 (34) including 6 fours and 1 six from Uzair Ahmad (Ferguslie CC), the Warriors were never in a position to challenge for a win.
Game 2 saw the Warriors bat first. Again, only 3 batters would reach double figures – and a good bowling attack managed to starve the Warriors of crucial boundaries, while adding ‘dot ball’ pressure. The result was 77 all out (15.3). Then, in reply, the Highlanders did find the boundary regularly in the early overs. Off spinners Qasim Khan (Ferguslie CC) and Nasratullah Safi (Glasgow Accies CC) both picked up one wicket and Thaker bowled 2 overs for just 3 runs – but the low target was easily reached.
Although a disappointing effort on the day, the squad can still look back on a positive season which saw them win the 50-over championship – a victory based around a significant number of the squad making contributions to the team success.
Friday evening saw a hastily arranged match take place at New Williamfield (Stirling County CC) – one which was a great opportunity, as the Warriors faced the Scotland Women’s squad. The match acted as a warm-up for both sides – the Warriors in advance of their Inter-Regional T20 Day and for Scotland as they prepare for the World Cup qualifying tournament.
Batting first, the Warriors posted 132/5 off their 20 overs. The top six all reached double figures – but no one could go on to convert into a bigger innings. While there was busy intent, as 79 of the 121 deliveries bowled were scored off of, the Warriors struggled to find the boundary (only 8 fours) against a disciplined bowling line-up which was well-backed in the field. In contrast, Scotland struck 6 boundaries (fours) during their 6-over powerplay, as they raced to 55/1 – as compared to Warriors who had been 24/1 at the comparable stage. Another key difference was extras – Scotland conceded just 12, whereas the Warriors gifted 24 (including 22 in wides…and 21 different wide deliveries!). Given this, and being up against a well-balanced opposition, it was unsurprising that Scotland chased their target with 15 deliveries to spare.
However, there were some real positives for the Warriors: Uzair Ahmad (Ferguslie CC) scored 26, with Rory Paterson and Nasratullah Safi (both Glasgow Accies CC) both scoring 23 and Ali Khan (Clydesdale CC) finishing 20*, Shlok Thaker (Clydesdale CC) struck with the new ball, Robbie Walsh (Ayr CC), Ollie Jones (Stirling County CC) and Ahmad all picked up wickets in the middle overs – and Ewan McCartney (Helensburgh CC) and Safi took very good catches.
While the ultimate result was a loss, the fixture presented a valuable chance to get some match-play prior to the Inter-Regional competition. This Sunday will also provide another great opportunity as two ‘intra-squad’ T20s, featuring 24 players from 11 different clubs, will take place at Titwood (Clydesdale CC).
Sunday 13th June saw the Western Warriors under 15s travel to Doo’cot Park, Perth to play the Caledonian Highlanders in the deciding fixture in the U15 50-over Inter-Regional Championships.
Batting first, Max Byers (Dumfries CC) was the main feature of Warriors early innings efforts. His 59 (including 5 of the Warriors 7 boundaries – in a match where there were only 12!) saw him form two good partnerships with Uzair Ahmad (Ferguslie CC) and Ollie Jones (Stirling County CC). However, 110/1 quickly became 119/4 as the Highlanders spinners stifled the Warriors batters – with only 30 runs being added between overs 31 and 40. Ritvik Maheshwari (Glasgow Accies CC) scored 28 and Shlok Thaker (Clydesdale CC) added 20*, as the Warriors added some much-needed busyness towards the end of the innings. Warriors 187/7 (50).
Arguably the defining moment of the second innings came off the very first delivery, as Thaker induced dangerman Hegde to chip one towards midwicket where Ewan McCartney (Helensburgh CC) took an excellent diving catch. Although a 50-run partnership formed of the 2nd wicket, good bowling meant this took almost 20 overs – as the required run rate rose. Four quick wickets, including two to Jones, left the Highlanders 65/5 at the halfway mark – before Thaker returned to pick up wickets in both his second and third spells, finishing with outstanding figures of 10-4-21-4. A 26-run partnership for the ninth wicket threatened to make things interesting – but Qasim Khan (Ferguslie CC) returned to take his second wicket, before Ahmad followed suit. Highlanders 159 all out (49.1).
In such a crucial match, and missing two of the top five the batting order, it was great to see Byers build on his good starts and go on and make a significant contribution, with Ahmad, Jones and Maheshwari providing good support – before Thaker’s simple but busy approach at the end of innings allowed the team to carry real momentum into the second innings. This was momentum which never looked like being relinquished – with Thaker’s ‘4-for’ being key and all the bowlers offering good support.
As always, huge thanks must go to the parents of all the players for their support during our 50-over campaign. There will now be a few weeks off – before we start to build towards the T20 day later in the season.
The Western Warriors under 15s bounced back from last week’s defeat, to record a good win over the Eastern Knights. Things got off to an inauspicious start when skipper-for-day Robbie Walsh (Ayr CC) lost the toss and the Knights chose to bat first at a sun-drenched Titwood (Clydesdale CC).
However, Walsh struck in the 5th over, with fellow opening bowler Shlok Thaker (Clydesdale CC) picking up a wicket in the 6th over too. Ewan McCartney (Helensburgh CC), bowling first change, then added a third – leaving the Knights 35/3. The Knights biggest partnership of the innings followed – until Uzair Ahmad (Ferguslie CC) induced an outside edge which was spectacularly caught by a diving Ben Willmott (Clydesdale CC) at slip. Then the spinners enjoyed big success – Ahmad finished with 4 wickets, Qasim Khan (Ferguslie CC) took 2 and Nasratullah Safi (Glasgow Accies CC) took 1. From 67/3, the Knights were 106 all out.
In reply, Max Byers (Dumfries CC) started with real intent. However, despite both he and Ahmad making starts, the Warriors were 77/5 at one point – the Knights being aided by a mix up resulting in a run out and two outstanding catches by William Hodgson. However, Rory Paterson (Glasgow Accies CC) batted superbly for 38* (off 40 deliveries) to steer the side home – even if it was Thaker who hit the winning run!
The second intra-squad match next week should provide a good warm-up for the 50-over championship finale – when the Warriors travel to Perth in two weeks’ time.
Following a very useful ‘intra-squad’ match on last Sunday, today saw the Western Warriors U15s host the Caledonian Highlanders at Titwood (Clydesdale CC).
Having lost the toss, and been invited to bat first, Max Byers (Dumfries CC) and Bahadar Esakhiel (Clydesdale CC) started very confidently – putting on 66 for the first wicket. Despite Byers being dismissed for 23, the score progressed to 97/2 at the midpoint of the innings. However, a steady flow of wickets and too many dots balls (205 in total!) meant that the Warriors couldn’t add any acceleration to their innings – and, despite a true ‘captain’s innings’ of 83 from Esakhiel and 22* from Shlok Thaker (Clydesdale CC), the Warriors could only post 187/7 off their 50 overs.
In reply, Esakhiel picked up an early wicket – with the score on 6. However, a match-winning partnership would see the Warriors have to wait another 171 runs before picking up a second wicket. Thanks to a splendid 94 from Dunk, supported by 51* from Hegde, the Highlanders cruised to an 8-wicket win, with nearly 20 overs to spare.
Despite a few mitigating factors, the Warriors will feel that they could have batted with a little more intent to score, the bowlers will reflect on not being able to build any real pressure by bowling in partnerships and the fielders will have learned the importance of maintaining full concentration while the opposition are building a big partnership.
However, the advantage of the competition format is that the squad gets an immediate opportunity to ‘bounce back’, as the Eastern Knights are welcomed to the west this coming Sunday. The series is also well-poised with all three teams having a record of P2, W1, L1!
Western Warriors U15s got their season off to a winning start, by defeating the Eastern Knights in a match at Linlithgow Cricket Club.
After a near 3-hour delay, the match was reduced to 29 overs per side – with both sides wanting to bowl first. Therefore, upon losing the toss, the Warriors were invited to bat first! Despite the loss of an early wicket, skipper Bahadar Esakhiel (Clydesdale CC) and Max Byers (Dumfries CC) built a very useful 2nd wicket partnership of 44. However, this was somewhat squandered as 48/1 became 90/8! The 9th wicket partnership added a crucial 34 runs, as Ritvik Maheshwari (Glasgow Accies CC) and Robbie Walsh (Ayr CC) rotated the strike well and ran hard between the wickets. This would lead the Warriors to 136/9 – with Esakhiel top scoring with 35.
In reply, Walsh picked up an early wicket – but the Knights added 22 for their 2nd wicket and 33 for their 3rd. Although well-set, at 68/3, they were behind the asking rate, in a low scoring match. Ollie Jones (Stirling County CC) took his 2nd wicket (removing dangerman Burnet, for 34), Esakhiel took a sharp catch at short cover and two other wickets quickly fell – leaving the Knights 81/7. They then countered with 34-run partnership for their 8th wicket – although the Warriors managed to keep increasing the required run rate. The partnership was broken when Esakhiel returned to the attack to claim a wicket caught and bowled – and Fizan Rashid (Clydesdale CC) showed good composure, as a run out followed quickly thereafter. Knights 123/9.
A good win, with 4 batters making solid contributions in a low scoring match, including a game-changing 9th wicket partnership – and 6 of the 7 bowlers taking wickets. The next match is in two weeks’ time (after an intra-squad training match). The Warriors will hope to see batters go ‘on’ when set and reduce the number of dismissals ‘LBW’ (five!), the bowlers will aim to bowl a little straighter and more consistently – and the fielders will hope to sustain their committed and impressive start to the innings for the full duration.
Sunday 4th April saw the 2021 Western Warriors Youth programme commence. Two training sessions, featuring 29 players, took place simultaneously at Shawholm (Poloc CC) and Titwood (Clydesdale CC) – in the first of a 4-week “pre-season” training programme.
There have been a couple of significant changes from the programmes of previous years:
– The squads now operate at Under 17 and Under 15 age groups.
– Moneeb Iqbal and Nauman Javaid have joined the coaching team, to work alongside Tim Hart and Mitchell Rao.
The hope is that both squads will have the opportunity to participate in multi-format playing programmes, as the “return to cricket” continues.
For the second weekend in a row the Western Warriors Under 14s made use of the late summer sun to record two wins in two T20s! This weekend, the Warriors were at home – with “Titwood” (Clydesdale CC) being the host venue, as the Caledonian Highlanders made the trip south. Once again, lead coach Tim Hart reports on the day’s play:
“Batting first in game one, the Warriors 123 for 4 was based around 49 (off 50 deliveries) from skipper Bahadar Eskahiel (Clydesdale CC) and 40 (48) from Uzair Ahmad (Ferguslie CC) – the pair putting on 101 for the third wicket! The team effort was notable for only 5 boundaries being scored in the twenty overs – but also for some very impressive scampering between the wickets in the final overs! In reply, good early bowling was backed up by some athletic fielding. The pressure eventually led to the breakthrough, in the 9th over, with Nasratullah Safi (Glasgow Accies CC) holding on to a caught and bowled opportunity. From there, the bowlers and fielders squeezed the game well – with Shlok Thaker (Clydesdale CC) bowling a double-wicket maiden and the fielding unit contributing three run outs. Highlanders 54 all out (19.5).
The second match saw the Warriors bat first, again. This time the team posted 116 all out (19.5 overs) – with the scorecard having a slightly odd look to it! Ben Willmott (Clydesdale CC) opened and anchored the innings with 46 (54), only Ahmad 15 (11) joined him in making double figures – and batters two, three, four and five all scored 0! The Highlanders, again, got off to a good start – 35 for 0 off six overs. However, Ewan McCartney (Helensburgh CC) then ended the game as a contest – by bowling a triple-wicket maiden, one thanks to a really sharp catch from Esakhiel at extra cover. From there, the wickets were again spread out between the bowlers – and there were another two run outs, highlighted by a great direct hit from Rory Paterson (Glasgow Accies CC). Highlanders 75 all out (17 overs).
Overall, it was pleasing to record another two wins – and to continue the policy of utilising the batters and bowlers at different times throughout the each innings. Across the four matches, Ahmad has been the standout batter – with Esakhiel and Willmott making significant contributions too. Nine different bowlers have taken wickets, there have been some good moments in the field – but, more importantly, everyone within the squad has had the opportunity to contribute as we continue with our return to cricket. Next week sees both the Under 14s (and Under 16s) complete their summer programme, with two ‘intra-squad’ T20s.”
Sunday 30 August saw the Western Warriors Under 14s return to cricket, with two T20 matches v the Eastern Knights at “Goldenacre” (Heriot’s CC). Lead Coach Tim Hart reports:
“After nearly five and half months, it was great to see the Warriors programme resume – with the first two (of five) matches. There was, understandably, a little rustiness in all three disciplines – but the squad stuck to their collective task very well and recorded impressive back-to-back wins.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first in game one, the Warriors found themselves 23 for 2 after 7.4 overs. Batting at four, Ben Willmott (Clydesdale CC) provided some much-needed impetus to the innings, with 27 (26) as part of a fifty partnership with Uzair Ahmad (Ferguslie CC). When Willmott was dismissed, Ahmad then upped his scoring rate – taking 12 off the final twelve deliveries he faced, to finish his innings’ anchoring role with a crucial 43* (57). Warriors 102 for 4. In reply, the Knights found run-scoring similarly tricky. Following on from their fifty partnership, Ahmad (4-0-7-1) and Willmott (4-0-11-1) combined well with the ball too. With the Knights left needing 65 off the final 8 overs, the Warriors bowlers bowled very effectively – Qasim Khan (Ferguslie CC) excelling with 4 for 21 from his four overs. Knights 85 for 8.
Warriors skipper Bahadar Esakhiel (Clydesdale CC) won a second toss – and the Warriors chose a different challenge, by fielding first. There were early successes for both Ahmad and Ewan McCartney (Helensburgh CC), before Willmott (2 for 19) bowled another good middle overs spell, Khan picked up his fifth wicket of the day – and the Warriors experimented by bowling eight one-over spells towards the end of the innings! Knights 92 for 7. A slightly altered top order was asked to bat with a little more energy during the early overs – but the Warriors again found themselves 23 for 2 off 7.4 overs! The rate continued to climb steadily and, despite 23 (27) from Willmott, the Warriors needed 30 off the last three overs. But Ahmad was in, batting with very positive intent – and using the depth of his crease to great effect. His 31* (30) was crucial – and Rory Paterson, 5* (6) also played a key part. Warriors 93 for 4, with two deliveries to spare!
The wins were nice, as was the overall performance of all twelve players – which was led by some very effective captaincy and highlighted by good all-round contributions from Ahmad and Willmott. Overall, the main aim of the mini fixture programme is to get as many of the squad playing as possible – and to use players in different roles in the matches whenever possible. As always, thanks must go to the parents for their continued support of the programme – and hopefully the weather will allow the Warriors to welcome the Caledonian Highlanders to “Titwood” (Clydesdale CC) this coming Sunday.”