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.