Gary Heatly rounds-up the latest pathways action…
The standard of cricket played by youngsters – male and female – up and down the country in regional competitions and in national age-grade sides this season has been brilliant to see.
And on Sunday the pathways summer was brought to a close with three teams claiming silverware.
The under-18 girls regional series – which combined both T20 fixtures and 40-over-a-side fixtures – came to an end with the Eastern Knights coming out on top.
They capped it off with two T20 wins over the Western Warriors at Clydesdale CC and David Bordes, who has been coaching the Knights along with Caitlin Ormiston, said: “2021 has been a special season after the return to cricket following a long break.
“Everyone was excited to get back training and playing competitive cricket again.
“Caitlin and I as staff were focused on developing two key aspects this year with players: self-responsibility for training and game awareness.
“The Eastern Knights girls team comprises a lot of under-15 and under-17 girls with a mix in terms of experience, but who all give it 100%. Due to exams, we were missing several players early on this season and it soon became clear we could not rely solely on our senior players. This really helped create a real team effort and buy in from everyone.
“This season’s standout point for us is the composure shown by our players in difficult/key moments, nobody panicked in either bowling or in batting and we were able to see games home.
“The last T20 weekend was one of the best examples of this, with the Warriors 83-3 after 10 overs, the team dug in and took the last seven wickets in the space of 30 balls. Then showed the same great fighting spirit on the batting front, as we went from 63-0 to 79-8 there was no panic feeling around the team. The ninth wicket partnership played with composure and no under-pressure shots to bring us home.
“The girls skills have come on leaps and bounds and we are extremely proud of them and excited to see them continue to progress.
“We want to thank all parents who made this season possible by their commitment to drive their girls to training and games but also for being so supportive. Not to forget all our players who took part and those who were not selected but always came to training, their enthusiasm made our coaching work very enjoyable.
“We are looking forward to 2022 season and defending our title.”
The under-17 boy’s regional series – combining 50-over-a-side, two day and T20 games – finished on Sunday at Strathmore CC with some T20 action.
The Caledonian Highlanders won the first match against the Knights thanks to an excellent 74 from Meigle CC’s Josh Edington.
The Warriors beat the Highlanders in game two and then they backed it up to defeat the Knights in the final game.
Overall, the Knights did enough across the season the win a hard fought trophy and their coach Joe Kinghorn-Gray said: “Firstly, I’d like to say thank you to all the players for their commitment over the course of the season.
“It was their drive and attitude towards learning and getting better every week that allowed the team to play as well as it did. Also, a big thank you to the parents/guardians that transported the players to training and games all around the country.
“As a squad throughout the season I thought we played some brilliant cricket and the team really showed what quality they had. I was most impressed during the two day games by the way the players were able to adapt and learn quickly in situations they have never experienced before on the park.
“Finally, thanks to Gordon Drummond for his organisation of the programme – looking forward to next year.”
And the Highlanders under-15 boy’s came out on top in a standalone T16 event at Livingston.
In game one, the Knights posted 147-6 against the Warriors with Calum Burnet of Grange CC and Bass Rock CC’s Bruce Weatherhead making half centuries.
That first half batting power was enough to see them go on to win by 48-runs.
The Highlanders then beat the Warriors by eight wickets in game two after bowling them out for 77 up first to set-up a cracking last game with the Knights.
Alistair Banks of Dounce CC made 27 as the Highlanders made 106-7 from their 16 overs batting first.
The Highlanders bowlers then were on top form to bowl their opponents out for 72 and claim the trophy.
“The boys played some good cricket on Sunday and I really have been impressed by their resolve and desire to get better week after week during what has been a busy summer,” their coach Richard Rennie said.
“I would like to thank all of the players for their efforts and the great team spirit they have shown over the last few months and it is brilliant to have seen youngsters from clubs from all over what is a vast region coming together as one.
“The future is bright for cricket in the area and I look forward to seeing how many of these players get on in the coming years at under-17 level and beyond.
“Finally, thanks to their parents and everyone else who has helped the players get to training and to matches.
“Roll on 2022!”
We hope you have enjoyed this summer’s weekly pathways round-ups and hearing about the next generation of exciting male and female cricketers