Aitken - A Blog From Colder Climes
Scotland Captain Abbi Aitken gives us an update on what will be a busy, and hugely important, year for the national side.
We’ve heard lots from our fortunate Wildcats down under who have been lucky enough to winter in the warmth...but us tamer cats back in sunny Scotland have been working our socks off too in preparing for the almighty season that’s fast approaching!
The start of this month was the last indoor squad session of the winter for the Wildcats, and what a winter it has been. Our full day sessions have allowed the squad to meet up in the capital and prepare together, combining squad fitness testing, core skill sessions, specialist batting and bowling coaching as well as the ever so slightly competitive scenario sessions (Liz Priddle, I’m talking about you…).
These sessions, organised and planned by our national coach Kari Carswell have been nothing short of fantastic in ensuring our preparations for the season have been the best they could have been.
Kari has been brilliantly assisted by our long-serving assistant coach and ‘man with the stats’ Steve Paige, John Blain who’s bowling expertise and cricketing knowledge has been much appreciated by our seniors and 17’s players, as well as our strength and conditioning coach Leanne Nothard, physio Mhairi Shanks and team building expert Louie Gardener. On behalf of all the squad, I would like to thank each and every one of you for your time and guidance this winter.
With arguably our most competitive and lengthy season coming up, our winter preparations have been crucial. The spirit in the squad is high and their commitment cannot be questioned. I fully believe we have a talented and driven squad with a shared vision of achieving great things for Cricket Scotland.
After securing promotion last year, the Wildcats will be competing in Division 2 of the ECB Royal London Women’s One-Day Championship (50 over format). The Wildcats will be playing against Wales, Devon, Durham, Essex, Somerset, Staffordshire, Worcestershire and the familiar faces of the Irish Womens squad.
Promotion undoubtedly means more competitive cricket, and we’re all looking forward to taking that step-up and challenging ourselves in the domestic season that lies ahead. As well as the one day cup, the Wildcats will be competing in Division 3 of the Natwest Women’s County T20 Cup again, after coming within an inch of promotion from the division last season.
Our 2015 fixture list is extensive, and as we play all our fixtures away the Wildcats will be clocking up thousands of road miles with our first fixtures against Wales and Staffs on the 3rd and 4th May and our last game against Devon on 13th September! (Note to the squad: please up the bus banter or I’m tempted to book flights…)
But that’s not all! It’s a World Cup Qualifying year for the team and our focus unquestionably lies here. A few months ago the squad were made aware that Scotland would be competing at the T20 WCQ later in 2015. I am extremely excited about this opportunity and I know the rest of the squad are too.
Having witnessed the heroics of our male counterparts during their convincing World Cup Qualifying campaign last year, as well as watching them play with pride and passion during their competitive World Cup efforts, our girls will be looking to replicate their achievements and aim to qualify for our first World Cup. The qualifying tournament will be held in Thailand this year from 28th November to 5th December (when I mentioned a lengthy season this year, I wasn’t lying.)
So now, all that remains from until the start of the season are a few outdoor sessions held at the picturesque Stirling County C.C, hopefully featuring glorious sunshine and bright blue skies...a girl can only dream. Oh, and not to forget, the return of all those travelling, sun-kissed Wildcats!
...I promised myself my blog wouldn’t ramble on like our squad chatterbox Samantha Haggo so I best watch my word count…
To keep up to date with the Wildcats season preparation and fixtures, show your support and follow us @WildcatsCricket.
Abbi Aitken is proudly sponsored by Raven Cricket.