Cricketers hail LMS a success
Cricket doesn’t have a reputation for change. Launch of T20 cricket in England came with a huge bang. Club sides had been playing this format for years after work right across Scotland. However, our lives are getting busier and more chaotic, many clubs and teams across Scotland have found it more and more difficult to field and find midweek evening cricket fixtures as the commitment involved with a full evening’s cricket is almost the new ‘can’t give up my whole Saturday’ problem we’ve been experiencing for years.
Cricket needed a bit of a facelift to help encourage participation, and that’s exactly what its not getting with a new exciting, fast 8-a-side format called Last Man Stands. It’s origins were in London in 2005 – and today there are now leagues all across the world in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and even the United States. In 2012, 30,000 players took part in LMS cricket leagues throughout Scotland, and this year the first Scottish league took place at Inch Park in Edinburgh.
And it’s been a huge success. A total of 10 teams have competed in two leagues. All in all, over 200 players have taken part in the first Edinburgh leagues. The word has spread, and there is interest already from a further nine teams for 2015.
A social league has attracted all sorts of teams to the games. They include work teams from Lindsays and Cheine and Tait, a team of local dads, a women’s development side and Lismore Rugby Football Club. One of the stars of this year’s tournament was Fergus Pringle, the former Edinburgh lock who started playing after coming across LMS playing on the adjoining pitch to his son Callan, a member of Edinburgh South’s junior cricket section who share the facilities with LMS at Inch Park. After five innings, Fergus finds himself still not out having amassed 266 runs in the process. Fergus has now expressed an interest at giving cricket a go again at a higher level.
Kevin Illingworth was a team mate of Fergus in the social select team. He hadn’t played for years since school, and sums up what many people feel about the new format ‘The format of the game means everyone gets to take part in every game. There is no hanging about at long on, never seeing the ball and finishing every game as "did not bat". You can guarantee you'll be involved’. It’s the quick format and inclusive rules that make Last Man Stands so attractive to anyone wishing to join.
The premier league has seen some fantastic cricket, and this year’s winners – Team Factory XI, host some familiar faces to Scottish Cricket. They include former NZ U19 wicket keeper Ian Sandbrook, and captain and former Watsonians opening bowler Steve Paige. Team Factory finished the year unbeaten, but not without a thrilling tie along the way with Kirkbrae Badgers, who they managed to beat in the final. Team Factory XI now have the honour of representing Scotland at the World Championships in Barbados next year, where teams from all around the world will compete for the crown. The finals are hosted at the world famous Kensington Oval. Steve Paige said ‘ I don’t really have the time at the moment with a young family to play Saturday cricket, and this has been a fantastic way to stay involved. To win the tournament in the first year and find ourselves on the way to Barbados is just fantastic. We are now looking for sponsors to help support our team go to Barbados to represent Scotland. The tournament is well organised, fun and a welcome addition to the game. I’d definitely encourage people to give it a go’.
The tournament has the full support of the governing body, and plans are now being put in place to expand leagues throughout Scotland. Advanced discussions are already taking place for an East Lothian league to launch in 2015. If you are interested in learning more about getting involved in Last Man Stands, you can email now at Edinburgh@lastmanstands.co.uk or go to the website www.lastmanstands.co.uk