Regional Series kicks off
Western Warriors boss Colin Mitchell last night welcomed the return of Scottish cricket’s regional Pro Series.
The three-team set-up, featuring 50-over and T20 competitions, replaces the North Sea Series in which two hand-picked teams faced rival sides from Holland.
And Mitchell believes his players have recaptured their identity ahead of tomorrow’s (Sun) Pro50 Cup opener against Eastern Knights at The Grange.
He said: “The lads are delighted to be going back to a geographical definition and it already seems to have brought them closer together.
“There’s a feeling that you are playing for your district and that appeals to the boys. We have a sense of unity and identity that will hopefully work to our advantage.”
John Blain, the Knights coach, is also behind the new set-up, saying: “I’m delighted we’ve gone back to the old format.
“We have a really strong group to pick from in the East and all our Cricket Scotland contracted players are available for the first match.”
The Knights, skippered by Grange spinner Andrew Brock, feature national captain Preston Mommsen and Heriot’s all-rounder Mark Watt who played a starring role in Scotland A’s win over Durham on Thursday.
Warriors hand a debut to Clydesdale batsman Mo Awais but Scotland star Richie Berrington is unavailable.
The Caley Highlanders play their first match when they entertain the Knights next Sunday.
Eastern Knights: A Brock capt, G Munsey, R Flannigan, N Farrar, P Mommsen, D Budge, A Baum, M Watt, H Aslam, R Routray, A Evan, C Gosain, P Ross.
Western Warriors: C Young capt, N Smith, M English, N Flack, M Awais, A Shahzad, O Shah, C de Lange, A Sabri, S McElnea, H Tahir, G Smith, M Rao.
Also on Sunday at New Williamfield, Stirling the Women's Regional Series also commences with a 50 over contest between Rest of Scotland v East (12 Noon Start) in a revamp of the competition that will prove crucial in a year when the National team begin their ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifying campaign.
While the ‘Rest of Scotland’ squad have several players unavailable for the competition opener on Sunday they still boast a number of players involved in the National Team set up.
In the opener in order to allow as many girls as possible to be involved on the day each team will have the option of fielding a batting XI and a fielding XI from their squad of 12.
New Women's Head Coach Steve Knox see's the regional series as a key ingredient to success at the top level. After taking up his new role in the spring he explained "As Wildcats coach I’m keen to see the Regional series develop over the next couple of years and establish itself as an important step in the pathway for Women’s cricket in Scotland. The way I see it the Regional Series fulfils several functions. It gives the current Wildcats players the opportunity to showcase why they’re in the team at the moment. At the same time it also allows players who have moved out of the Scotland Under 17 set up in the last couple of seasons an opportunity to push their case for higher honours by playing with and against the best players in the country and putting in some consistent performances"
"Finally it provides a platform for any stand out performers from within the current Scotland Under 17 set up an opportunity to play with and against the senior internationalists, to learn from them and accelerate their own development"
Rest of Scotland: A Aitken capt (Stirling CCC), I Couttie (Huntly CC), L Grant (Huntly CC), L Jack w/k (Stirling CCC), M McColl (Arbroath Utd CC). L Priddle (Fochabers CC), A Pritchard (Elgin CC), R Ryan (Dumfries CC), R Scholes (Stirling CCC), E Watson (Prestwick CC), L Wilkinson (Stirling CCC)
East: K Bryce capt (GWC), A Baldwin (Watsonian CC), S Bryce w/k (GWC), A Drummond (Carlton CC), K McGill (Carlton CC), C Ormiston (Gala CC), R Patel (Watsonian CC), O Rae (Carlton CC), J Scully (Carlton CC), L Stiendl (Carlton CC), N Wheeler (Ferguslie CC), R Willis (Carlton CC)