Summer Cricket in the Borders
This summer has seen a concerted effort from all the Borders clubs, and the Junior Development Group, to really grow the cricket offering for young players in the region.
A key development to kick-start the summer, was the appointment of Rory Banks as the Community Coach for the region. Rory`s remit was to deliver a targeted coaching programme with local schools linked to each of the clubs committed to the development programme – Hawick, Kelso, Selkirk, Manderston, St Boswells, Melrose and Gala. Rory delivered excellent sessions at 18 primary schools to over 500 kids, along with coordinating school festivals in conjunction with each club to provide these youngsters with a great playing opportunity. This was very successful and we`ve seen an increase in the number of kids moving into junior sections across the region.
There was also the reinstatement of club kwik cricket festivals across the region to give our youngsters regular playing opportunities throughout the summer. Each club has hosted a festival that has incorporated round robin fixtures but also offered things for parents and siblings to get involved with and really promote our clubs as great community places. These festivals have been extremely successful and the improvement over the summer of the kids involved has been impressive.
Some of the other highlights over the summer include:
- Hawick CC and their outstanding Primary Schools Kwik Cricket Competition. This year saw a record 14 school teams playing every Saturday morning in May/June at the club. The work done by Allan Moffat and his team in running this competition and coaching in the local schools is exceptional.
- Kelso CC with around 40 juniors attending their sessions each week and the improvement of their many young kwik cricketers. It has also been encouraging to see the progression from junior to senior cricket at the club with many younger members’ now key members of the Kelso first team.
- Gala CC and their well organised set up that continue to produce highly skilled cricketers. They had 5 young coaches take part in the ICC Introduction to Cricket Course and they all help with the junior coaching and act as great role models. The club is definitely reaping the benefits from the variations in sessions they deliver.
- Melrose CC and the fantastic turnout and club spirit at their junior sessions. They have been running Nippers, Tigers and U14 sections with over 50 youngsters involved in the junior section. The club ran a fantastic kwik cricket festival, Friday night `cricket night` event, and have also put 10 parents through an ICC Introduction to Cricket Course.
- Selkirk and St Boswells working together to have a joint U14 team for the league competition. Both these clubs have also worked hard at re-establishing their kwik cricket section and encouraging kids down to the club.
- Melrose Primary School and their top 4 finish in the National Primary Schools Kwik Cricket finals. This is a great achievement and just reward for the excellent work done by Jill Robertson and the coaches at Melrose Primary School and Club.
ICC Introduction to Cricket courses held at Selkirk HS, Melrose CC and St Boswells CC that have seen 28 volunteers up-skill so they can more effectively deliver cricket at their clubs
The U14 League has seen teams from Gala, Hawick, Melrose, Kelso, Manderston, and St Boswells/Selkirk taking part on Wednesday evenings. There have been some fantastic games and performances over the season and it looks as though a strong Hawick team will run away with the competition. It should also be mentioned that the league has had its challenges with a number of matches affected by weather but also some defaults. With all the great work happening at kwik cricket level and many clubs thriving at this level, there`s no doubt that the improvement of the U14 League will become a focus for the development group in the future.
To finish off the summer for the juniors there is still a kwik cricket festival to be held at Kelso CC on Sunday 10th August, and Gala CC will be hosting the final festival on Sunday 24th August and put up for grabs the Rowan Boland Memorial Trophy as a great finale to the season.
Now into the third year in the East Leagues, Borders teams continue to improve and develop in the new league structure. Gala and St Boswells, after a shaky start in division 1, have more than held their own with Gala currently sitting 3rd and St Boswells 9th. Both sides will be looking for a strong finish to the season.
Kelso will be looking to join Gala and St Boswells in the first division next season. Having been promoted from division 3 last year, they are sitting second in division 2 by only 2 points, and look very strong contenders for promotion.
Selkirk is also looking for their third promotion in a row. They currently sit at the top of division 4 and will hope they can continue their form and step up to the next level.
In division 5, Peebles sit in 7th and look comfortable in maintaining their status in that division for next year. While in division 6, Hawick (5th) and Melrose (8th) have consolidated their positions in this division and will surely be looking for promotion in the coming seasons, especially as their talented juniors start to come through and gain more experience.
There`s no doubt that the move to the ESCA leagues has been good for the Borders clubs and their competitiveness in the leagues has been very encouraging. Hopefully this can be maintained and in conjunction with all the great work going on at junior level, the future can only be bright for Borders cricket.