In the latest of this season’s Thursday features, Gary Heatly catches up with Ollie Picken from Penicuik CC…
Stuart & Stuart Penicuik CC’s first XI have won six out of six in ESCA Division One and their second XI have won six from seven in ESCA Division Six, so it is perhaps unsurprising that there is a feelgood factor around Kirkhill these days.
It is now 13 years since Penicuik had their amazing run to the Scottish Cup final when they were beaten by Ferguslie and a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then.
Players have come and gone and at one stage a few years ago Penicuik decided to step down the leagues to rebuild.
One thing that has not changed though is that Penicuik is very much a community club that promotes young talent in the Midlothian area – and that is definitely being seen this summer.
Take first XI skipper Ollie Picken for example, the university student is just 19, but has been tasked with leading the top team and is doing a fine job.
“A number of the guys now playing in the senior first and second XIs have come through the youth set-up at the club, so we know each other well and that helps when we take to the field,” local lad Picken, whose dad encouraged him to take up the game when he was younger, said.
“Having missed pretty much a full season of cricket in 2020, the numbers at nets were encouraging as the 2021 season edged closer and when the games started we were able to regularly put out two league XIs which was great.
“Since then both teams have been in good form, in the first XI there have been some games where we have perhaps not performed to our best and have had to dig deep for the wins, but the pleasing thing has been that everyone has chipped in at different times and played their part.
“It is good to see the seconds going well too while our junior section gives lots of local children a chance to learn the game and there are a number of volunteers who put in a lot of work to keep that ticking over.
“We are not really thinking about winning leagues, there is a long way to go, but if we keep enjoying our cricket and playing for each other then hopefully both senior sides can have a good end to the campaign.”
The fighting spirit Picken alluded to was on show last weekend when the first team were bowled out for just 113 by Watsonians II batting first at Kirkhill.
The bowlers were then on top form to bowl ‘Sonians out for just 93 in reply and keep the team unbeaten in the league after a 20-run triumph.
This coming Saturday, Picken’s men face a top of the Division One table clash away at second placed Linlithgow while, in Division Six, there is also a meeting of the top two.
Second placed Penicuik host unbeaten leaders Bass Rock from North Berwick.