The players who were involved in three days of cricket for the Men’s Performance Academy against the Australian touring EMUs at Ayr’s New Cambusdoon ground will have learnt a lot from the experience.
That is the view of National Performance Coach Toby Bailey who watched the team lose out in two 50-over-a-side clashes last Tuesday and Wednesday and then edge a T20 match on Thursday.
Batting first in the opening 50-over meeting, three of the Performance Academy’s top five got starts, but could not go on to make 50.
Mazars Grange’s James Dickinson (53) did make a half century batting at seven though and Jack Hogarth of ion8 Forfarshire with 32 batting at eight helped the side post 217 all out.
Hamza Tahir of Sunderland did take 2-30 in a tidy spell, but three EMUs batsmen made half centuries as they reached their victory target off 39.1 overs to win by five wickets.
Their batsmen carried on where they had left off the next day when they posted 290-7 batting first, Adil Ghaffar the pick of the Performance Academy’s attack with 2-53 from his 10 overs.
After losing a wicket early, Forfarshire’s Calum Garden and Grange teenager Tom Mackintosh were flying along in the reply before the former fell for 52 in the 11thover.
Mackintosh then followed him back to the pavilion for 34 and things began to stutter.
In the end the Performance Academy were all out for 197 to lose by 97 runs.
The next day Garden was back in the early runs again, plundering 42 from 17 balls as the Performance Academy batted first in a T20 match.
Rain stopped play after 10 overs and with Mackintosh also out for 26 they were well set on 88-2.
In the end they posted 144-7 from their 20 overs and, in reply, the EMUs looked to be on track for a hat-trick of positive results as they needed 25 off the last three overs with five wickets to play with.
Ihtisham Malik bowled a great last over though and the Performance Academy restricted the visitors to 143-5 to win by one run.
After the three matches Bailey said: “I think in the end over the three days the factor that swung things in their favour was the experience that they had, but it was a great opportunity for some of our younger guys to play 50-over and T20 cricket against a good touring side.
“It was good to see players who had been in the Scotland ‘A’ team the week before have the chance to really step-up in leadership roles while it also gave the next batch of guys who are just outside of the ‘A’ squad the chance to show what they can do.
“For example, Adil Ghaffar has been down south for a period studying and he really did well with the ball while a lot of batters got in and got good starts, but then could not kick on and turn those useful runs into match winning knocks.
“That is something which needs to be worked on and at times we still have to be clearer with or game plan as certain matches progress.
“This level of cricket is all about learning though and now the guys will be going away and working on the things learnt from this batch of games and then they will come together again as the Performance Academy to take on Yorkshire’s Academy in a few weeks time.”
This week’s pathways cricket:
Tuesday, June 25: NUSC v Scotland under-19 (50-overs, Norton Sports Village, 10.30am)
Wednesday, June 26: NUSC v Scotland under-19 (50-overs, Billingham CC, 10.30am)
Sunday, June 30: Men’s Regional Development Series, Caledonian Highlanders v Western Warriors (50-overs, Strathmore, 11am)
Sunday, June 30: Women’s Regional under-16 Series, Caledonian Highlanders v Western Warriors (30-overs, Clackmannan, 12noon)