The 2021 Cricket Scotland Women’s Premier League has its first centurion in Emma Walsingham, who reached three figures in Stewart’s Melville’s commanding win over George Watson’s College last Sunday. It continued what has been an excellent run of form for the young opener, who now tops the batting rankings with 189 runs at an average of 63.
“I was really excited because it was my first hundred,” she enthused. “It was a bit sticky at the start, but I got going and [reached three figures] off seventy balls in the end. Molly Paton then came in and got 46 off twenty-odd, so it was a really good day for us all round.”
With Paton also taking a hat-trick in her remarkable 5 for 1 with the ball and skipper Catherine Holland carrying her bat for 82, it was an impressive performance from Stew-Mel’s teenaged stars as the Edinburgh side bounced back from its defeat the previous weekend in the best way possible.
“We had a great start to the season against Carlton, but then we were all a bit down after we lost to Watsonians/Grange,” said Emma. “We weren’t on our best form that day, but we were very happy to come back and win on Sunday. We bowled brilliantly and had three good scores with the bat, so we were very pleased.
“We’re looking forward to the next game,” she added. “The whole team is always up for a match, and we can’t wait to go into this one and see what we can do.”
Emma’s reputation as one of Scotland’s brightest young talents continues to grow. In addition to her experience in the national age-group set-up and in regional cricket with the Eagles, the fifteen-year-old made her debut for Scotland ‘A’ at the start of the summer, scoring 19 not out then 15 in the Vitality Women’s County T20 double-header against the North Representative Women’s XI at Leyland. Now a part of the senior Wildcats training group, she is relishing the opportunity it has provided to develop her skills even further.
“It all stemmed from the Scotland Under-17s and some Academy games we had as well,” she said. “I was asked to go to a training weekend, and then on the trip to La Manga [as a COVID reserve for the Ireland series, later postponed], which I was really excited about. I’ve been in training with the Wildcats recently, and I think I’ve grown a lot in myself as well as in my cricket because of it.”
The reigning champions will look for more of the same against Dumfries & Galloway, who will be hopeful of mounting a recovery of their own after going down by seven wickets to table-topping Carlton last weekend. The Grange Loan club was in fine form again as D&G was bowled out for just 84, Hannah Rainey and Ashley Robertson taking two wickets and Maisie Maciera 5 for 14 – her first five-fer for the side – at Gatehouse of Fleet. With two games left to play, Carlton has an eight-point advantage over second-placed Royal High Corstorphine – neither of the remaining matches will be straightforward, but capital side will be content to have its fate in its own hands.
The first of those games comes against West of Scotland, who won a thrilling encounter with RHC at New Williamfield. Nayma Shaikh proved to be the match-winner as WoS chased down their opponents’ total of 162-4 with four balls to spare to claim victory in what was the team’s first match of the season.
Ikra Farooq had put RHC in pole position with a stylish knock of 61 not out, but West’s reply hit the ground running, a fine innings of 42 from Abtaha Maqsood making up for the early loss of Ellen Watson (19). The real star of the show was Shaikh, however, who anchored the chase through a half-century of terrific poise and maturity, ably assisted by some quick-fire hitting from Neha Mahatma (24) towards the end. By the time Shaikh departed to a fine catch by Farooq, the victory was assured: the battle between West’s batters and Carlton’s always-impressive bowling attack will be a fascinating one indeed.
The third match of the weekend sees Watsonians/Grange take on winless George Watson’s College at Myreside, with the former hoping to build on their victory over Stew-Mel last time out. The young GWC side has been unfortunate to come up against some strong opposition this year, but their central core of talent including Emily Tucker, Gaby Fontenla, Nina Whitaker and Emily Tait has still provided plenty of cause for future optimism.
But as the final run-in begins, it is events in those matches at the top of the table which will be most revealing. While RHC sit out this weekend, their thoughts will already be turning to the next, when Carlton visit Barnton for what will be their last game of the campaign. What happens on Sunday at Grange Loan will be crucial in determining the significance of that one, but those in Inverleith, too, will be watching proceedings with considerable interest.
Women’s Premier League – 20 June 2021
Carlton v McCrea West of Scotland (at Grange Loan)
Watsonians/Grange v George Watson’s College (at Myreside)
Stewart’s Melville v Dumfries & Galloway (at Inverleith)
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