The Tilney Regional Series gets underway this weekend with the Eastern Knights, the Caledonian Highlanders and the Western Warriors set to battle it out on two fronts over Scotland’s summer.
The three regions – filled with the best players from the Scottish national team and the club game – will contest numerous fixtures between late-April and mid-August at cricket grounds up and down the country.
At the end of it all, champions will be crowned in the Tilney Pro50 and the T20 Blitz, but regional cricket is about much more than just two trophies.
They are the competitions where club players are rewarded for their domestic form by earning call-ups and with so much cricket to come this summer, involvement at a regional level will give those picked a real chance to impress Scotland’s National Men’s Coach, Shane Burger.
So, expect to see competitive, exciting and dynamic cricket in the Tilney men’s Regional Series in 2019!
Let’s meet the runners and riders…
Head Coach: Steve Gilmour
Captain: Andrew Brock
The Knights won the double in 2018 and deservedly so, but they know that the Highlanders and the Warriors are going to come at them harder in 2019 in a bid to knock them off their perch.
Their head coach Steve Gilmour, who is assisted by former Scotland batsman Fraser Watts, said “I expect the Regional Series in both formats to be very keenly fought this year and with Scotland games coming up soon I would expect the early games to be seen by the guys as battle for selection. It’s going to be pretty interesting.
“There is also the Euro T20 Slam to come later in the summer so with that in mind, things will be cranked up another notch in a Regional Series which already hit good levels last year.
“Last year we saw a number of players come out from the club game and stake their claim for Knights places and a couple of guys really took that chance well. Hopefully others can do the same this year.
“I have heard that the Highlanders and the Warriors have trained well this winter so we know that every game is going to be tough.”
Head coach: Craig Wallace
Captain: Michael Leask
The Highlanders now have Scotland wicketkeeper-batsman Craig Wallace heading up the coaching with his ion8 Forfarshire team mate Michael Leask as skipper.
They can pull in players from a wide geographical area and in their recent Select XI friendly versus St Andrews University at Largo, they had players involved from no fewer than six clubs.
Highlanders team manager, Kenny Crichton, said “I think the regional programme in the Caledonia area has really come on in the last couple of years and it allows the Scotland players to keep playing at a good level all summer and allows up-and-coming players or consistent club performers to dip their toe in and see what it is like at a slightly higher level.
“With the Euro T20 Slam also on the horizon I think this will be the highest quality Regional Series in a while because every player has something to play for.
“Over the winter the guys have trained well and the great thing is that new faces have put their hands up and said ‘select me’. Seeing new faces coming into regional cricket trying to make a name for themselves is exciting and only strengthens the competition as a whole.”
Head coach: Andy Tennant
Captain: Richie Berrington
Any team led by Scotland legend Richie Berrington and set to feature international batsman Calum MacLeod is likely to be competitive and the Warriors will be looking to have a strong summer.
Warriors team manager, Colin Mitchell, said “The Regional Series has been growing nicely over the last couple of years and the wider cricketing community has begun to really see the importance of this level of cricket.
“It is about trying to replicate the standards and expectations above this level within our Warriors structure so that when players make the move into the Scotland ‘A’ team and the international team, they are ready for the challenges that await them.
“Within the Warriors set-up we have tried to create a set of values and a set of behaviours that will serve the team and individuals well going forwards.
“And with some quality players throughout the senior side we are looking forward to the next few months.”
“Con’s loss will be deeply felt”
Everyone within the game in Scotland was hit hard by the recent passing of Con de Lange – especially the cricket community in the west that he served so well.
He was a key member of the Warriors set-up for a number of years as a player and a coach and Mitchell paid tribute stating “Con’s loss will be deeply felt through the age-grade levels and the senior team within the Warriors because of the impact that he had on anyone that he was involved with.
“That is all to do with the make up of the man, he was someone who was passionate about sport, dedicated, had a level of integrity and had a strength of character which he embodied every time he played whether at club level, regional level or with the national team.
“It didn’t matter whether he was coaching an under-11s player at Clydesdale or working with international team-mates, his focus remained the same and his enthusiasm was infectious.
“He made every player feel important, he had time for everyone and his engagement with them really mattered because he was so highly regarded.
“We will all miss the camaraderie and the humour that he brought to things and the response that there has been to his passing does not surprise me because put simply, he was one of the really good guys and someone we were privileged to know and call a friend.”
The first Tilney men’s Regional Series 50-over match is this Sunday, April 28 at The Grange in Edinburgh when the Eastern Knights host the Western Warriors at noon with free entry. The game is being live-streamed via Cricket Scotland’s YouTube.
The action then continues on Monday, April 29 at the same ground when the Knights take on the Caledonia Highlanders at 11am with free entry.
The full fixture list is available here.