With an average age of just twenty-two, Scotland’s squad for the upcoming Women’s World Cup European Qualifier in La Manga has a distinctly youthful feel.
One of its youngest members is eighteen-year-old Megan McColl, who joins fellow teenagers Charis Scott and Katherine Fraser in the senior team for the first time. The quality and consistency of her performances at club, regional and age-group level could soon culminate in an international cap for the bowling all-rounder, and as she looks forward to her first ICC tournament the excitement she feels at the prospect is clear.
“I’m very honoured to have been given the chance to go out to Spain and see what it’s like to experience an international competition and maybe play some games against international teams,” she said. “I’m very excited about it.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the level of the different countries we are competing against at first hand. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot, just going out there with the team and getting the whole experience of playing international cricket.”
Arbroath-born Megan’s all-round credentials have been very much to the fore this season. After shoring up the Stormers’ innings with a counter-attacking 31 in the opening match of the Women’s Regional Series in April, she took 2 for 13 in the second as her side drew level with the Eagles in Uddingston. Her most eye-catching performance of all, however, came last weekend in the ECB Women’s T20 Championship as Megan took 3 for 5 for the Wildcats against Derbyshire, an achievement which earned her a coveted spot on Twitter account Women’s County Cricket Day’s list of top performers. Tender in years she may be, but her ability, honed over more than a dozen years in the game, is plain to see.
“I started playing when I was quite young – I can’t remember exactly what age I was, maybe six or seven, just doing the softball stuff at Arbroath and playing in Kwik Cricket tournaments and things like that,” she said. “I moved to Australia for a couple of years and played some age-group cricket out there for a while when I was about twelve, thirteen, and then came back here.
“I’m now playing at second team level for Arbroath in the Strathmore Union, which is against other club’s first teams as well as other second elevens. Along with the regional stuff I’ve also been involved with the Under-17s and Performance Academy this year too.
“Away from cricket, I’ve just finished school so now I’m waiting on my results to see what happens next,” she added. “I’m hopefully off to Edinburgh Napier next year to do Sport and Exercise Science if I get the conditions.”
For the moment, though, Megan’s thoughts are firmly on La Manga, where Scotland will play the Netherlands and Germany for a place in the Global Qualifier for the fifty-over Women’s World Cup. The threat posed by the Netherlands is well-known, and although Germany, who are appearing in their first ICC competition, will be more of an unknown quantity, Megan’s experience of playing against them for Scotland’s Under-21s in Galashiels last year adds a useful knowledge-base to what is already a well-balanced group.
“The squad is quite mixed age-wise but we are all at a level which is pretty high,” said Megan. “Katherine, for example, is a very good player for someone so young. The balance between us all is good and we’ve all got different experiences and the younger ones in Katherine, Charis and myself will obviously benefit from the experience of those who have played international cricket already.
“On a personal level, I really want to perform well in the Europeans,” she concluded. “To have a chance of playing in the Globals would be amazing. That would be a huge honour and is obviously my goal.
“To be able to play in front of the home crowd in Scotland against teams that are that next step up in level would be incredible.”