Once again Cricket Scotland is indebted to its sponsors at Citylets, ScotRail, Cricket Factory and, of course, the Gannochy Trust and Stirling County Cricket Club, for another successful week of schools’ cricket.
Sadly, the three girls only events scheduled on opening Monday at Stirling County’s New Williamsfield ground, have been postponed and will be re-run on 4 September.
Notwithstanding the weather down the A9 although not bathed in sunshine for the remainder of the week, the Perth Doo’cot ground played uninterrupted cricket from ball one at 10am on Tuesday morning through to the final delivery at around 2pm on Thursday afternoon.
Before that first ball was bowled it’s worth mentioning the tremendous amount of teamwork that goes into all the events that precede SWoC, as it has become affectionately known and, in modern parlance SWoC17 was no different. Although these are schools’ competitions and wouldn’t take place without the support of staff and pupils alike, much of the work is carried out by volunteers and particularly at crucial times; again, much of this would not happen without the network of Scottish Cricket clubs.
After just 9 years the week now boasts six competitions from the original two, there are now 400+ schools involved – multiply that by the average number of pupils in a Scottish school class and that is a conservative estimate of around 10,000 boys and girls experiencing cricket and, many, for the first time!
13 June – Citylets National Secondary Schools Cup – at Doo’cot Park Perth
Teams from The Glasgow Academy, Glenalmond College, Hutcheson’s Grammar School and Merchiston Castle made up the final four from the 20 schools that entered four regional competitions during April and May.
The two semi-finals took place in the morning with Glenalmond College (72-4) victors over The Glasgow Academy (71-7) by 6 wickets and Merchiston Castle (99-2) beating Hutcheson’s Grammar School (98-9) by 8 wickets.
So, few surprises that ever-present Glenalmond College reached the final where they lost a pulsating final to Merchiston Castle who posted 162-3 and lifted the cup for the second time.
Perhaps the story of the day though belongs to Struan Walker of Hutcheson’s Grammar and sponsors CityLets. Struan top scored in both his teams innings, a very solid 19 but notched-up a match-winning 111* in the third place play-off against city rivals The Glasgow Academy. For these feats and his all-round contribution to the team effort and spirit he received the Citylets Player of the Finals award and a very generous bursary toward equipment and coaching.
14 June – ScotRail Cup (National P6 Primary Schools) – at Doo’cot Park Perth
Once again 16 Primary 6 school teams descended on Doo’cot Park for the, now, ninth staging of this tournament, generously sponsored by ScotRail. Each of the teams made it through to Finals Day from the Area Development Group’s own P6 Schools events most of which took place at club grounds.
The finalists in 2017 were Bridge of Allan PS, Commercial PS, Denholm PS, George Watson’s College, The Glasgow Academy, Hutcheson’s Grammar School, Hythehill PS, Loretto School, Menstrie PS, Milne’s PS, Muirfield PS, Our Lady of the Mission PS, Rosebank PS, St Boswells PS, Starthallan School, Timmergreens PS
Once again each team had to field at least three girls and, as in previous years, the girls competed just as ably and often better than the boys. Played to the familiar and very popular 8-a-side pairs format with Kwik cricket equipment and the infamous tee-ball this years participants noticed that the boundaries were considerably less generous than in previous years. So, after a morning of group games (four teams in each group, play each other once) and lunch-time challenges (for all 160 pupils!) the winners of each group played each other as did runnersup, third an fourth place to establish the final standings for 2017.
Hythehill Primary School from Lossiemouth joined the three fee-paying schools of George Watsons College, Loretto School and Strathallan School in the semi-finals. Loretto School were comfortable winners in both Semi-Final and Final, the latter against previous winners George Watsons. AND no the larger boundaries did not deter the big hitters!
Lunchtime Challenge winners:
30 Second Crazy Catch Challenge – Florence (Denholm PS)
Bat Tap – Joel (Timmergreens PS)
Furthest Throw – Brodie (Milne’s PS)
High Catch – Ben (George Watson’s College)
Longest Hit (from a tee) – Alexander (Strathallan School)
15 June – Cricket Factory BIG BLAST! – at Doo’cot Park Perth
The week is constantly evolving and no more so in the BIG BLAST! This year eight teams from each of the four regional finals took part in BIG BLAST! Finals Day. Such is the growing popularity of this format that twenty secondary schools across Scotland took part in the regional qualifying events with a further ten or so that couldn’t commit to competing.
The finalists for 2017 were Elgin High School, Hermitage Academy, Holy Rood High School, Larbert High School, Milne’s High School, Monifieth High School, St Ninian’s High School and Trinity Academy,
The eight teams were divided into two groups and played the 8-a-side pairs format with the striking difference to the primary school’s event that there are no boundaries (you MUST run everything!) and three Ultimate Scoring Zones at Point, Square Leg and behind the bowler; striking the ball through these (and running) awards the batter with an extra 10 runs.
After the group games Trinity Academy and Holy Rood High School lined-up for the seventh-place play-off, Larbert HS (last year’s winners) and Monifieth HS for fifth-place, Milne’s HS and St Ninian’s HS for third place with Elgin High School and Hermitage Academy lining-up in the final.
The format was developed to give batters a chance to express themselves and to encourage run-scoring yet it was Elgin High School’s miserly and devilishly accurate bowling that meant, despite posting a low score, won them the title.
St Ninian’s beat Milne’s into third place, Larbert HS were fifth and Trinity Academy seventh.
Summing-up ahead of his third presentation ceremony in as many days Neil Cameron, Cricket Scotland’s SWoK17’s coordinator highlighted the contributions of all those who make junior cricket possible ‘without them we wouldn’t have events like these or club cricket or indeed a national team capable of beating a test-playing nation. The week has been a tremendous team effort and whilst area and regional players continue to grace these tournaments I look forward to the day when a former P6 cricket finalist pulls on a Scotland jersey and lead’s his/her team out on the field as captain. But the week is about so much more than that, it is essentially about three things juniors playing cricket in the right atmosphere, fun and fun.’
Undaunted by the Scottish weather SWoC17 will conclude in Stirling on Monday 4 September, perhaps the enforced break will mean the twenty teams that registered for 12 June will increase further.
National Secondary Schools Cup
Winners :Merchiston Castle School
Second: Glenalmond College
Third: Hutcheson’s Grammar School
Fourth: The Glasgow Academy
(National P6 Primary Schools Cup)
Winners: Loretto School
Runner’s up: George Watson’s College
Third: Strathallan School
Fourth: Hythehill PS
Fifth: The Glasgow Academy
Sixth: Milne’s PS
Seventh: Hutcheson’s Grammar School
Eighth: Our Lady of the Mission PS
Nineth: Timmergreens PS
10th: Rosebank PS
11th: St Boswells PS
12th: Bridge of Allan PS
13th: Denholm PS
14th: Muirfield PS
15th: Menstrie PS
16th: Commercial PS
Cricket Factory Cup
(National Emerging Schools Cup)
Winners: Elgin High School
Runners up: Hermitage Academy
Third: St Ninian’s High School
Fourth: Milne’s High School
Fifth: Larbert High School
Sixth: Monifieth High School
Seventh: Trinity Academy
Eighth: Holy Rood High School