The women of Stirling County CC have enjoyed many successes so far this season, not only for club, but for region and country!
With the ongoing restructuring of the women’s game in Scotland, SCCC ladies once again formed the core of the Western Allsorts - a team comprised of players from across the country. In doing so, this has enabled eight Stirling players to showcase their skills in the Cricket Scotland Women's Premier League, where they faced off against the best female cricketers in the country.
The Allsorts’ campaign got off to an explosive start away at Royal High Corstorphine, which saw a mammoth 475 runs scored between both teams. Having been put into bat by the home side, captain Charlotte Dalton of SCCC carried her bat for an unbeaten 159* (scoring her maiden 50, 100 and 150 in one innings!) to guide the Allsorts to 237-5 from their 30 overs. In remarkable fashion, RHC chased down the required runs with 13 balls to spare to complete a 6 wicket victory, mainly thanks to a rapid 115 from 60 balls from opening bat Kitty Levenson. While the Allsorts were disappointed not to have been able to defend their score, the game was a fantastic advert for women’s cricket, setting social media alight with both team’s display of power hitting.
With Carlton conceding the subsequent fixture, the West side were next in action in Dumfries against the Edinburgh South-Stewart’s Melville side. Four SCCC players took to the pitch on this occasion with Catherine Berrill, Erin Leslie and Shelly McGhee appearing for the Allsorts, while Iona Lowry played for the team from the East, where she is also part of the Cricket Performance Academy. The East side’s combination of youth and experience, including former internationalist Kathryn White and Australian overseas player Hannah Short, proved too strong for the Allsorts, who lost by 37 runs. Lowry was the pick of SCCC bowlers on show, with figures of 4-0-9-1.
In what turned out to be the Allsorts’ final game of the competition (Watsonians conceded the final match), the young West side put on a strong performance to beat George Watson’s College at New Williamfield. Catherine Berrill, Iona Lowry, Caitlin Lowry, Kristy Reynolds, Shelly McGhee and Fiore Grant represented SCCC on their home ground, with the ‘County Dogs’ batters setting the tone. Wicket keeper Catherine Berrill hit 27 in the first wicket stand of 125 (Dumfries’s Orla Montgomery scored 84), along with 14 from Iona Lowry and 4 from Reynolds to help the Allsorts to 150 from their 30 overs. GWC battled hard in their innings, managing to take the game to the last over but were unable to get over the line, scoring 146-8 from their 30. Stirling’s Fiore Grant (2-0-17-0) and Iona Lowry (6-1-24-2) contributed with the ball. Club cricket will now take a break until August, when the Beyond Boundaries Women’s Scottish Cup gets underway.
Cricket Scotland Women's Premier League 2018 highlights:
- C Dalton: 3rd highest run scorer (159* from 1 innings), highest strike rate (159.00).
- I Lowry: most wickets taken (162 balls for 91 runs, 6 maidens, 8 wickets at an average of 11.37. Economy of 3.37. Best of 2-7.)
The success SCCC players experienced in the domestic league resulted in call ups to senior and age-group regional squads. Caitlin Lowry, Iona Lowry and Niamh Robertson-Jack represented the U16 Western Warriors, while Charlotte Dalton joined SCCC stalwarts Lorna Jack, Lois Wilkinson and Rachel Scholes in the Stormers women’s regional set up.
Success for the SCCC representatives at regional level was mirrored in the Wildcats ‘A’ squad, where all 4 Stirling seniors competed in the ECB Division 3 50 over competition, contributing across all disciplines and just narrowly missing out on promotion playoffs.
With the Women’s World T20 Global Qualifiers approaching, the focus of the senior players turned to securing their selection for the Wildcats national squad. Having worked hard throughout the year (including many hours in the gym at the instruction of Wildcats strength & conditioning coach Charlotte Dalton), Lorna Jack and Rachel Scholes were rewarded with places in the national team. Preparation for the Global Qualifiers came in the form of the ECB T20 Division 2 competition, which would serve as a tough challenge to the Wildcats, having been promoted from the Division 3 at the end of the 2017 season. Once again, all 4 senior SCCC players were involved in the domestic T20 campaign, including a first cap for Charlotte Dalton. Significant contributions from Jack, Scholes and Wilkinson with bat, ball and in the field helped steer the Wildcats to 7 wins from 8 games and were on course for promotion to Division 1. Agonisingly, promotion escaped the Scottish team as a surprise win for Wales against league leaders Hampshire saw both teams elevated to the top flight in place of Scotland. Nevertheless, a fantastic series of results were able to provide much-needed momentum going into the international fixtures.
With the Women’s World T20 Global Qualifiers now underway (July 7-14th 2018) in the Netherlands, everyone at SCCC sends their best wishes to the Wildcats who face off against Uganda, Ireland and Thailand in Group B. The top 2 teams from each group progress to the semi-finals and the resulting finalists will automatically qualify to the ICC Women’s World T20 competition held in the West Indies in November.
SCCC are always looking for new players, regardless of how much (or little!) experience you may have. Training takes place on Friday evenings from 6.30pm. We’re a fun and friendly group and cater for all ages and abilities.
Welcome to our second article in a series that aims to bring everyone up-to-date on the progress of the club’s various teams this season. In part one we focused on the exploits of the 1st XI in league and cup campaigns. In this second article we focus on the remaining senior teams: the 2nd, Sunday and Wednesday XIs.
Going into the Western Union’s third tier, where relegation and promotion are a possibility, was always going to make for a tough challenge for the 2nd XI - and so it has proved. With the exception of two victories over fellow strugglers Anniesland (one that was conceded and a comprehensive victory last week – more on that later) the 2nd XI have failed to win another game and have had to endure some chastening defeats. There have been some narrow defeats as well, however, with the 1-wicket defeat to Galloway 1st XI being a particularly cruel defeat.
As suggested above, special note should be made of the 2nd XI’s most recent match against the struggling Anniesland, in which the team produced a performance that will surely live long in the memory and place many a club record under threat. Batting first at New Anniesland, the 2nd XI racked up the mammoth total of 461 for 4. If such a huge total has been bettered in the past by the club’s 2nd (or, indeed, any) eleven, such a performance has long since vacated living memory. Unsurprisingly for such a mammoth team total, there were a few outstanding individual scores. The two standout scores were compiled by Akash Rawal and Ian Shaw, who scored 187 and 132* respectively. The team completed the rout by bowling out the hapless Anniesland for a meager 97 and, in doing so, completing a totally dominant 364 run victory!
Sunday and Wednesday XIs
Both the Sunday and Wednesday XIs have continued to offer opportunities for the development of both young and old cricketers alike, doing so in a more relaxed environment. In keeping with the goals of both teams, opportunities have been given to juniors and more inexperienced cricketers to help develop their skills and take on a more central role in the make-up of the team than might be offered on a Saturday. Such an approach has proved successful, with several notable and match-winning performances coming from these less experienced players.
The Sunday XI currently sit mid-table in the SDCU West Development league, having won 2 and lost 2 of their 4 games played thus far, while the Wednesday XI have witnessed a recent surge up the West Stirlingshire evening league, having recovered from a sluggish start to win the last four games on the bounce.
Now that we've passed the half-way point in a roller coaster 2018 cricket season that has given us plenty of excitement, joy, heartache, some tense finishes and, amazingly, plenty of that rarest of beasts: the Scottish sun! I’m sure most have been keeping up with this season’s exciting events via our Twitter feed and Facebook page, but for those who haven’t been following events too closely, we have provided a brief summary of the season’s events so far. This first article will cover the exploits of the club’s 1st XI, with a subsequent article to follow which will bring everyone up to date with how the rest of the club has fared in 2018.
First XI – League
There were many questions facing the 1st XI as they returned to the top flight of the Western Union for the first time for half a decade. Not least of these concerned the newly promoted side’s ability to compete with the stronger opposition found in the Premier League and some may have harboured serious doubts concerning the team’s chances of avoiding immediate relegation back down to the division from which they battled so hard to escape. With one game of the current season’s second half now played, and with Stirling occupying 5th place on 60%, we can now definitively say that the County players can more than compete at this level, while any doubts about their ability to avoid relegation seem, at this stage at least, completely unfounded!
The 1st XI began their 2018 campaign with what could only be described as a shock victory over last year’s grand final winners Prestwick. Since this stunning opening victory, the ‘County Dogs’ have had a slightly turbulent time of it. Three disappointing and heavy defeats (to runaway league leaders Ferguslie, Clydesdale and Poloc respectively) have been offset by three vital victories against Ayr, West of Scotland and, most recently, against Prestwick for a second time.
Undoubtedly the most exciting league game of 2018 for Stirling was the home tie against Dumfries. Seemingly cruising to Dumfries’s target of 237, the County run chase was halted by Mother Nature, with the players first being forced off the field due to lightening before a heavy downpour further delayed the game. When play was eventually resumed, Stirling was set a revised target of over 70 runs from just 10 overs. With wickets falling at regular intervals as the County batsmen tried, seemingly in vain, to keep up with the rate, all seemed lost. All seemed lost, that is, until Tom Jones brought Stirling back from the brink with some ferocious hitting that made possible a most unlikely of victories. Unfortunately, a Stirling win was not to be as, needing just one run for victory off the final ball, Rukman Hewage missed a wide delivery to ensure that honours were shared after a remarkable day of cricket.
All this means that the team are well placed in the league and, with the threat of relegation all but extinguished, it now remains to be seen whether or not Stirling can build on their promising 1st half of the season. While a tilt at the league title is likely beyond the realms of the possible, there is no reason why the boys from New Williamfield can’t look to consolidate their position in the top half and maybe even push for a top 3 finish.
First XI – Cups
Plenty of excitement was to be found in the first XI’s various cup adventures in 2018. In the Scottish Cup Stirling followed a comfortable first round win at Edinburgh Academicals with a one-sided home defeat to East League big boys Heriots. Batting first, Heriots were in desperate trouble and looked likely to post an easily reachable target. However, some gritty and determined lower order batting allowed the visitors to reach 217 all out. Stirling never looked like reaching this target once the Heriots openers blew away the Stirling top and middle order and were eventually bowled out for the meager total of 82. Louis Ware was the only Stirling batsmen to reach double figures, scoring an impressively gritty 39.
If Stirling’s form in the league and Scottish Cup has been up and down, their form in the Rowan T20 cup has been anything but. Stirling made serene progress through the first three rounds, with the 40-run victory over perennial rivals Ayr – in which the County batsmen blasted 181 runs in their innings – a particular highlight. In the next round, a semi-final tie away to the always dangerous Uddingston, Stirling managed to sneak over the line when chasing the home side’s modest total of 97. A late order collapse, during which the visitors managed to lose 5 wickets after the runs required was whittled down to under 10, certainly didn’t help the nerves of the Stirling players and supporters, but the underdogs eventually emerged victorious by the solitary wicket and, in doing so, booked their place in the final. This match will be played at Shawholm on July 12th against Kelbourne, with the winner getting a chance to place in the grand final at the end of the season!
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