Let the season begin!
Unlike many other sports, cricket is very much a seasonal weather dependent sport.
In the UK, we only play it from of end of April through to the beginning of September, meaning our competition season is just about to begin. However, if you are lucky enough you can go abroad during winter and continue to play it in various countries such as Australia, New Zealand or South Africa.
On the weather dependant aspect, the rain stops play. Therefore, if for example we were to travel to one of our matches all the way down to Devon and it rained on the day we were supposed to play, then the match would be called off or abandoned. This can be very annoying at times, especially if you had previously spent the day before traveling for more than 10 hours in a mini bus.
In 2015, our competition season didn’t really finish until December, because I mentioned in a previous blog we were playing out in the T20 World Cup Qualifiers in Bangkok, Thailand. Due to having difficulty getting time off teaching placement, I had to fly out by myself to Bangkok a week later than the rest of the Scotland squad meaning I missed the warm-up week before the tournament began. A 29-hour journey by myself is not something that I wish to do again!
The tournament was split into 2 groups. In Group A was Scotland (us), Thailand, Papa New Guinea, and Bangladesh. In Group B was Ireland, China, Netherlands, and Zimbabwe. In the group stages, we placed second, after beating Thailand and Papa New Guinea but losing to Bangladesh. This meant we were through to the semi-finals but were playing for a place in the final (and a qualification spot for the world cup) against our rivals Ireland who came top of their group.
Unfortunately, things just didn’t go our way on the day and Ireland beat us meaning we narrowly lost out on qualifying for the T20 World Cup in India in March 2016. Gutted was an understatement, especially knowing just how close we had come to qualifying! This meant we played Zimbabwe (who lost to Bangladesh in their semi-final match) in the decider for 3rd and 4th place for the tournament. Again, this was a very close match and off the final ball, Zimbabwe defeated us. Although this was a disappointing result, it was a great achievement for our team to have been able to reach this far and come overall 4th in our first global tournament.
So what’s coming up what is there to look forward to in the summer season for us?
First, up we have our English County Championships (ECB) 50 over league and T20 league which starts in a few weeks and takes place throughout the whole summer. In these, we play under the name the ‘Wildcats’ and will play other counties that also compete in Division 3.
Later in July, we have ICC (International Cricket Council) European Qualifiers series against Netherlands. This will take place in the format of 50 over matches and T20 matches. Winning that series is crucial if we want to qualify for the World Cup Qualifiers again next year!
And another important milestone I am personally looking forward to is achieving my 50th Cap for Scotland in 4 more games time! So, although our season hasn’t really started yet, there are lots to look forward to in the next few months!