A QUINTET of Borders under-15 squad players that so narrowly missed out on the Eastern Inter-area Championships last year have been part of the eastern region development centre since October, and have been put through their paces, developing and honing their skills.
The narrow defeat, in true Borders fashion, spurred all of them to achieve bigger and better things for club, region and now country.
Josh Irvine and Elliot Ruthven have both opened the batting regularly for their club’s 1st XIs and played a significant role in both eastern region junior representative teams (the academy and development centre) – Josh as captain and Elliot with bat and ball.
Both Richard Taylor and Tom Galbraith have also made significant club contributions, with Tom, in particular, grabbing the headlines with a Border League 99 for Kelso. Recently-selected Richard Adams has earned his call-up because of a string of half-centuries and bowling performances for Penicuik.
All players have deserved their selection not just because of their quality, but on the back of a great deal of hard work and commitment to their game.
However, last week against Northumberland in the ECB Under-15s County Championship, Tom and Richard earned their national colours when selected to play for Scotland Under-15s.
It was Galbraith’s first cap and Taylor’s second and, notably, the third Manderston CC player to earn a call-up in for a Scotland age group cap (Alec Simm was the first for Scotland Under-17s in 2010).
In the Northumberland game, in which Scotland fought hard to gain a tie from a game that was all but lost, Taylor top-scored and saved his team-mates blushes with a typically hard-hitting aggressive 50.
This week, the pair travel down to Herefordshire and Shropshire for the next leg.
Borders cricket development officer Neil Cameron believes all five boys deserve the recognition that selection for the eastern region’s development centre has afforded them and that it is also an indication of the strength of the junior game in the Borders, and the quality of the programme that they are part of at Mary Erskine School and Myreside.
He told TheSouthern: “I wish them all well and know that, given the right support and circumstances, all not only have a very bright future in the game but have the potential to achieve further honours.”
Taylor also became a member of a very select band of Borders sportsmen as a dual-internationalist when he achieved selection for Scotland Under-18s in rugby earlier this year.