THE Scottish Borders Junior Cricket Development Group has launched the first junior indoor league competition in the region aimed at under-11 club cricketers.
In the first game, staged at the sparkling new Biggar Sports Centre, visitors Melrose gave joint team Biggar-Peebles a lesson in cricket to become the first team to win a game at this level and in this type of competition.
Another first. David Adams of Biggar, noted that this was his Under-11s’ first competitive match on home soil.
He said: “Despite losing I know the boys have gained a lot out of this and their development as cricketers will have taken a major step forward as a result of these games.”
Tim Owen of Melrose was equally effusive about the opportunity, the format and the win.
He added: “This was great. The boys have learned a lot and will continue to do so throughout the tournament.”
Each team will play the others once in this exciting 10-over six-a-side format. The tournament continues every Sunday between now until the middle of April with matches scheduled at either Biggar Sports Centre or the Queens Leisure Centre in Galashiels, with teams from Biggar-Peebles; Gala; Hawick and Wilton; Manderston; Melrose (two teams) and Selkirk cricket clubs.
Cricket Scotland’s local coaching development manager Neil Cameron told TheSouthern: “This is a really exciting and fast-paced format. I was delighted with the standard and to see that the players quickly got the hang of it and the new scoring options available to them.
“Since most of these players are involved in Under-13 club cricket where they make up the numbers, frankly, the aim principally is to give them game time with their peers, but also to further develop their skills before the season starts.”
Clearly, all felt that the players got a lot out of the game and this promises much for the remainder of the tournament at a time when thoughts do not turn naturally to cricket.
Cameron added: “I hope that the players have fun – they all seemed to on Sunday – which has to be the main point to games at this age group, but of course they will learn and improve as cricketers. In May there will be an outdoor tournament for the Under-11s too, so they ought to hit the ground running.”
So, with cricket taking place – albeit indoors – in the Borders we can imagine warm, sunny afternoons, the smell of freshly-cut grass and birds singing in the trees when all around is cold, wet and miserable. Cricket really is good for the soul.