The success of the D&G under 13 cricket league earlier in the summer was certainly built on recently when the West District Area Championship was played.
Some hard decisions had to be made but a final squad of 14 players was picked to represent the Dumfries & Galloway region for a series of 4 matches against their counterparts from Clyde (west of Glasgow), Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Glasgow itself.
It was disappointing that the middle 2 matches – and home ones at that! – were victims of the weather but it could not take away from the victories either side of them. On the Monday the boys travelled to Uddingston and beat Lanarkshire in a close match by 6 runs and on the Thursday they excelled themselves with a devastating 10 wicket victory having bowled out Ayrshire for only 39.
The team-work and camaraderie were magnificent with each member of the team having a job to do and every player excellent in the field with hardly a catch going down. The individual highlights were shared around.
Against Lanarkshire Fraser Conn was the player of the match – he came in at 2 for 2 and firstly steadied the ship before upping the tempo later in his innings for 33 not out in a total of 120. Chris Edgar made sure that the opposition did not get off to a flyer by taking 1 for 3 in his first spell.
Anthony Hulatt took 3 wickets including their big hitter who threatened to take the game away and Andrew Forsyth bowled a wicket-maiden when there were only 8 runs needed to win from the final 2 overs.
In the match against Ayrshire there obviously was not the same scope for as many players to excel but Anthony Hulatt took another couple of wickets and again was the bowler who caught the eye. Kevin Hoskins took 2 wickets without a run coming off the bat and again the catching was exemplary – especially the one by Fraser Howard in the gully.
The player of the series was between Chas Steel and Marcus Richardson. Chas captained the side very maturely and took a handy 2 for 12 from his 6 overs against Lanarkshire and followed this up with the match-winning burst of 4 for 1 in his first 3 overs to demolish the Ayrshire top-order.
Marcus scored an elegant 24 in the first match and followed it up with a clinical and highly accomplished 28 not out in only 32 balls in the second match.
If these players – and the dozens of others, both older and younger – keep working at their games the way they have this summer then the future of our region’s clubs is very bright indeed.