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|Physical Address:||National Cricket Academy
MES Sports Centre, Ravelston
Edinburgh, EH4 3NT
|Main switchboard||+ 44 131 313 7420|
|General enquiry email:||email@example.com|
History of cricket in Scotland
Scottish cricket has a distinguished pedigree stretching back to 1783, when the first recorded match was played at Schaw Park, Alloa. The oldest club in the country is Kelso, founded in 1820, and the Scottish Cricket Union, now known as Cricket Scotland, was formed later in the 19th century, organising occasional matches against sundry overseas teams touring Britain. The true awakening of cricket as a national sport was stimulated when Scotland was admitted to the Benson & Hedges Cup tournament against the English counties in 1980. In 1992, Scotland applied to become an independent, Associate Member of the ICC, and this status was granted in 1994.
Scotland participated in the ICC Trophy for the first time in 1997, finishing in third place to qualify at the first attempt for the ICC Cricket World Cup, staged in the UK in 1999. Failure to qualify for the next World Cup was a step backwards, but Scotland was invited by the England & Wales Cricket Board to take part in their Sunday League from 2003, which revived and raised the quality of the country's top players, some of whom have been signed by English counties.
In 2004, Scotland won the inaugural ICC Intercontinental Cup for Associate Members, and followed that in 2005 by winning the ICC Trophy in Ireland to qualify for the 2007 World Cup. In doing so, it became the first ICC Member to hold two senior trophies at the same time. In 2007, Scotland was runners-up in the inaugural Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division One tournament in Nairobi, thus qualifying to participate in the first ICC World Twenty20 later in the year. Scotland also qualified for the second World Twenty20 in England in 2009.
Scotland has enjoyed ODI status under the ICC's High Performance Programme since 2005, but in 2009 failed to reach the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 after coming sixth in the qualifying tournament in South Africa. It hinted at improved limited-overs form in 2010, however, when it finished runners-up in the World Cricket League Division One in July and turned in some decent performances in the English domestic CB40.
Of all the ICC Associate Member countries, Scotland has one of the best-developed grass-roots infrastructures, with most clubs able to play on natural turf pitches in good quality surroundings in well-organised local leagues and cup competitions. The Scottish National Cricket League has three divisions and 31 clubs, with players graduating to national team selection. Overall, however, there is a lot more cricket played, with more than 300 senior teams from 150 registered clubs competing in local leagues at various levels.
A survey in 2007 by ICC Europe revealed a 50 per cent increase in the number of active cricketers in Scotland, with around 20,000 senior and junior players involved in the sport. For obvious geographical reasons, the Scottish domestic cricket season is exceptionally short, not much more than four months, but it is intense and densely-fixtured at all levels, with Twenty20 matches being possible in the long midsummer evenings.
Schools cricket declined rapidly around 25 years ago, and the initial burden of youth development is currently borne almost entirely by Scotland's clubs, many of which have a proud record in embracing and integrating the high proportion of Asian-origin players located mainly in the cities. Cricket Scotland's TOPClub scheme is providing a structured incentive for clubs to expand their youth activities, and its team of 12 development officers is continuing to expand interest in the game, both at club and school level throughout the country.
At a higher level, Cricket Scotland has completed a major overhaul of its youth development system, with the introduction of four regional academies in October 2007. These are designed to hasten the maturing of the country's young players to meet the higher-level challenges that lie ahead. The organisation of coaching, umpiring and scoring courses is also being brought into line with UK and Scottish educational accreditation systems.
Cricket Scotland has also instituted an annual sponsored scholarship scheme for two or three top young players, to enable them to spend the winter playing for overseas clubs. In addition to the Grange venue in Edinburgh, three more Scottish grounds have now met ICC specifications for staging One-Day Internationals.
From a low-level start, encouraging progress is being made to bring women's cricket into the Scottish mainstream. With the help of sponsors Lloyds TSB Scotland, there is now a women's academy training the country's most promising players, and a range of practice and competitive matches is played each year in a bid to gain experience as rapidly as possible. In 2008, the Scotland women's team was entered into the England & Wales Cricket Board's county competition, and won the lower division title at the first attempt. In 2009, Scotland's U17 women were also entered into the ECB's age-group championship for the first time.