It has been a great summer of cricket at all levels in Scotland – and Grange’s under-15 team had more reason to celebrate than most.
Recently the youngsters from Portgower Place finished second in the nationwide ECB T20 Cup competition, an event which began with over 1,700 entrants.
In 2016 the under-15s had got as far as the final of the North group where they lost out to the Yorkshire champions in what was in effect a national quarter-final – and they wanted to do even better this year.
Domestic victories over local rivals Carlton and then Stewart’s Melville enabled the junior Stags to progress to the Scottish finals day at Stirling.
Old friends Clydesdale were beaten as well as Falkland as Grange retained their Scottish title.
From that moment on the real journey could begin as that was the last of playing on Scottish soil.
Grange were away from home thereafter. First up, the Durham champions, Hetton Lyons. They won that one and then took on the Northumberland winners Alnmouth & Lesbury.
Again another car/train journey and another win.
The Grange team then travelled to York CC to play the North finals. The last 16 game was against the Cheshire Champions Alderley Edge and then in the last eight the game was against the Yorkshire champions and hosts York.
Former Scotland coach and Grange player Jim Love came down to watch the final with his Yorkshire CCC and York coaching hats on as did the England football manager Gareth Southgate whose son was playing York!
Grange chased down 168 with three overs to go. What a win, they had made it to the last four in Britain.
Impressive organisation by the ECB saw the finals day played at Rugby School in Warwickshire where the team had an enjoyable stay the night before.
They were made welcome by the director of cricket, Mike Powell, a former ‘Grangeman’ and Warwickshire CCC captain and well known to Scottish cricket.
Match day saw the boys greeted by boundary advertising, music in between balls, a DJ announcing the players, lots of spectators and complete new sets of super smart coloured playing kit.
Past and current England players Mike Gatting and David Willey also attended all day and mixed with the boys. T
In the semi-final against the West champions Exmouth from Devon Grange held on in a nail biter by 3 runs.
The opponents in the final were the South champions Guildford. Grange put in a good fielding performance on a flat wicket and then needed 132 to win.
They made a great start and got close, but a couple of run outs and Grange finished just short.
Their coach Nick Peet said: “There were a few tears among players and supporters before a bit of reflection enabled the disappointment to turn to immense pride.
“It is a massive achievement for a Scottish club team to finish second in Britain winning lots of friends and admirers along the way. The players were a credit to their club and their country and acted as true ambassadors showing the vibrancy of the game north of the border.
“Ultimately in the 2017 ECB T20 Cup season the team played 10 rounds of cricket, won the Scottish title, the North title and won nine games before losing the last game to finish runners-up in Britain. Outstanding. Miles travelled 1,671…!
“The team had amazing support from their parents and lifelong memories were made for all involved.
“Of the 15 players who represented Grange in the ECB T20 Cup this summer, 13 took part in the Grange Academy programme 2016/17 directed by John Blain, 10 went on to play for the Eastern Knights and four were part of the successful Scotland under-15s that won the Celtic Cup and their County Championship group title.
“A great squad with some real talent. Some season and some achievement, well played!”
Well done to the team and thanks to Nick for the information and photograph
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