Jake Perry looks ahead to the Beyond Boundaries Women’s Scottish Cup Finals Day
The most prestigious occasion of the women’s domestic calendar takes place in Dumfries this Sunday as Carlton, George Watson’s College, Grange and West of Scotland come together for the fourth Beyond Boundaries Women’s Scottish Cup Finals Day. The T20 competition has gone from strength to strength since the charity began its sponsorship back in 2017, and with another new team taking part this year, the continued growth of the Scottish women’s game has been underlined even further.
On the same day that Ben Stokes was performing his heroics at Headingley in 2019, Carlton was wrapping up an emphatic victory over West of Scotland in the last Finals Day at New Williamfield. After a equally impressive win over league runners-up Stewart’s Melville in last month’s quarter-final, the Women’s Premier League champions go into the weekend as hot favourites to both retain their trophy and complete an historic league and cup double, but while semi-final opponents George Watson’s College are very a different prospect to the Sarah Bryce-led outfit that beat them to the cup in 2017, Annette Aitken-Drummond’s side will be taking nothing for granted against the team that knocked out Royal High Corstorphine a couple of weeks ago.
The form book is certainly in the holders’ favour, though, after a WPL campaign that ended with only one defeat for the season. The Grange Loan side came out on top against each of their fellow semi-finalists, piling on the runs against Watsonians/Grange to win by 308 before beating GWC by 107 and West of Scotland by eight wickets. Charis Scott topped the final averages with both bat and ball, while Annette Aitken-Drummond and Scotland Under-15 Maisie Maceira finished only just behind her in what was a clean sweep of the top two in the respective tables. Carlton’s blend of youth and experience is testament to the behind-the-scenes work that has gone into the development of its women’s section: GWC has a fine record in that regard, too, but it will still take a monumental performance from its young side to keep the Arrows out of the final.
The first game of the day sees West take on Grange, who, after playing the WPL season in tandem with Watsonians, will be making their first appearance in the competition. It was West who were doing the same in 2019 in what was their first season of competitive action, and while they left Stirling with a runners-up medal that day, they will hope that the experience of Wildcats Abtaha Maqsood and Ellen Watson as well as fellow 2018 cup-winners Charlotte Dalton-Howells and Nayma Shaikh will see them go one better this time.
They will certainly fancy their chances of doing so after a COVID-delayed start ultimately scuppered their WPL ambitions. West’s victory over RHC at New Williamfield showed their solidity with the bat in pressure situations, and if they can find that same form again at Nunholm, they will provide a stern examination for their Edinburgh-based opponents.
After the frustrations of 2020, Scotland has seen an outstanding programme of women’s cricket this year, which began with the WPL and continued into the inaugural Women’s Super Series. Whoever is destined to succeed GWC, The West and Carlton as Scottish Cup winners this time around, Sunday is sure to put the icing onto what has been an unforgettable summer.
Beyond Boundaries Women’s Scottish Cup Finals Day (at Nunholm)
Semi-final One: Grange v West of Scotland (10.30am)
Semi-final Two: Carlton v George Watson’s College
The Finals Day will be streamed via Cricket Scotland Live.
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