By Jake Perry
There is a new force to reckon with in the Women’s Premier League this year, with the Aberdeen-based Northern Lights making their debut in what promises to be the most hotly contested competition to date. With Watsonians and Grange now playing as separate entities and plenty of input from national and regional players, the eight-team division marks another important point in the upward trajectory of the domestic women’s game in Scotland.
Northern Lights skipper Megan McColl is in no doubt as to the significance of the moment.
“We’re really excited about having a team representing the clubs from the north,” she said. “It’s a big step forward and we’re going to enjoy playing our first game on Sunday.”
“Having the teams from Edinburgh and Glasgow come up to play cricket here is really important for the women and girls’ game in Scotland. Hopefully the Northern Lights will be the first of many more sides in the future.”
Last year saw virtually all of Scotland’s national players aligned with a WPL club – the only exceptions being Lightning’s Bryce sisters – but the addition of the Lights will make life considerably easier for those based north of the central belt.
“It was good to get involved in women’s cricket first and foremost, having only played men’s club cricket for Arbroath before,” said Megan, who scored 115 runs and took seven wickets in her three games for Watsonians/Grange. “It was great to play and see the different standards of the teams, but to have something in the north now is really good.”
“Along with myself we have Becky Glen, Abbie Hogg and Ailsa Lister [from the national set-up], as well as my sister Kirsty McColl and [Falkland’s] Emma Halliwell who are both part of the Scotland Under-19s. There’s also Zoe Baillie from Forfarshire, who is part of the emerging [group]. So we’ve got a good few Scotland players and up and coming Scotland players which will hopefully be good for our chances.”
While Carlton is again likely to be the team to beat – the depth and bedded-in structure of last season’s double-winners has enabled them to put out a women’s second XI this year – 2018 and ’19 champions Stewart’s Melville will also be amongst the favourites for both league and cup. West of Scotland, Dumfries & Galloway and RH Corstorphine also produced some excellent cricket over the course of the last campaign, as did Watsonians/Grange, who finished third in the final table. Watsonians will be the first to visit Mannofield next Sunday: before then, however, the league’s newest side is looking forward to a trip to a similarly iconic venue.
“It’ll be great to start our season at The Grange this weekend,” said Megan. “It’ll be the first time I’ve actually played there.”
“Hopefully we can make a good start, and come away with a win.”
Women’s Premier League – 22 May 2022
Grange v Northern Lights (at Portgower Place)
Carlton v McCrea FS West of Scotland (at Grange Loan)
Stewart’s Melville v Watsonians (at Inverleith)
Dumfries CC/Galloway CC v RH Corstorphine (at Nunholm)
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