By Jake Perry
After an opening weekend which underlined just how competitive the season is likely to be, round two of the Women’s Premier League pits two of the early pace-setters against each other at Hamilton Crescent. West of Scotland go into their game against Dumfries and Galloway on the back of a stunning result at Grange Loan, where despite Abbi Aitken-Drummond’s run-a-ball 70, an opening partnership of 126 between Ellen Watson (81) and Nayma Shaikh (44) and two wickets apiece for Anne Sturgess, Nadia Tolliday and Nayma Shaikh set up a two-run win over reigning champions Carlton.
Their upcoming opponents, however, were just as impressive in sweeping aside RH Corstorphine by nine wickets at Nunholm. Spinning all-rounder Roshini Prince-Navaratnam took 4 for 26 then scored an unbeaten half-century as the home side chased down its target of 96 with more than thirteen overs to spare: for opening bowler Orla Montgomery, it should be a hotly-contested battle in Partick.
“It’s definitely going to be a tough one, especially as we have a few changes to our team,” she said. “We don’t have Hannah Rainey, Hannah Marshall or Roshini available, although we do have Lorna Jack to come back in.”
“So it’ll be a challenge for sure, but we’re hoping to get some early wickets and see where we go from there.”
The addition of Scotland pacer Rainey, now qualified as a vet and working in Cumbria, has made the Dumfries and Galloway attack a particularly potent one. Alongside Prince-Navaratnam, Hannah Marshall took 3 for 11 – all bowled – in her six overs: with fellow seamers Rosy Ryan and Niamh Muir playing important roles, too, Orla is pleased with the balance of the team.
“Rosh and Hannah have just moved into the area from England,” she said, “and it was an excellent debut for both of them. It’s great to have Hannah Rainey with us, too, to be able to open up with pace from both ends then slow things down with a bit of spin from Rosh: it worked really well.”
“It was a great performance to get us started. We had a strong team, and it was good to get our season going with a win.”
Seventeen-year-old Orla is looking to impress as part of the Scotland set-up, too, having been named as a non-travelling reserve for national side’s recent trip to Malaysia for the Commonwealth Games qualifier. With the Global Qualifier for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup coming up at the end of the year, the fast bowler is keen to do all she can to keep her name in the frame.
“We have training on Saturdays up in Dollar at the moment, and then I’m doing gym sessions down here as well as lots of bowling out in the middle, trying to get as much in as possible,” she said. “I’m definitely hoping to get into the travelling squad this time: I’m not really wanting to be a non-travelling reserve again, although that was a real honour being selected for it last time.”
“But my aim is to try and get into the main squad itself if I possibly can.”
Elsewhere on Sunday, Northern Lights play their first home fixture at Mannofield, a week after hundreds from Becky Glen and Megan McColl and an unbeaten 65 from Emma Halliwell took them to a record 334/3 at The Grange. The other victors of last weekend, Stewart’s Melville, travel to RHC after a dominant display with the ball, Iris Conlin taking 3 for 7, Izzy Armstrong 2 for 4 and Erin Bridle 2 for 15 in their seven-wicket victory over Watsonians. With four statement wins last weekend – and a wounded Carlton that will be determined to get their title challenge straight back on course – it promises to be a fascinating round of matches once again.
Women’s Premier League – 29 May 2022
McCrea FS West of Scotland v Dumfries CC/Galloway CC (at Hamilton Crescent)
RH Corstorphine v Stewart’s Melville (at Royal High School)
Carlton v Grange (at Grange Loan)
Northern Lights v Watsonians (at Mannofield)
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