Highland Cricket Club unlikely to defend Nosca Senior League title this summer
Get the Inverness Courier sent to your inbox every week and swipe through an exact replica of the day's newspaper
Just over a year ago, Highland Cricket Club seemed to be going from strength to strength.
They dominated Nosca competitions in 2019, going unbeaten through the senior league and reaching the finals of both cup competitions.
Ambitions were high off the cricket pitch too, with plans for investment to improve the club’s facilities at Fraser Park.
Then the pandemic hit, and everything seemed to change in an instant.
Some players found that their jobs were moved away from the area and had to leave for other parts of the UK. Sponsors pulled out after being forced to prioritise their own survival. Costs to build a container to store crucial equipment soared.
What had seemed like a club on top of the world was suddenly fighting for survival.
Therefore, despite still holding the accolade of being the reigning north of Scotland cricket champions, it appears unlikely that they will be able to enter the senior league in 2021.
Captain John Paul is one of the players who have stayed with the club, who are hoping to resume net sessions next week on April 1, but as things stand Highland will not defend their crown.
Instead they are likely to settle for a place in the reserve league, happy for any form of action this summer, and Paul says the only way that will change is if they get an influx of new players when sessions begin again.
“We’ve had a bad six months,” he admitted.
“A lot of our players had to leave Inverness, nine have gone, and that hasn’t helped our cause. We’re in a position where we’ve got to start to rebuild again.
“With our existing membership, a lot of them are reserve players, so we thought we should start with that and enjoy cricket on a Sunday.
“That gives the guys we have opportunities to play, and it gives us the chance to build up some more interest in the club.
“If there are newcomers who are keen to play, Highland is the place to come.
“If we get a few guys, we can still always enter the Senior League competition if we get enough bodies.
“Today, our status is that we’re only playing in the reserve league, but once we’ve had a few net sessions and we can see what the response is to our recruitment drive that might shift, so we’ll see how it goes.”