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North of Scotland Senior League title is the aim for Northern Counties' captain Will Ford ahead of opening game against Elgin at Meeting Park in Inverness


By Andrew Henderson


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Northern Counties Cricket Club are aiming to win the North of Scotland Senior League in 2022 for the first time in almost two decades.

The last time Counties were crowned league champions was in 2004, but they came mightily close to earning the crown last summer.

For most of the campaign they topped the table, only to be pipped in the final weeks of the campaign by eventual champions, Forres St Lawrence.

Northern Counties captain Will Ford wants to lift the league title this year. Picture: James Mackenzie
Northern Counties captain Will Ford wants to lift the league title this year. Picture: James Mackenzie

There have been a few changes at the Meeting Park, both in terms of procedure and structurally with Will Ford taking over from Shaun Thomas as captain, and domestic success is right at the forefront of Ford's mind ahead of their league opener at home to Elgin.

"It's massive to start with a win," he said.

"If you play one of the teams who are challenging and lose, you can hold your hands up and say you'll beat them at home.

"If you go and put in a poor performance against one of the lower league teams, it really does create a problem.

"The league title is definitely on the agenda for us this year, as well as everything else to be honest.

"I'm always looking at what else we can achieve, and the Challenge Cup is a nice distraction for us to go out and enjoy without too much pressure to win, but as far as domestic competitions the league title is the big one."

Bright start a sign of things to come?

While the league campaign gets under way this weekend, Northern Counties have already played two competitive matches this year.

First they overcame Comrie in Perthshire in the Cricket Scotland Challenge Cup, before opening their domestic season with a Senior Cup victory over Forres.

Northern Counties are favourites to record a win over Elgin this weekend. Picture: James Mackenzie
Northern Counties are favourites to record a win over Elgin this weekend. Picture: James Mackenzie

It is plenty of early momentum to be working with, but even though last year's league table would suggest Elgin should not pose a major threat to Counties, Ford is still wary of an upset.

"It's been a great start to the season, especially being two away wins," he explained.

"We haven't played at home yet, and the big thing for me is that we've managed to put teams out every week.

"Everyone is really committed to the project and what we're trying to do. Things are going in the right direction, but Elgin are one of those tricky teams.

"They've got really good youth development, and they're not scared to put youngsters in the club. That doesn't always help them with results, but results and performances are two different things – they're not an easy team to go and beat.

"They've got a few really capable batters that are willing to stick about, which has often frustrated us in the past. They might have a big total to chase, but they will quite happily sit and bat out their overs, which does create frustration, and that's something that we need to learn to overcome as a team. It's something that we need to plan for and be aware of.

"By no means are they pushovers, but at the same time we fully support everything they're trying to do with their youth development. It's about being aware of that, respecting that, but at the same time wanting to go out and get the result."


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