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Scotland Expanded Men’s Regional Pro Series gets underway this weekend

©Cricket Scotland

With the international and domestic seasons well underway in Scotland this Sunday sees the start of the Men’s Regional Pro Series with the top players in the country representing their regional teams.

In previous years the 50-over-a-side competition has included the Eastern Knights, the Caledonian Highlanders and the Western Warriors. This year a Performance Academy side has been added to the mix, meaning four strong outfits will be battling it out between June 6 and July 2.

The competition will give Scotland men’s head coach Shane Burger a chance to look at more players from across the country and beyond who are looking to force their way into his plans.

“The regional series provides an important platform for the best players in the country to go and put in performances in the 50-over format. It’s also an important marker for the selection process for the upcoming Cricket World Cup League 2 series. ?It will be great to see the 44 best players out on the park getting more cricket under their belts,” said Burger.

On Sunday, the Knights are due to host the Highlanders at The Grange. Over the last few seasons, the Knights have been the region to beat and Head Coach Steve Gilmour and his team will look to keep it that way.

Like the Knights, the Highlanders have some very good batters led by Kyle Coetzer and Forfarshire duo Craig Wallace and Michael Leask while Safyaan Sharif leads the bowling attack.

Highlanders Head Coach Craig Wright said:? “I am looking forward to seeing the team in action. A number of the guys have started this season well whether that be with Scotland or with their clubs and that means that we should have a strong XI available to take to the field on Sunday in the opener.

“We have quite a bit of experience available to us while we also hope to blood some up-and-coming youngsters alongside them. We know that the Knights are a good side, but I think it will be a good match this weekend.”

The other game on Sunday sees the Warriors hosting the Performance Academy at Ayr’s New Cambusdoon ground.

Warriors Head Coach Andy Tennant has picked a 13-man squad for the encounter and said:? “We will be missing Scotland batter Calum MacLeod this weekend, but we still have a good squad available to us and the great thing for me is that there are other players from the region knocking on the door to get involved and I am sure that competition for places will only grow when the leagues in the west get underway this weekend.

“Richie Berrington will captain the side while Matt Cross will be behind the stumps and we know we will need to play well to defeat a Performance Academy side full of exciting young talent.”

Two bowlers to watch out for in the Warriors set-up could be Heriot’s seamer Gavin Main and spinner Hamza Tahir.

The Performance Academy’s involvement in this tournament will expose some of the best young male cricketers around to a good level of competition.

“It is great to get this group of players involved in something like this, they will be up against more experienced players, but there are some very good cricketers in the Performance Academy squad, and they will want to show people what they can do,” their Head Coach Toby Bailey said.

Cricket Scotland CEO Gus Mackay is delighted to see the crucial series getting underway: “The Men’s Regional Pro Series is really important for us in terms of giving our best players even more playing time and giving younger talent a chance to play top level cricket and make an impact. It’s great to see it getting underway again and I’m grateful to everyone who has worked so hard behind the scenes to make this happen.”

Live scoring from both matches will be available on the?Cricket Scotland Live platform.

Western Warriors v Performance Academy starts at 11am. Eastern Knights v Highlanders starts at midday.

Spectators will not be allowed in the grounds due to current COVID-19 guidance

The full fixture list for the series can be viewed HERE.