Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Huntly strives to maintain status as breeding ground for elite cricketing talent

Willie Donald, of Cricket Scotland.
Willie Donald, of Cricket Scotland.

The game of cricket has been played at the Aberdeenshire town of Huntly since the mid-1850s at which time the area was able to boast having a prime minister in Westminster; although there is no record of Lord Aberdeen having a role at the club, formed in 1854.

But then it would be no surprise if the PM of the day had played for the Castle Park team, given so many aspiring players have made their way in the game at the highest level from Huntly, and likely to continue to do so according to club president James Findlay.

He said: “We have a proud tradition of producing quality cricketers, no doubt helped by the fact our geographical location is half way between Elgin in the north and Aberdeen in the south, making us a gateway for the game.”

Among those who have gone on to greater things in the game is current president of Cricket Scotland Willie Donald, a native of Huntly who also played for Aberdeenshire and Scotland, and Dr Gordon Sherriffs, an all-rounder who also found his way to Mannofield and represented his country in an earlier era, while Brian Mearns, a former player, only retired from the game last year after 50 years of loyal service.

Azhar Ali, the current Pakistan captain, had a five-year stint at Castle Park in the role of club professional. More recently Kirstie Gordon launched her career as an eight-year-old before going on to represent Scotland and is now a member of the England squad. All of these players will have good cause to thank former secretary Patrick Scott who did so much to keep the club on the straight and narrow in his 50 years of service, retiring just last year.

Azhar Ali in the Pakistan captain.

But while president Findlay was happy to talk about the history of the club, he was equally set on looking to the future.

He said: “After a dip in our fortunes in 2015 we have applied ourselves to taking the club forward on all fronts, not least in promoting women’s and youth cricket through our excellent club head coach Neil Nicol who has taken the game to the 12 schools in the area, including the local secondary Gordon Schools where we have our indoor training sessions. Neil is the town’s Mr Cricket, and since picking up a back injury has devoted all his time to growing the game in the area.”

Nicol said: “My aim is to keep producing young players to sustain the undoubted ambition of the club, and to continue working with our fantastic network of schools who have supported the club ethos of producing juniors. We have one of the best reputations in the country for youth development which I like to think will reflect itself in the senior set up in the not too distant future.”

The club’s ambition was underlined earlier in the year when they managed to persuade former players Jack Mitchell and Liam Ferguson to leave Stoneywood-Dyce to come back and help the club win promotion from National League 1 of the Strathmore Union, helping club captain Callum Whyte towards his ambition of taking another step towards playing in the Eastern Premier, the top Scottish club league.

Mitchell will combine his high order with a senior coach role his old club.

Findlay said: “Our reserve team will play in the North of Scotland Association set-up, while we will also have a team in the Aberdeenshire Grades, putting us in a strong position in North and north- east cricket; although the intervention of coronavirus has put it all on hold, but we will be ready for the off, whenever that will be.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in