Northern Lights coach Daniel Sutton believes their debut season in the Women’s Premier League was a ‘positive’ step in the right direction.
The Aberdeen side, who were only established last October, finished fifth in the league table, registering three wins and three losses.
Northern Lights’ team was a melting pot of cricketing ability – boasting Scotland internationalists, county players, university players and some who had not played before.
Their head coach Sutton says their maiden campaign was a good learning experience for all involved, and one he hopes to build on next summer.
He said: “It was a good start and a good step in the right direction. From not having a team last year to now having one compete in the Premier League – it’s really good.
“It’s clear to see that some of the other teams in the league are really strong. They put a lot of emphasis on fielding, batting and bowling all round.
“At times I think we relied on a few of our players for batting a bit too much.
“But, overall, it’s a really positive step and a good platform to build on next season. We have a strong squad and I can only see it getting bigger and better.”
Despite it being their first season in the league, and some players’ first ever for a club, Northern Lights had set high expectations and wanted to win the league.
And, while they didn’t do that, Sutton was delighted to see how the players improved over the course of their inaugural campaign.
He added: “We wanted to win the league – it was as simple as that. We thought we had enough players and enough understanding of cricket to win the league.
“And setting those targets was important to show how seriously we were going to be taking it.
“We’re obviously disappointed to lose three games, which were three games that on another day we could’ve have won.
“We had a couple of girls who had never played a game of hard ball cricket before – and their first one was in the Premier League.
“It’s been a really steep learning curve for them and the amount they have improved over the seven-week competition has been huge.
“If we create a good structure over the winter then we will start in a much stronger position next season.”
Silverware will be the aim next season
Although the season has just finished, Sutton is already thinking about what can be done to better their chances of silverware next season.
He is targeting the title, again, but believes that Northern Lights will have to learn how to see out games in order to be in for the top prize.
In two of their defeats, the Aberdeen club were beaten narrowly, losing by two wickets against Carlton and three runs against Dumfries/Galloway.
Sutton said: “The target has to be to win the league and go unbeaten. We need to be better at winning games of cricket when we get ourselves in that position.
“A lot of the girls have never played high level cricket before, and that means learning what needs to be done in order to achieve those wins.”
Not our day today, however we really enjoyed our first season as a team and in the WPL. Great to have some more cricket being played up north #MonTheNorth Congratulations to @CarltonCricket for winning the league!👏 #NorthernLights #LightItUp pic.twitter.com/o83EVr5sTm
— Northern Lights Cricket (@N_LightsCricket) July 3, 2022
However, playing for Northern Lights is not only about targeting success on the cricket pitch.
Sutton said: “The girls have become really close friends and it’ll be great to have them all back together for a second season.
“It’s not just about playing cricket, but it’s about making friends across different cultures, different religions and different abilities.”