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In August the Courier told you how a young cricket star with Campbeltown connections helped Scotland’s youth cricket side qualify for the under-20s Cricket World Cup.
This time Liam Naylor is set to go one better, by starring at the tournament itself.
The 18-year old, who grew up in Liverpool but whose mother Marie Naylor (née McKerral) is from Campbeltown, made the squad after impressing in the team’s final qualifying round in the Netherlands in the summer.
In the six-team tournament, the seam bowler’s half-century with the bat against Jersey, and stellar performances against Ireland, France, Denmark and the host Dutch side, were enough to book his place in the Scotland squad for the showpiece tournament, being held in South Africa across January and February.
Reacting to his selection, Liam said: ‘I’m really excited about the news. The weekend of the selection I was down in London with some friends, so when I got the call to say I had been picked it was a mixture of happiness and relief.
‘On reflection, I thought I’d done well in the qualifiers and I didn’t see any reason why I shouldn’t be selected.’
And while feeling a little out of the loop with Scotland’s weekly training sessions since the qualifying tournament, Liam has stayed World Cup-ready through his training and playing schedule at the prestigious Wellington School in Taunton, Somerset, where he also studies.
He explained: ‘I can’t make training in Scotland as I’m down in Somerset, but I keep in touch with some of the players and coaches. There are new players training all the time and I was hoping my performances in the qualifiers were going to be enough, so it felt great be selected.’
After spending Christmas in Kintyre with his family, Liam can look forward to warmer climes next month, when he and the rest of the squad fine-tune their preparations at a training camp in Dubai, before flying on to South Africa, where Scotland will open their tournament against the cricketing might of Pakistan on January 19, before facing Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
The top two teams advance to the quarter finals, while the bottom two take part in an eight-team Plate section.
Liam, who is the grandson of Douglas McKerral, of Meadows Avenue, said: ‘It’ll be crazy going from Christmastime in the west of Scotland to the Middle East for training in the space of five days, but it’s all really exciting.
‘At the tournament itself, we’ll play Pakistan first, who have one player taking wickets in top-level test cricket against the likes of Australia and Sri Lanka, while Bangladesh are the top under-19s side in the world. Zimbabwe are well known in cricket too.’
The opposition will be tough but Liam is looking forward to the tournament, on both competitive and emotional levels.
He added: ‘This is my biggest challenge yet – I’ll be playing against people I’ve seen on TV, the kind of thing you want to do growing up. And it really means a lot to me to play for Scotland with my family connection.’
For more information, and for score updates during the tournament, visit cricketscotland.com