Making His Mark
On Sunday, June 10th on a sunny afternoon down at the Grange Club at Raeburn Place, one of the most remarkable results in the world of sport occurred. For the first time, Scotland beat England in a One Day International cricket match.
The undoubted star of the Scottish team that day was none other than Mark Watt (aged 21), a recent former pupil of Trinity Academy.
‘Do your absolute best to try and commit to the academy programme, you never know what will come from it’
Mark was a ‘performance level’ athlete in our City of Edinburgh Schools Sports Academy. A few days after their momentous win against England, we met up with Mark Watt (MW) and he kindly agreed to our invitation to do this Q and A session.
What did being in the Sports Academy mean to you at the time?
MW: At the time I was nervous to go as I was the only one from Trinity Academy attending the programme, I didn’t know anyone and still played football as my first-choice sport. As time went on I kept going and started to enjoy it more, we were a very successful team winning most competitions and this added to the enjoyment of making me want to pursue cricket. I owe a lot to the academy for putting me on a pathway for international cricket.
You've had several coaches over the course of your career. Is there one piece of advice that sticks out more than most?
MW: I know it sounds a bit cliché but just to be yourself and enjoy what you’re doing. I think Gordon Drummond (at that time the Cricket Development Officer for City of Edinburgh Council) had a massive impact on my age group at the academy and many of us went on to represent Scotland at age group levels and then the next step with the Scotland A side.
Gordon and the other coaches such as Dewald Nel had represented Scotland and were very influential to our age group, we all knew what they had achieved in their careers and they had a great balance of having a laugh and working hard at training.
What other interests did you have at school? Was cricket always the sport for you?
MW: I loved many sports at school, basketball, badminton, table tennis, hockey but football was my first-choice sport up to the age of 14/15. I decided to go with the cricketing route, initially, it was a hard choice but I started getting selected for representative sides in Edinburgh and thought it was for the best.
What's the best thing about being an international cricketer?
MW: There’s definitely a few to choose from, traveling to all parts of the world, playing the game you love with your mates, challenging yourself against the best in the world but mine would have to be the fact that you’re representing your country and knowing you’ve earned the right to sing your national anthem.
If you had one piece of advice to pass on to the current crop of cricketers in the Sports Academy what would it be?
MW: That’s a hard one, I’ve not got anything really inspiring to say other than do your absolute best to try and commit to the academy programme, you never know what will come from it.
Footnote: The City of Edinburgh Schools Sports Academy is open to pupils attending City of Edinburgh Secondary Schools. In addition to cricket, the programme in 2018-19 covers Badminton, Girls Football, Netball, Rugby and Volleyball.