The captain of Scotland’s women’s cricket team will be swapping her bat for a royal baton this weekend.
Abbi Aitken (23), who hails from Montrose, was nominated by a fellow player, Annette Drummond, for her services to cricket and her captaincy of the Scotland Women side (60 caps).
And she has been selected to run at Glamis Castle on Saturday.
Abbi is among seven of Scotland’s women cricketers who have been chosen as baton bearers for Her Majesty The Queen’s Baton Relay for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
She said: “I’m really looking forward t it. I’ve never experienced anything like it before. I’m excited. I’m a bit gutted not to be running in Montrose.”
Abbi added: “I don’t visit Montrose and Angus as often as I would like to, so it will be good to come home and see my friends and family.”
The sportswoman, who is a former Lochside Primary and Montrose Academy pupil, will be graduating with a degree in event management from Robert Gordon University in July.
She started playing cricket at around the age of 10 or 11 for Montrose Cricket Club.
She said: “People are quite shocked to find out I didn’t go to a private school as cricket is often seen as a private school sport.”
By the age of 14 she was selected for Scotland’s women’s cricket team and in 2011 she was made captain when she was just 19 when the former captain stepped down and took on the role of coach.
Abbi said: “Having been on the team since I was 14 I was confident, but it is a challenge as I am captaining women who are older and who have been playing cricket for longer than me.
“Cricket is becoming the fastest growing sport for women in Scotland and the Scottish Women’s Cricket Association (SWCA) was recently set up.
“There are more opportunities for women and girls to get involved in sport nowadays. Girls should go along to their local clubs and take that opportunity.”
Abbi plays for Aberdeenshire Cricket Club, as well as captaining the country’s women’s team.
She said: “A lot of people are surprised to find out that at local levels all of the Scotland’s women’s cricket squad play in the men’s league. We need to play at the men’s level to be at a good standard going forward. We can hold our own against the men.
“Hopefully there will be a strong women’s league in the future.”
Following the recent launch of the SWCA, Nuffield Health, the UK’s largest healthcare charity, has agreed to provide fitness and training facilities for the Scottish women’s cricket squad.
For more information about the SWCA please visit www.scottishwomencric.com.