On Wednesday afternoon Scotland’s female cricketers had the honour of meeting First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, at the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood.

The invitation came on the back of a strong showing at the ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifier in Thailand in October 2015.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Cricket is increasing in popularity in Scotland and the men’s national team qualifying for the 2015 World Cup was not only a fantastic achievement for the side, but also an opportunity to inspire the women’s team and to encourage more people to get into the sport.”

Their campaign generated a large amount of media attention, although they just missed out on qualification following a ‘winner takes all’ match against Ireland, which highlighted how the women’s game is growing in Scotland.

The squad will compete in the ECB County Championships in 2016 as well as an ICC European series to look forward to this summer.

Cricket Scotland’s Women’s Development Manager Kari Carswell said, “It’s exciting for the squad and coaching staff to come along and meet the First Minister.

We are all incredibly proud to represent Scotland and knowing that having the level of support that we now have is fantastic. Girls and women’s sport and physical wellbeing is much more on the health agenda now, and we have fantastic role models from our sport that can deliver that message to girls throughout Scotland”.

The First Minister added “I was delighted to meet the women’s team and congratulate them on their recent performance in Thailand. Although they narrowly missed out on qualification for this year’s World Twenty20, the team and everyone involved should be very proud of what they have achieved.

“It was also nice to meet Kari and congratulate her on her five years in charge of the side. She has done an outstanding job and the standard of cricket the girls are now playing is a credit to the players, their head coach and all the support team who are now involved in the programme - I’m sure she will relish her new role at Cricket Scotland”.

The men’s national team will now take centre stage in the coming weeks as they head to the ICC World T20 in India, starting in March.

Scotland captain Abbi Aitken added, “The First Minister showed brilliant support during our time competing in Bangkok at the Women’s T20 Qualifiers. It certainly was a surprise to the team when we received her good luck message during the tournament. We have had a lovely afternoon visiting the parliament.