EDINBURGH cricket prospect Ewan Chalmers was today flying out to Australia on the latest leg of a journey he hopes will eventually lead to a professional contract.
The Watsonian batsman is using a three-week break in his St Andrews University maths and economics course to join up with fellow Scottish under-19 cricket academy members who are wintering by playing as a team in the Sydney leagues.
Chalmers said: "This is a chance to try keep myself ticking over, cricket-wise, so as to try to hit the ground running at the start of the new season."
Watsonians have just lost their captain and star all-rounder Gordon Drummond to Carlton.
Chalmers, the only Scotland under-19 player to finish in the top 20 of the Lloyds TSB Premiership averages with figures of 34.00 in 2008, said: "We are all aware of the need to take on a bit of extra responsibility to compensate for the loss of Gordon to Carlton."
Looking further ahead, Chalmers is keen to complete his degree and then explore the possibility of playing full-time.
"It's all about trying to balance things so that the chance to play more cricket coincides with finishing my studies in two-and-a- half years' time."
Already Chalmers has been at the Durham CC academy just before Christmas along with several other promising Scots, accompanied by Cricket Scotland development boss and Saltires stalwart Craig Wright, as the county threw open the doors of their indoor nets facility.
Chalmers said: "It was an opportunity to see where we were at in comparison to some players of similar age from Durham and Northumberland with four or five coaches on hand."
Chalmers is due to arrive in Sydney on Friday and play his first match for the Scottish academy XI on Monday.