In a normal summer, we would all be looking forward to the men’s Scottish Cup final this coming Sunday, August 23 at New Cambusdoon in Ayr.
Sadly, due to lockdown and the subsequent phases the showpiece event in the domestic cricket calendar never got underway for 2020, but it means that all teams will be keener than ever to get their hands on the famous trophy in 2021.
Over the years there have been some amazing finals such as Kelburne defeating Perthshire back in 1966, Drumpellier winning back-to-back trophies in 1981 and 1982 and Greenock winning the competition an amazing five timers in seven years between 2001 and 2007.
Uddingston began the last decade of finals with victory in 2010 and 2011 against Stirling County and Dunfermline respectively.
In the first of those finals UAE internationalist Sami Zia scored 63 not out to earn the player of the match award just ahead of Paul Hoffman who made 43 from 23 balls to make sure they chased down County’s 131.
The former said at the time: “I have had a thoroughly enjoyable time with Uddingston and made so many great friends – especially captain Ricky Bawa.
“He has been a tremendous inspiration to me. I am chuffed to bits to have played a part in helping the club win the Cup.
“No one deserves the success more than Ricky.”
That match was at West of Scotland’s Hamilton Crescent Ground and 12 months Uddingston were at Arbroath’s Lochlands to play Dunfermline.
This time Australian overseas amateur Alecz Day was the hero with 59 not out as they won by seven wickets against the Fifers.
It was an all-Edinburgh final in 2012 with Heriot’s defeating Watsonians at Titwood in Glasgow.
The Heriot’s bowling attack – featuring 16-year-old spinner Mark Watt who has gone on to become a Scotland regular – was on song to restrict Watsonians to 171-9 batting first.
With the bat, Australian Cameron Farrell and Kiwi overseas amateur Brad Kneebone were on form with 75 not out and 51 not out in a seven wicket win for Heriot’s.
At the time Farrell said: “Brad batted really well because during the middle overs Watsonians were putting us under a bit of pressure, but he held firm and we managed to put together a century partnership to take the side home.”
The trophy stayed in Edinburgh in 2013 and 2014 as Grange won back-to-back finals, both at New Williamfield in Stirling.
The beaten finalists in 2013 were Carlton, 76 from then Scotland batsman Neil McCallum helping Grange to post 216-8 batting first.
When Carlton lost key man Fraser Watts – caught and bowled by Gordon Goudie for 60 – they fell to 123-7 in reply and were eventually all out for 175.
And 12 months later Grange were backing up that 41 run victory by seeing off Clydesdale with another strong all-round team showing.
This time Ryan Flannigan was the star man with the bat for Grange, making 84 and backed up by 55 from McCallum, as they made 222-8.
In reply, the Glasgow side were well served by Scotland all-rounder Richie Berrington with 69, but 4-33 from his future international team mate Tom Sole saw Grange home by 38 runs.
Grange’s bid for a hat-trick of Cups was dented by Arbroath in the 2015 final at New Williamfield.
A quite superb 104 not out from Fraser Burnett saw Arbroath post 217-7 from their 50 overs batting first as they aimed to win the event for the first time.
Burnett’s younger brother Calvin then took 3-21 and was well backed up by the rest of the attack as Marc Petrie’s men won the match by 93 runs.
The final moved back to Hamilton Crescent in Glasgow in 2016 and Arbroath were looking to make it two from two.
Con de Lange, the Scotland spinner who has sadly since passed away, took 3-38 with his spin for Clydesdale to help limit Arbroath to 168-7 up first.
Clydesdale slipped to 116-6 in reply, but de Lange (51) and skipper Majid Haq (18 not out) held their nerve as the Glasgow outfit won by two wickets with just three balls remaining.
In 2017, Carlton won the event for the first time by seeing off Watsonians at Forfarshire’s Forthill.
Batting first, Carlton slipped to 107-5 when Watts was out for 42, but 61 by skipper Ali Evans and 30 by Chayank Gosain hauled the Grange Loan men up to a competitive total of 232 all out.
Watsonians looked well on the way to victory until Mike Carson was out for 109 to leave them on 180-6.
Carlton’s bowlers held their cool and their opponents were all out for 196 as the Grange Loan men were victorious by 36 runs.
After the match winning captain Evans said: “Watsonians played their part in a great game of cricket, sometimes finals don’t live up to the hype, but there is no doubt this one did. I’m incredibly proud of the team’s efforts and we stuck in right to the end.”
Teenager Angus Beattie was one of the Carlton stars with 3-38.
Two years ago, after numerous washouts, the final was relocated to Portgower Place in Edinburgh as Grange took on Heriot’s.
The ‘home’ side came out of the traps flying and never looked back.
Ex-Scotland seamer Gordon Goudie took 4-10 and young spinner Charlie Peet 3-25 as Heriot’s were skittled out for just 106.
Player of the match Goudie then smashed 65 not out as Grange won by eight wickets in quick time.
That defeat obviously left Heriot’s determined to make amends – and they did so last year at Ferguslie’s Meikleriggs ground in Paisley.
Opponents Carlton posted 142-7 batting first before Heriot’s got home in the 47th over of their response with four wickets in hand after an enthralling afternoon.
Hayes van der Berg top scored with 40 not out for the victors whose skipper Keith Morton said at the time: “The way we dug in on the day showed everyone all they need to know about our team and the club as a whole, we wanted this one so much.”
Here’s to 2021 and more Scottish Cup drama…
Winners of the Scottish Cup since 1966:
Drumpellier, Ferguslie, Heriot’s (4)
Aberdeenshire, Uddingston, (3)
Forfarshire, Perthshire, Stenhousemuir, Strathmore, West of Scotland (2)
Arbroath, Ayr, Carlton, Edinburgh Accies, Kelburne, Poloc (1)