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Club Focus – Meigle Cricket Club and Peter J Drummond

What makes a great club cricketer? In the third of our club focus features Meigle's Peter J Drummond speaks to Jake Perry. Pictures by Donald MacLeod.

Jake Perry @CricketScotland
October 17, 2017 1 month
Club Focus – Meigle Cricket Club and Peter J Drummond
Peter J Drummond. Picture by Donald MacLeod

The Compleat Cricketer

On the road from Perth to Forfar in the agricultural heartland of Scotland lies the little village of Meigle. Crucible of early Christianity, a capital for the Pictish kings of the Middle Ages and, so legend has it, the final resting place of King Arthur’s Guinevere, it is a community with a colourful past that can be traced back over many centuries. And thanks to Meigle Cricket Club, established in 1876, there is an eminent heritage on the cricket field that can be added to its story, too.

The gates of Victory Park, home of Meigle CC

Family ties run deep and strong in this part of the world. A glance through Meigle’s Roll of Honour sees many names recur, with Scott, Laing, Walton and Pattullo just some of those inked into the history of cricket in the village.
There is one other, though, that persistently catches the eye.

The Drummond family name is woven through Meigle CC. Beginning with Duncan and Jim Drummond in the early 1930s, through their younger brother Peter M and his son Peter CJ and on to his sons Peter J and Gordon and daughter Annette, it is a family association with the black-and-gold which has spanned the best part of a century.

Peter J Drummond continues to carry that mantle today, and with twenty-eight club awards to his name the wicketkeeper-batsman has become one of the most successful players in the history of Scottish domestic cricket. Trophies for batting, bowling and fielding reflect his natural all-round ability, but as the thirty-eight year old discusses his past, present and future the additional influence that village life and those close family bonds have had on his career is made clear.

“Cricket was a natural part of life when I was growing up,” he said.

“We lived right beside Victory Park and basically that’s where we would spend our entire summer. Meigle is a small village so everyone played cricket up there and in the winter everyone switched to football. It’s where things started for all of us.

“I moved into wicketkeeping when I was about thirteen,” he went on. “Being behind the stumps appealed to me because it put me in the game every ball and as I was a goalkeeper, too, it was a natural thing for me to do.

“And with the bat I have been an opener pretty much all the way through my career,” he continued.

“I’ve always played much the same, fairly slow-scoring, nudged it around a bit, held an end up. The game has evolved a bit quicker than I have, you could say!

“For me personally the 2010 season was a highlight. It wasn’t until after it ended that I realised I had equalled the league record for the number of runs scored by an amateur batsman [811] so that was a nice surprise and a bit of a feather in my cap, too.”

“Technically Peter is an incredible batsman,” said sister Annette. “I think he is one of the most talented players not to play for Scotland.

“He is probably the most competitive out of all of us, too,” she added. “On the pitch Peter definitely wants to win.

“We all do, of course, but with the rest of us it’s maybe kept a little bit more beneath the surface!”

“He is still one of the best keepers in Scotland,” said younger brother Gordon. “To this day we have lads in the [Scotland] Under 19s who will come up to me and say that they had just played against him and what a keeper he is!

“In his younger days he used to pride himself on his stumpings and that certainly helped me as a bowler, too. The amount of stumpings we used to get when we played together was unbelievable.

“Batting-wise Peter has always been really dogged and competitive,” he continued.

“He would say that he is limited in certain areas but that’s fine. Knowing that gives you more clarity in your game.
“He is one of those players with so much time, who knows his game and has got that competitive juice to say right, I’m going to do it today. His record for number of runs scored is phenomenal.”

That hunger for runs shows no sign of abating as a total of 490 runs in 2017 secured Peter a third Strathmore and Perthshire Union Batting Aggregate Cup.

“You can tell Peter is a prized wicket for the opposition,” said father Peter CJ.

“He doesn’t give his wicket away, possibly because he is fed up of remembering his Grandad and his Dad telling him that he’d not score runs back in the pivvy!”

Grandfather Peter M Drummond’s passion for cricket both on and off the field is well-remembered by those who knew him best. Having made his debut for Meigle’s First XI as a fifteen year old in 1937 he became a prolific all-rounder, winning the Laing-Ovenstone Memorial Trophy for the Strathmore Union’s top wicket-taker in 1951 and 1953. He went on to hold a variety of committee posts at Meigle including President and Honorary President before his passing in December 2016 at the age of ninety-five.

“I never saw Grandad play but I know that he was a great player,” said Annette.

“People talk about him as being this incredible cricketer and he was so passionate about it. Any time you went round he would be in the conservatory because Granny had chucked him out of the living room and he would have his massive jigsaw puzzle out and the cricket on the television.

“That’s just what he did and it kind of transferred to our household as well. Cricket is what we would talk about round the dinner table.”

“My Grandad also played for Perthshire which in those days was a select team,” said Peter J.

“They had a core of gentlemen and then they would pick the best players from nearby so it was quite an honour for him to be selected and he was very proud of it.

“He worked on Saturday mornings, though, which made it an issue for him to get to the games so in the end he didn’t play overly much for Perthshire. But although he had stopped playing by the time I had taken up the game his love of cricket was a real inspiration to all of us.”

Peter CJ Drummond followed his father into the Meigle First XI at the age of fifteen, too, and as a member of three title-winning sides his enthusiasm was to exert a similar influence on his young family.

“When I was younger our weekends would consist of packing a wee picnic and going to watch Dad somewhere,” said Annette. “Every other weekend was a wee trip away so it was quite exciting.”

“I took over the scoring when I was about nine or ten which was my Dad’s way of spending quality time with us at the weekend!” laughed Peter J. “But we would always have our kit with us in the back of the car just in case we needed to jump on to the field at some point.”

“One of my strongest memories was watching Meigle play Freuchie in the Village Cup,” said Gordon.

“I think it was in 1985. There were literally a thousand people there, cars all the way down the street. It was a beautiful day, a good game of cricket going on and with Dad being involved too it was really exciting.”

Gordon and Annette would go on to become Meigle’s third and fourth representatives to play for Scotland, with former National Captain Gordon winning 117 caps before his retirement from cricket in 2016.

Annette has been awarded 52 caps for Scotland’s Women and was part of the side that finished fourth at the 2015 Women’s World T20 Qualifier in Thailand.

Peter J Drummond represented his country at age-group level, too, but fierce competition for the lone spot of wicketkeeper was to mean that his long-term career would remain within the club game. A spell with Forfarshire, however, brought experience of Scottish cricket at its highest standard.

“Gordon was living in Edinburgh and had been travelling back home to play but when he decided to try and crack on at a higher level [with Watsonians] I thought I should probably give it a wee bit of thought myself,” he said.

“A few of us joined Forfarshire together including [former Scotland international] Ryan Watson who had been the professional at Meigle. Forfarshire had a lot of really good youngsters at the time and a few older guys who were going out at the top but they didn’t have many in the middle so we kind of filled that hole for them.

“The first year we got promotion to the top division [of the Scottish National Cricket League] and stayed there for two years. It was good, serious cricket which I really enjoyed while I was there.”

Long-term, though, the pull of home remained strong and at the beginning of the 2009 season Peter J returned to Meigle. He was to find a different club waiting for him, however.

“When I came back I saw that things had got into a bit of a sorry state,” he said. “We were still relying on older guys like my Dad, Bill Scott and a few others who were well into their fifties by then.

“The junior set-up had dwindled, too, so it was really hard going for the first couple of years. But [former Meigle player] Iain Stewart [previously Cricket Scotland’s Development Officer for the West of Scotland] moved back into the area and brought with him a massive enthusiasm for the club and that spurred me on as well.

“We kick-started the juniors again, going from four or five youngsters to about thirty-five today. We have a particularly decent crop of twelve year olds at the moment so we’re only half a dozen years away from them becoming massive contributors to the team.”

“Peter’s return to Meigle came at just the right time for us,” said Peter CJ.

“Along with a few others he totally turned the club around. We are now a top four side again and we won our sixth [Strathmore and Perthshire Union] title in 2014.

“But most important of all is the coaching Peter organises at the club. There are now boys and girls of all ages coming down to Victory Park on a Thursday night.”

“You never retire from playing for Meigle!” Peter J laughed. “But more than any personal aspirations on the field my motivation these days is to do what I can to keep the club strong.

“When you have particular goals and are achieving things it keeps you going, but now I’m looking at the kids coming through, their ambitions and their successes.

“They are the future of Meigle and that’s my real motivation today.”

What makes a great cricketer? Is it nature or nurture; hardware, as others have put it, or software? In the case of Peter J Drummond ability, family environment, commitment and drive have combined to produce one of the most decorated and respected clubmen in the history of the Scottish game.

And today, as he focuses on new talent in his role as Meigle’s Junior Convenor, so the next generation begins its journey. The Drummond family, so much a part of the history of this club, will continue to shape its future.

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