The History of Cricket in Scotland

Cricket in Scotland is at least 225 years old. The first match for which records are available was played in September 1785 at Schaw Park, Alloa, between two teams populated by members of the aristocracy of the time.

However, the game was more generally introduced to Scotland by English soldiers garrisoned in the country in the years following the Jacobite rising led by Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745; and it is no coincidence that the oldest known club is Kelso (records date back to 1820), in the Borders, then a garrison town. The origins of cricket in Perth, where cricket was also played at a very early stage, was also for the same reason.

In other areas, including the Borders of Scotland, the game seems to have been introduced by immigrant English workers in the paper, textile and iron industries, while in Edinburgh the game was taken up in the mid ninteenth century by the main Schools in the area, most prominently initially by the Royal High School & Edinburgh Academy.

The first representative game of any standing was in 1849, when the All England XI came to Edinburgh to play a 22 man team representing Scotland. This match provoked great interest and similar visits followed over the next few years, representative games also being played in other Cities & Towns. Scotland matches played on an eleven a side basis date from 1865, against a total of more than 30 countries, including all the Test-playing nations, and numerous other select teams, including, of course, the MCC. But the development of Scotland's international standing was more-or-less ignored for the best part of the 20th century, with three-day matches against Ireland, MCC, touring Test teams and the occasional County side being the only ones granted 'first-class' status.

In 1980, Scotland was invited to take part in England's Benson and Hedges Cup and NatWest Trophy one-day competitions. In a further development, Scotland resigned from membership of the UK Cricket Council in 1992, effectively severing links with England in the cricketing sense, and in 1994 was elected to Associate Membership of the International Cricket Council (ICC). This gave Scotland its own voice in world cricket and the national team took part for the first time in the ICC Trophy held in Kuala Lumpur in March/April 1997. Third place qualified Scotland for the ICC World Cup in 1999 hosted by England, and Scotland themselves hosted two games (against New Zealand & Bangladesh) at The Grange Club in Edinburgh.

Although failing to qualify for the 2003 World Cup, Scotland made significant inroads in professionalising the game in Scotland. The first part of this was Scotland's acceptance into the English Sunday League competition in 2003, for a period of three years. This involved playing a minimum of 18 matches of top class cricket against the English counties, giving both players and administrators the level of experience necessary for Scotland's progress to One-Day International status.

In a halcyon period for the Scotland International side, they won the inaugural (three-day) ICC Intercontinental Cup in November 2004, and then the 2005 ICC Trophy in Dublin by beating old rivals Ireland, putting the Scots into 12th place in the global rankings. This gave Scotland qualification for the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies. Placed in the hardest Group, no successes were achieved in the Tournament and there was further disappointment at not achieving qualification for the 2011 World Cup.

The International teams then entered a transitional phase, with the retiral of several key players from the previous few years. It was 2011 before Scotland emerged with a fully competitive team, most notably winning four consecutive One Day Internationals against Afganistan, Netherlands (twice) and Ireland. Following defeat by Sri Lanka, they continued a successful path by beating Northamptonshire & Warwickshire on consecutive days in the CB40 Competition.



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