Scotland’s men ended the year by taking three points from the latest round of Cricket World Cup League 2 fixtures.
One win, two defeats and a no result were perhaps not the results that head coach and his charges were looking for to bring 2019 to a close, but with the under-19s heading off to a World Cup in January and competition for places in the full squad growing on the time there is plenty to look forward to in 2020.
In the first game in Sharjah against the USA last Monday, Scotland got off to the best possible start when Safyaan Sharif bowled Xavier Marshall with the very first ball of the 50-overs-a-side clash.
When spinner Mark Watt bowled Steve Taylor the Americans were 30-2 before Monank Patel and Aaron Jones came together at the crease and put together a 140 run partnership.
By the time Patel was out for 82 off 102 balls – caught by Ali Evans off Richie Berrington – in the 36th over the USA were 17-3 and had a good base to build from.
Jones made 74 while the game-changing innings probably came from Ian Holland made 44 from 29 balls.
That helped the USA post a healthy 282-8 with Watt the pick of the Scotland bowlers with 4-42 and Sharif taking 3-55.
Scotland’s reply did not get off to the best start, openers Matthew Cross and Kyle Coetzer, the skipper, going early to leave them 16-2.
Michael Jones and Calum MacLeod then put on 97 for the third wicket before the former fell for 52.
MacLeod went on to top score with 82 and Berrington and Dylan Budge made 34 and 27 respectively, but wickets kept falling and in the end the team were 247 all out to lose by 35 runs.
The second match two days later against the UAE was called off meaning the Scots were next in action on Saturday.
They were taking on the USA again and this really was a cracker of a match that ebbed and flowed.
Once again Scotland took an early wicket with USA batting first, Josh Davey removing Patel in the second over.
Fellow opener Marshall made 50 though and number three batsman Taylor 56 to give their side something to build on though.
Nisarg Patel and Cameron Stevenson made 38 and 34 respectively lower down the order, but the Scotland bowling attack kept things pretty tight in general as the USA made 245-9.
Watt was again the pick of the bowlers with 3-33 while Davey, Evans and Hamza Tahir all took two wickets apiece.
In the Scottish reply, the ever-reliable MacLeod made 62 and Berrington 36, but things were still in the balance on 188-6 in the 41st over when the former fell.
Cue Sharif and Davey to come together for a superb 58 run partnership, the duo making 26 not out and 26 not out respectively to get their team home by four wickets with just seven balls remaining.
That left the final match against the UAE to be played on Sunday.
Cross and Coetzer came to the party as Scotland batted first and they put on 138 runs in just less than 28 overs to give their side a solid base.
Sadly, the team could not kick on from there as they would have liked with Budge’s 24 the next best score to Coetzer’s 95 and Cross 53 meaning that the team were all out for a below-par 220.
UAE got off to a good start and had 62 on the board before Vriitya Aravind was caught behind by wicketkeeper Cross off the bowling of Tahir.
Fellow opener Chirag Suri made 67, Basil Hameed 63 not out and Muhammad Usman 36 not out as the UAE got home with seven wickets to spare, Stuart Whittingham and Budge the other Scotland wicket-takers.