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Keith Morton reflects on an emotional day at Meikleriggs

Cricket Scotland @CricketScotland
August 27, 2019 3 weeks
Keith Morton reflects on an emotional day at Meikleriggs

When Heriot’s captain Keith Morton lifted the silverware after his club’s Citylets Scottish Cup final victory over Carlton on Sunday evening it was extra special to him for a number of reasons.

For one it means that Keith, 29, has now led Heriot’s to a clean sweep of trophies during his five years at the helm of the first XI, this Cup triumph following in the footsteps of previous CSL Eastern Premier Division glory and wins in the National T20 event and the Murgitroyd Masterton Trophy.

And secondly it was a fitting way to end what has been a tough time personally for him and the Goldenacre club who have had to deal with the passing of Morton’s own father Willie and the passing of fellow first XI player Joe Kinghorn-Gray’s father Mark during the last few weeks.

Willie was a former Scotland internationalist and one of Keith’s first coaches while they played in a Cup final together for Penicuik against Ferguslie back in 2008.

It was a lovely moment therefore when Keith lifted the trophy to the sky after their four wicket win to show his dad what he had achieved and then was able to share the moment with his mother Donna and his wife Hannah in the late sunshine at Ferguslie’s Meikleriggs ground.

“This Cup win is dedicated to the people who should have been at the match but sadly weren’t – we did it for them,” Keith, who has now played in four Cup finals and won two, said poignantly after the match.

“It has been a tough time, but focusing on cricket has helped and I put a lot of pressure on myself leading into the final because I wanted this so much. 

“I would have like to have still been batting at the end when we won, it wasn’t to be, but thankfully the guys pulled through for me.

“The way we dug in on the day shows everyone all you need to know about my team and the club as a whole and we are all always there for each other on and off the pitch which is what makes this success so memorable.”

In the match, after Carlton had posted 142-7 batting first, Heriot’s got home in the 47thover with four wickets in hand after an enthralling afternoon.

“We lost the toss and Carlton decided to bat first. If I had won the toss I would have probably bowled first anyway because I wasn’t sure what the surface was going to do and I wouldn’t have wanted to take that gamble with our batting as I wasn’t quite sure what a good score would be,” Keith stated.

“When it came to the match our bowlers bowled really well and were very consistent.

“Michael Shean bowled a great set, Ryan Brown came on later on and did a great job and the other guys backed them up well.

“To restrict Carlton to 142 was a great effort and then, with the bat, we knew that it was going to be a score we were going to have to get, it wasn’t going to come towards us.

“With the bat we have a top five that can compete with any team in the country.

“It didn’t quite happen for Peter Ross and Mark Watt in this game while Elnathan Meiri was batting well and would have liked to stay in longer to get us closer to victory.

“Sheany [Shean] came in at five and scored quite quickly which was good for us at that time while Hayes [van der Berg, the Heriot’s professional] was just superb.

“We had to make sure that somebody could bat through to win the game and we knew he could do it.

“Nothing was getting through Hayes’ defences, even when the Carlton pro [Corne Dry] came back on he couldn’t get that breakthrough.

“It got a bit nervy, as these things do, when myself and Chris Ashforth got out, but Hayes [40 not out] just kept going and Ryan Brown [12 not out] helped him out well to get us over the line.”

This Cup glory was even more impressive when you consider that Heriot’s nearly lost out to West of Scotland in the last eight.

Heriot’s batted first in that game at Goldenacre in July and 89 from Peter Ross helped them to make 234-7 from their 50 overs.

When West made it to 174-2 after 33 overs of their reply they looked in control however.

Then seam bowlers Callum Stuart and van der Berg returned to the attack and things changed completely.

West lost key men Rory Kleinveldt (41) and David Braithwaite (83) and the rest of their batting line-up imploded.

Stuart recorded brilliant figures of 5-33 as West finished on 219 all out to lose by 15 runs.

“It was some Cup run,” Keith said.

“We beat Watsonians and then Prestwick and I still can’t believe that we then got the better of West of Scotland because we were really up against it before Callum and Hayes bowled superb spells at the end.

“There was then a very good win against Arbroath in the semi-final and to win the trophy with this group of lads is very special.”

Keith and his team are not quite done with the 2019 season yet – they will be in Dumfries for the rearranged National T20 finals day on September 8.

Whatever happens on that day the skipper can look back on the last five years with a great deal of pride and the club remarked on social media:  “A clean sweep of domestic trophies as captain is a remarkable achievement and fully deserved for the relentless time, effort and energy Keith has given to the club.

“One of the greatest captains in the 130 years of Heriot’s Cricket Club.”

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