10 year anniversary of Scotland's I-Cup win
In a tribute to mark the 10 year anniversary of Scotland’s triumphant Intercontinental Cup campaign in 2004 we look back with some of the key players involved in the tournament.
In the first of two articles we start with the group games against the Netherlands in Aberdeen and then Ireland in Dublin.
An early lunch was taken on the first morning of the opening fixture between Holland and Scotland due to a soggy Mannofield outfield. The Scots found themselves in a bit of trouble as play got underway and early wickets fell.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, the hosts were reduced to 143/5. However, a strong rear-guard action from Cedric English (61) and captain Craig Wright (88) helped to amass a handy first innings score of 314/7.
The Netherlands were bowled out for 257 in response, and Scotland replied with 250/8 dec, thanks to a half century from Bruce Patterson and 79 runs by Fraser Watts. The final innings of the match saw a determined Baz Zuiderent and Luk Van Troost earn the visitors a draw.
Next up were celtic rivals, Ireland, at Clontarf Cricket Club in Dublin. Scotland would only qualify if they could pull off a comprehensive victory. Ireland, on the other hand, only had to avoid defeat to qualify for the semi-finals in Dubai.
“They were all 3 day games back then, so we thought they [Ireland] would prepare a flat wicket to make it very hard for us to force a result – but to our surprise, the wicket was a raging green seamer” Dougie Lockhart remembers.
It was a game where Eoin Morgan made his first-class debut for the men in green, although his progress in the match was stifled by another debutant that day, wicket-keeper Simon Smith, who completed two catches from Wright’s bowling, to ensure Morgan was dismissed without making too much of an impression.
“It played into our hands really with our seam bowlers taking 18 out of the 20 wickets, and then it was down to us to compile the biggest score of the match in the second innings”, Smith said.
The match was set up nicely after four wickets for swing bowler, Asim Butt, shot out Ireland for 193 in their first dig. A comprehensive Caledonian win was now starting look unlikely when the Scots could only muster 167ao in response.
However, Butt started the second innings in inspired form, and ensured the set Scottish target for victory wasn’t as large as it could have been, as the ball nipped and swung on the green Irish deck - claiming a 5 wicket haul to complement his 4 victims in the first innings to set a target of 205 for victory.
The chase stuttered at the start with Butt and Paterson back in the hutch early on, with only 28 runs on the board.
According to Smith “There were a few superstitious members of the group, so as we got the run-chase underway, there were guys staying in their seats, others in the dressing room not able to watch - we were all pretty nervous.”
Dougie Lockhart who was presented with the task of getting the chase back on track recalls, “Fraser Watts and I dug in and tried to build a partnership. The ball was still moving around off the seam. We set small targets of getting through 15 minutes at a time, wearing down the Irish bowlers. In the last hour of day 2, Fraser became increasingly fluent and by stumps we had recovered to 120 for 2.”
Suddenly the weather intervened to put Scotland’s chances of victory in jeopardy as the situation took another twist.
“It was raining as we arrived at the ground the next day, but credit to the groundsman and his staff, they tried their hardest to get the game on, and we eventually got back out there”, Smith said with a wry smile.
"Thankfully the rain eased and we got back on and Fraser went on the complete a magnificent hundred. In the pressure situation, I think it was one of Fraser’s best ever innings for Scotland, finishing unbeaten on 118 and I stayed with him until the end in an unbroken partnership of 178. I finished 53 not out and it is one of my favourite innings for Scotland." Lockhart regales.
Watts recalls Scotland’s charge, “Dougie Lockhart and I had a pretty decent unbeaten partnership. I always enjoy batting with Dougie, we have similar attitudes to the game and we’re very passionate about cricket and playing for Scotland.”
It was a watchful innings of real substance by Watts, complimented by Lockhart, which helped Scotland get over the line to complete a famous victory against their Irish counterparts, to spark the celebrations in the camp.
Like many teams who are at the top of their game, confidence was a key part of their success, Watts thinks this team was no different “The mood in the camp was always brilliant in those days, we all loved playing for Scotland and we're just a good balance side with no inflated egos, so everyone got on really well which I think translated to our cricket.”
Part two reflects on the semi-final and final as the Scots marched on to Abu Dhabi and Dubai.