Adrian Neill Interview
Adrian Neill is one of Scottish cricket's self-effacing characters, so the giant Aberdeenshire bowler found himself in the unfamiliar position of making history at Myreside last weekend when he took all 10 Watsonians wickets for just 31 runs in the CSL Eastern Premiership.
He doesn't go big on Churchillian rhetoric or hyperbole, but there again, when you are 6ft 11in, you can afford to focus on deeds and not words.
It was the latest illustration of the paceman's emerging talent, and secured Neill a place in the record books after becoming the first player to claim a maximum haul of wickets in the CSL. Yet, befitting his laidback reputation, the 21-year-old seemed happiest about the fact that his magnificent spell ensured Aberdeenshire maintained their 100% record in the competition which they won last season.
In fact, as he admitted, the magnitude of what he had done was a tad overwhelming. "It felt a bit unbelievable when it happened and I think my team mates were more excited than I was when I got number 10," said Neill. "I couldn't believe what I had done, to be honest, and it took a while to sink in, but it was obviously a good day."
In basic terms, Neill has the height to trouble any opponents, given the bounce he can extract from the deadest of pitches. Whether he is nasty enough to direct the ball at rivals' throats on a regular basis is another matter, but although he works in the licensed trade in Aberdeen, Neill certainly doesn't lack bottle or high spirits.
He has already claimed 17 wickets in only three CSL games and while his exploits at the weekend were the sporting equivalent of a golfer attaining a hole in one - there's an element of fortune as well as skill in the mix - Neill admitted he had been buoyed by the rare camaraderie within the Mannofield ranks.
"I definitely have been enjoying playing for Aberdeenshire, this is my third season, and it was a great decision to go and play there," said Neill. "I think in all team sports, it's crucial to have a good ethic and morale in the team because everybody has their good days and bad days, so it's important that you know, if you have bad day, that you can count on your teammates to back you up and perform, not just on the field.
"The club as a whole has a good atmosphere and you have the first-team players talking and fielding with the Fourths, so it's excellent that the whole club works as one and is not divided, which I have seen at other clubs I've played for."
It seems to be only a matter of time before Neill progresses to a higher level, and assistant Scottish coach Craig Wright has been keeping tabs on the youngster recently. Indeed, he has already been invited to join the Highlanders squad on a couple of occasions, but had to decline these offers due to work commitments. None of which should diminish the scale of his ambitions in the future.
"It has always been a goal of mine to play cricket at the highest level and I hope one day I can play international cricket or maybe down in England [with a county] and we will hopefully get there," said Neill. "Yes, it's hard to get off work for Highlanders games which are on weekdays, but I am working on it."
If he keeps ripping through adversaries as he did in Edinburgh, one suspects he won't have to wait much longer.