Blog - Scotland's Campaign
|Ross Lawson is an aspiring sports journalist, combining his enthusiasm for cricket and Scotland by writing this blog. He also writes for English county cricket website Deep Extra Cover, and spends the rest of his time trying to forget about the recent Ashes series. He tweets here
Before the tournament began, I was amongst many who thought that Scotland’s qualification through the ICC World Cup Qualifiers would be far more likely than not. Not a foregone conclusion by any stretch – that’s a far un-Scottish like optimism, whatever the sport – but a great deal of hope coursed through my veins.
And then we lost to Hong Kong.
It wasn’t a defeat that angered me, nor disappointed me; just one that surprised me.
Hong Kong weren’t the team that were meant to do that. The Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates were the ones most likely to get in the way of our World Cup 2015 bid, with Canada perhaps causing a scare in the preliminary group stage. But not Hong Kong.
The result almost felt like a punishment for optimism, to players, fans, coaches alike: you dared to dream, now fear the consequences.
So the aim from there on was to make the consequences as small as they could be. Treat it as the blip that it was. The Scots had not played badly, but the Hong Kong side played better. It wasn’t the end of the world.
And so it proved to be. Victories in all remaining group games and Super Six encounters led the passage to the Promised Land, including a victory over fellow qualifiers UAE.
It wasn’t all plain sailing though. The first game of the Super Sixes stage saw Namibia recover from 171-6 and 198-7 to scare the Scots in their chase of 281, eventually finishing 22 short on 259. Thankfully, more relaxed victories came over Canada and Papua New Guinea in the games immediately before and after, until the nerves were once again shredded in the narrow overcoming of Kenya to confirm the place in New Zealand and Australia next year.
Substance over style was definitely the desire, particularly with the Netherlands’ shock at the first hurdle. That’s not to say that the personal achievements were not absent: Preston Mommsen’s opening game ton, perhaps ameliorated by his two half-centuries in the last two games, and bettered still by Calum MacLeod’s two tons, his second a Scottish record. The bowlers are not to be overlooked either, with Safyaan Sharif’s four wickets against Kenya a match-winning feat.
It’s important not to under-estimate the role of the coaches, Paul Collingwood and Craig Wright, either. Granted, they led a team expected to do well, but it was not a clear run through the competition, particularly with the disappointment experienced in recent years.
But from here, we can only look forward. The competition ended with victory in the final against the UAE, and now a likely sell-out for a one-day international against a fragile England to look forward to. Then, a year from now, the World Cup, the epitome of one-day cricket. The likes of Kyle Coetzer, Freddie Coleman, Iain Wardlaw, and now Calum MacLeod, will have an extra year of county experience, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll have a surprise up our sleeves.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Scotland.