Gordon Drummond says farewell to cricket
Anyone who has watched Gordon Drummond play cricket over the years or has got to know him is well aware that he gives 100% to whatever he does.
And, as he retires from first XI cricket having just won the double with Carlton, the 36-year-old can look back on his career with a sense of great pride.
Growing up in the village of Meigle in Strathmore, Gordon was always likely to get involved in cricket because both his grandfather and his father were keen players.
Along with his brother he soon headed along to the local club and his yearly routine became cricket in the summer and football in the winter.
“It certainly helped that we grew up in a small village because it meant that we were never far away from the cricket ground and we would often head up there for extra training,” Gordon recounts.
“What a small village also means is that you are catapulted into senior cricket perhaps earlier than you would have been if you were at a bigger city club.
“I was around 14 or 15 when I started playing in the Meigle first XI and it was a steep learning curve, but a good one because you were playing against good sides week in and week out and it forced you to think about your cricket more and grow up fast.”
When he left school, Gordon headed to Telford College in Edinburgh and then moved on to Napier University.
It was in the summer of 1999 that, as part of his studies, Gordon approached George Watson’s College to ask if he could come along to Myreside and help with coaching some of the school teams.
The head of PE at the time Iain Brown and cricket coach Willie Morton were more than happy to welcome him into the fold.
“I enjoyed my time coaching there and it began a coaching journey for me that is still going to this day. I have always enjoyed trying to help players reach their full potential,” Gordon said.
“Through my coaching at George Watson’s I got to know Neil McCallum and he invited me along to play for Watsonians.
“I still remember to this day that in my first match for the club I was opening the bowling with Dewald Nel for the second XI.
“We could not have imagined that a few years later we would be playing for Scotland together, but that is how things sometimes work out.
“The following week I was into the first XI and over the next few seasons I loved my time at Myreside.
“We had a good group of core players who enjoyed themselves, but also played hard cricket while to learn from people like Scotland cap McCallum and pro James Henderson from South Africa really helped me.
“They pushed me to become a better player and get myself as fit as I could be while I also undertook extra training on my own and became pretty focused.”
A stint playing abroad in 2006 in Whangarei in New Zealand as a player/coach in 2006 also helped Gordon’s progression.
He said: “When you go abroad you are in at the deep end because, as the overseas player, you are expected to perform straight away and week in, week out.
“I knuckled down and enjoyed the time there while it taught me a lot about coaching and made me realise that that was something I really wanted to push on with
“I had played a few times by Scotland ‘A’ by then and was skippering Watsonians so I was edging towards a Scotland call-up.”
A debut for the full Scotland side came in June 2007 when they took on Warwickshire in the Friends Provident Trophy at The Grange.
Gordon came on as first change bowler and his first wicket at that level was that of England cap Darren Maddy.
Scotland lost the 50-over contest by 96-runs, but Gordon was pleased to have made the breakthrough.
“It was nice that my first wicket was caught by my old friend Macca [McCallum] and I was buzzing to have played that match,” he recounts.
“I was then involved on and off for a while after that and I was learning a lot about my game.”
A ODI debut came the following month against the West Indies in Dublin and then a First-class debut followed in August against the Netherlands in Aberdeen.
In 2009 Gordon changed club allegiances to Carlton while he was also tasked with coaching the juniors at Grange Loan.
He admits the coaching side of the role at the club was a big draw for him and Gordon was becoming known as one of the most reliable players around with his accurate seam bowling and useful batting.
In 2010 Gavin Hamilton stood down as captain of Scotland and Gordon was handed the sought after position.
He said: “The coach at the time Pete Steindl phoned me up and said ‘we have faith in you and we want to back you as our captain’ and that was good enough for me.
“To be asked to captain my country made me very proud and although I knew it was going to be a tough and busy job it was something that I gave my all to right from the start.
“It was also nice for my family to see me run out as Scotland captain because they have backed me all the way and followed me all over place.
“I know I wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea as a player, but what I always did was give 100% in training and in matches and I expected the same from any team I was leading.
“The guys respected me for that, I think, and we had some high points while it was also good to see young players improve and come through during my time at the helm.
“We had a good team spirit and I was always proud of the effort my Scotland teams gave during what was a transitional phase.”
Gordon stepped down from the role in 2013 and retired from international cricket later that same year.
In all he played 30 ODIs and 17 T20Is as well as a whole host of First-class, List A and other T20 matches whilst wearing the thistle.
During his whole career Gordon worked alongside playing and often used his annual leave to play for his country.
For many years he worked with Edinburgh Council in sports roles and helped the likes of Harris Aslam, Mark Watt and Leigh Kasperek progress their cricket to the next level.
Now he works for Scottish Gymnastics and is very much enjoying finding out more about a different sport and helping it grown north of the border.
And he has loved his time at Carlton, being part of a team that has always played attractive cricket and for whom 2016 is one that will not be forgotten in a while.
The first XI, led by Steve Gilmour, won the CSL Eastern Premiership and last weekend defeated Clydesdale to be crowned Grand Final champions.
It was fitting that that encounter against the West champions was at Carlton’s Grange Loan ground while Drummond took catches in the slips off the bowling of Omar Ahmad to dismiss Clydesdale’s key men Richie Berrington and Con de Lange.
“I was pleased to hold on to those catches, though I did drop another which my mum got on my case about after the match,” Gordon laughed.
“Seriously though it was a great performance by the guys and to go out from first XI cricket having won two trophies is brilliant.
“The whole squad really performed well this summer and the young players who have come in stepped up to the mark when required.
“I will still be around cricket going forward in my role as Scotland under-19 coach and will be aiming to help out a bit at Carlton as they have been good to me and I want to see even more of their quality young players progress into the first XI.”
In recent days players who have played with or against Gordon over the years have spoken in glowing terms about his career and he is well respected in Scottish cricket.
“I have some brilliant memories from the last few years and made some good friends - cricket is a great sport to be involved in,” he concluded.
By Gary Heatly