Meigle welcome Kirkwood - Village Cup

14 Jun

From Neil Drysdale

Meigle CCThe National Village Cup has become synonymous with Freuchie, ever since the Fifers' hallowed success against Rowledge at Lord's in 1985.

But this weekend, two other clubs will fight it out for the right to represent Scotland in the later stages of the competition when Meigle tackle Kirkwood at the former's picturesque ground on Sunday.

It promises to be an action-packed affair, given the commitment which both clubs have demonstrated in previous rounds. Kirkwood, a little-known collective from Dumfries & Galloway, shocked Falkland, who had already defeated Freuchie in a typically hard-fought encounter. Meigle, meanwhile, prevailed against both Methlick and Crathie and are determined to continue that progress in front of their local crowd. The winners will be bound for England later in the season and that ensures an increased profile and heightened interest in their community. In short, it is no piffling incentive.

Meigle, for their part, certainly have no shortage of history or tradition on their side. Founded as far back as 1876, the village has nurtured players of the calibre of current Saltire and former Scotland captain, Gordon Drummond, and international batsman, Ralph Laing. They also benefited hugely from the incredible exploits of their nonpareil, Bill Scott, who accumulated over 10,000 runs for the team which describes itself as the "Pride of Perthshire."

Yet, as their player and youth convenor, Peter Drummond, told Cricket Scotland, the current Meigle brigade are far more focused on nurturing the next generation than clinging to past glories.

"The last time we won the Scottish section was in 1991, before the Village Cup rules were changed, so it would be good if we could qualify for the national stage of the tournament," said Drummond, who is no mean performer in his own right, though he missed most of last summer's campaign with a cruciate injury.

"We don't know that much about Kirkwood, but if they were capable of knocking out Falkland, they must be a pretty talented side and we are expecting a tough contest [in the 40-over tie].

"The Village Cup has changed down the years a fair bit from the days when Freuchie went to Lord's. I remember looking after the score book when I was 11 or 12 and the cars would be parked all round the boundary for these kind of matches and they really did generate excitement and anticipation.

"It's not quite as high-profile as it used to be but, hopefully, if we can win on Sunday, that will help spread the word around about the club. We have recently developed our youth system and we have lots of kids coming along to the Kwik Cricket sessions, so I am optimistic about how things are going.

 "But yes, for somebody such as myself [at 34], the prospect of getting a chance to play teams in England is exciting. Times have changed, but it is still a special competition and one in which we are all very proud to be involved."

Meigle have collected a decent amount of prizes and silverware in the last 137 years. They triumphed in the Strathmore Union in 1954, 1961, 1980, 1998 and 2001 and have been the sort of forward-thinking organisation, who have helped put the Scots on the map. Drummond might be self-deprecating about his own contribution - "I haven't scored as many runs as I would have liked so far in 2013 " - yet he and his colleagues could forge their own imprint on the Village Cup during the next few days.

It promises to be a visceral occasion, between rivals who probably didn't expect to progress this far. Now, though, their appetite for further success has been whetted. Cue the drama!

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