Scotland - Five of the best

05 May

From Neil Drysdale

When Scotland tackle England’s finest at Mannofield on Friday, they will be chasing the kind of attention-making victory which such countries as Ireland, The Netherlands and Afghanistan have managed in recent years. Yet, although the Scots have still to savour success over one of the ICC’s really big guns on the ODI stage, they have enjoyed a number of spectacular wins during their time at the crease. Here we recount five of the more significant triumphs, stretching all the way back to the 1880s. It might be asking a lot for Kyle Coetzer’s men to add to the list in Aberdeen, considering the strength of the squad picked by Peter Moores, but anything is possible on the one-day stage.

Leslie Balfour Melvile

1882: A large crowd convened at Raeburn Place in Edinburgh on Saturday, July 29 for what turned into a fantastic performance from Leslie Balfour-Melville’s team against Billy Murdoch’s tourists, who had earlier beaten England at The Oval – the result which sparked the creation of “The Ashes”. The visitors batted first and collapsed from 51 for 1 to 63 for 5, undone by some excellent bowling from Peter Thompson and Robert Macnair – who between them sent down 52 overs for a combined haul of six for 66. Although Murdoch chipped in with some useful runs at the end, his side could only muster a paltry 122 and the sizeable audience wondered if the Scots could chase down their target.

There may have been nerves jangling elsewhere, but Balfour-Melville was a superb all-round sportsman, adept in such diverse pursuits as athletics, golf and billiards, and he was in his element, supported by Joseph Cotterill and James Walker. Murdoch switched his bowlers around and tried a myriad of different options, but it was to no avail as his opposite number passed his half-century and moved on to an unbeaten 73. Balfour-Melville’s innings was the catalyst for a seven-wicket win and his efforts were understandably greeted with jubilation by all the home spectators. 

1986: Scotland’s entry into what was then the B&H Cup was hardly an instant success story, as might have been expected whenever their amateur personnel locked horns with seasoned county professionals. Matters seemed to be following a predictable path when the Scots met Lancashire at North Inch in Perth on May 10 and the hosts struggled to 156 for 9 from their 50 overs against a bowling attack including England stars Paul Allott and Mike Watkinson and West Indian paceman Patrick Patterson. Richard Swan top-scored with 31 and there were knocks of 28 and 27 from Iain Philip and Neil Burnett, but the total didn’t seem sufficient to trouble the strong Lancashire line-up.

However, the latter found batting just as difficult and, despite passing 60 with just one wicket down, they subsequently collapsed in a heap, discomfited by such stalwart figures as Peter Duthie, Omar Henry and Dallas Moir. 93 for 3 became 119 for 8 and although there was a nerve-jangling climax, with the last pair adding 14, Scotland won the match by three runs. It was their first success against any English team in a limited-overs competition and Duthie’s three for 31 in 11 overs – including the prized scalps of Graeme Fowler and Neil Fairbrother – set the tone for a resilient display from the underdogs.

1998: If ever any game twisted and turned, it was the engrossing tussle between Scotland at Worcestershire at The Grange on June 24. The hosts seemed to be on course for a massive total while Bruce Patterson (71) and Mike Allingham (54) compiled an impressive 118-run stand. Yet they struggled to maintain that momentum thereafter and had to be satisfied with 244 for 6 from their 60 overs. That appeared to be far more than the visitors could chase, following a wonderful spell from Craig Wright, whose 12 overs included five maidens and as many wickets for only 23 runs, including such dangerous Test-class opponents as Graeme Hick, Tom Moody and Vikram Solanki. However, the county side rallied from the depths of 98 for 6 through the unlikely pairing of Stuart Lampitt and Gavin Haynes who added 131 together and a tense climax ensued. Greig Williamson was up to the occasion, though, and sealed victory for his team with the wickets of Lampitt and Steve Rhodes. Once again, the margin was tight – four runs. But, over the piece, the Scots were the better ensemble and Wright the star performer.

2003: It was one of the greatest individual performances in the history of Scottish cricket and the only pity was it happened at a soggy Grange with a mere smattering of fans in the ground. When Ryan Watson walked to the crease in the Totesport League game on May 9 against Somerset, he knew the Saltires required an improbable 180 runs from just 15 overs in the rain-affected contest. Marcus Trescothick had earlier smashed 80 from only 44 deliveries, but that was totally eclipsed by Watson, who battered and bewildered the county attack during his unbeaten 103 (again from 44 balls), which featured ten 4s and seven 6s. It was a brutal demolition job, especially on hapless spinner Keith Dutch, who went for 48 runs from his two overs. The Scots won by six wickets and it was fitting Watson remained to see the job completed. The Cidermen were stunned by the finish. Only two days previously, they had romped to victory in the C & G Trophy at the same venue, but this was a reminder of how swiftly fortunes can change on a cricket field.  Video Highlights

2012: Scotland had never defeated an ICC Full Member country, but that all changed on July 24 when Richie Berrington struck an imperious hundred – in a T20 match – to help his compatriots record an emphatic win over Bangladesh in The Hague. The Greenock all-rounder showed his full repertoire of strokes en route to his century, hitting ten 4s and five 6s from just 56 balls, and making the lion’s share of his side’s 162 for 7 off his own bat. The Bangladeshis started their reply in menacing fashion, but three wickets apiece for Majid Haq and Josh Davey eventually reduced them to 128 all out. However, there was no doubting which player was the star of the show.

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