Scotland take on Netherlands in 150th anniversary of their first-ever match

11 Jul

Scotland’s cricketers will today attempt to mark the 150th anniversary of the national side’s first-ever match by stepping-up their bid to reach the T20 World Cup. 

Preston Mommsen’s men face the Netherlands at The Grange, Edinburgh, and are aiming for the second win of their qualifying campaign following Thursday’s nine-wicket demolition of the UAE. 

The all-action hustle and bustle of T20 with its white ball and coloured kit would not be recognised as the same game played by Scotland’s ground-breaking group of 19th century cricketers. 

Mommsen’s first predecessor Robert Balfour led out a motley crew – a combination of serious players and those there just to make up the numbers – for the country’s first representative game against Surrey at the Oval in 1865. 

They were good enough to win the two-day match, played at a much more sedate pace than will be on view today, thanks largely to the bowling heroics of David Buchanan who claimed eleven wickets in the match.

Buchanan was one of the first great exponents of left-arm spin bowling who played for Grange before heading south to make his name as captain of Warwickshire and one of the best bowlers of his generation. 

His namesake Colonel David Buchanan also played in the match but is best remembered as a founding member of both Drumpellier and West of Scotland cricket clubs. 

The Scottish team included three Australians who were selected apparently only on the basis of having been educated in Edinburgh. 

Scotland even looked for divine intervention with the inclusion of Rev John Hood for his one and only appearance for the country. 

Cricket Scotland historian Neil Leitch said: “John Hood must have been someone who made up numbers as he had no known connection with Scotland but he was no doubt a welcome addition to the team as he top-scored with 39 not out in the first innings. 

“Obviously that game 150 years ago is a far cry from the cricket we all watch nowadays but it is a very significant anniversary in the history of the Scottish game. 

“It will be fitting if Preston’s side can mark the occasion with victory today.” 

Meanwhile Mark Watt, Scotland’s latest talented left-arm spinner, will again be handed a key role as Mommsen’s side attempt to stifle Holland’s hard-hitting batsmen.

The Heriot’s youngster, who claimed three UAE wickets, said: “I’ve been delighted to be able to break into the full squad and things have started pretty well.

“I think T20 suits my bowling style and I back myself to bowl with a bit of variation.

“We know there’s a tough month of cricket ahead and it was good to make a winning start to it but each game will bring a new challenge.”

Grant Bradburn, the Scotland coach, will decide this morning whether to tinker with a winning line-up. 

Both Leicestershire’s Rob Taylor and Con de Lange of Clydesdale, who have been nursing minor injuries, are fit for selection. 

The Dutch meanwhile are bidding to bounce back from their opening day defeat to Afghanistan.

View other news from July 2015

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