U19 Warm Up for ICC Tournament
The Scotland U19 squad have been warming up for their World Cup Qualifying tournament in Holland this August with warm up matches against the MCC and the Northern Universities Student Club Cricket Elite this week.
Scotland U19 v MCC (Monday 15th July) (Arbroath CC)
Following their two matches against the New South Wales Schools, Scotland U19 continued their build-up to the World Cup Qualifying tournament with their annual fixture against the MCC at Lochlands, Arbroath. On yet another sunny and warm day, Scotland U19 captain Ross McLean won the toss and elected to bat.
With Andrew Umeed on duty with Warwickshire U19s, Michael English opened the batting and in partnership with McLean got the Scotland innings off to a steady start against the Grange duo of Raj Routray and spinner Andrew Brock.
The score had moved to 63 before former Warwickshire player Mike Powell trapped English LBW for 22 in the 15th over. McLean (39) then top edged a sweep off former Scotland captain Ryan Watson and Nick Farrar, Kyle Stirling and Lyle Hill all fell for single figure scores as Watson caused problems with his off-spin to leave Scotland in trouble at 136 for 5.
However, Zander Muir was playing confidently and along with Alex Baum (28) and then Gavin Main (31) rebuilt the innings playing very responsibly throughout the batting powerplay, and still keeping wickets in hand to increase the scoring rate towards the end of the 50 overs.
Scotland finished on 254 for 8 with Muir having compiled an excellent 81 not out (101 balls), for the MCC Watson the stand-out bowler with figures of 4 for 48.
MCC openers Fergus Black and home favourite Fraser Burnett were troubled by the pace of Gavin Main who clean bowled Burnett (16) and had Glenrothes overseas player Chris Greaves LBW for 4.
Niall Alexander had Black (5) caught behind by Baum, and Abdul Sabri produced a fine delivery to dismiss Mike Powell (10) before Chayank Gosain bowled Aberdeenshire’s Calum Martin (16) to reduce the MCC to 64 for 5.
The Glenrothes pair of Watson and Greg Hopcroft set about rebuilding the innings with a partnership of 50 when Hopcroft (19) was run out by English, and Watson (41) bowled by Alexander with the MCC still requiring over 100 runs to win. The dangerous Jamie Kerr (44) then set about counter-attacking the Scotland bowlers, and along with lower order batsmen Brock (10), Routray (24no) and Legget (19no) the MCC continued to fight.
It all made for an exciting climax which eventually saw the MCC falling 19 runs short of their target on 235 for 9 - Main, Alexander, Sabri and Gosain all taking two wickets for Scotland.
As always the hospitality and conditions at Arbroath were excellent, and the MCC provided a competitive game.
Next up for the Scotland team were their final warm-up matches against the Northern Universities in Durham.
Scotland U19 v NUSCC (Wednesday 17th July) (Blackhall CC)
The Scotland U19 team headed south for the traditionally competitive fixtures against the Northern Universities Students team, this time at the new venue of Blackhall CC in the Colliery village of the same name.
Captain McLean again won the toss, and despite the match being played on a used pitch decided to give his team the opportunity to chase a target since they had batted first in recent games.
The Universities openers started in aggressive fashion, in particular Proud who hit five boundaries in his score of 30. However, Gavin Main was making serious inroads at the other end, clean bowling Davis, having Ghauri excellently caught by Umeed low at slip, and Central Districts first class player Roald Badenhorst caught by Hill at square leg.
The introduction of spinner Gosain saw further success for the Scots, as Davis chipped one straight back to the bowler to be caught & bowled for a hard hitting 30, then clean bowled Purshouse for 1 leaving NUSCC in trouble on 69 for 5.
Knight (28) and Shaw (21) began rebuilding the innings but with the score on 114, Knight picked out Umeed on the deep mid-wicket boundary off the bowling of McLean. Then, first ball of the next over Shaw played an injudicious shot given the circumstances and was caught at long on by Farrar to give Mark Watt his first wicket of the match.
From that point the innings capitulated with Michael English taking two wickets from his solitary over. McLean picking up his 2nd to see the NUSCC bowled out for just 125 on a decent batting surface and lightning fast outfield.
Scotland set out to do a clinical job of chasing down the target, and openers Umeed and McLean did just that with a partnership of 120 for the first wicket. The only blemishes were the dismissals of Umeed (61) and Baum (4) just before the target had been reached.
McLean remained 48 not out to see his team home with 8 wickets and 26 overs remaining to complete a comprehensive victory in the first game of the two match series.
Scotland U19 v NUSCC (Thursday 18th July) (Blackhall CC)
Another scorching day greeted the teams for Scotland’s final pre-World Cup qualifier warm-up match. The Universities team would have been keen to improve on their performance from the previous day, and Scotland to continue their winning form leading into the tournament.
McLean won his third toss of the week and this time chose to bat on a wicket expected to take significant turn. For the second day running Umeed and McLean set a tremendous platform for the Scotland innings with their second consecutive 100 partnership for the first wicket at good pace, with three figures up in the 19th over.
The introduction of spin changed the complexion of the innings with McLean (54) chipping a catch to mid-wicket off Street, and Muir, Farrar and English departed in quick succession as Street and left arm spinner Lukic turned the screw. From 105 for 0 Scotland found themselves in a bit of trouble at 127 for 4.
Umeed continued to hold the innings together and rotate the strike well, and along with Kyle Stirling turned the momentum of the game back in Scotland’s favour with a partnership of 103.
This provide the opportunity for Scotland to attack the final overs of the innings with wickets in hand, and when Stirling was caught at long-on for an aggressive 52 (50 balls), Baum (27 off 16) and then Lyle Hill (14no off 7) boosted the score to 298 for 6 at the end of the 50 overs. Umeed carried his bat to finish on an excellent and chanceless 118 not out having faced 139 deliveries.
For the hosts to chase down a large total it was inevitable that the Universities batsmen would come hard at Scotland. This proved to be the case Davis and Proud raced to 45 in just the 5th over before Proud was bowled by a Gavin Main slower ball for 22 off just 12 balls.
Spinner Gosain who had opened the bowling then almost immediately induced Lancaster to provide a return catch. This brought Davis together with Badenhorst and together they compiled an excellent partnership of 105, never allowing the Scottish spinners or medium pacers to settle.
Just as the NUSCC team would have felt they were on top Kyle Stirling produced a sharp piece of fielding to run out Davis for a stylish 71, then Ghauri was unluckily bowled behind his legs off his thigh pad by Farrar.
Dangerman Badenhorst was still at the crease and looking a real threat with NUSCC progressing to 180 for 4 in the 34th over and having the powerplay to come when he pulled an Andrew Umeed short ball to Michael English at mid-wicket to be caught for 60.
Despite this set-back, the Universities batsman continued to attack and with a short boundary on one side and some loose bowling from the Scots ensured the hosts were never out of the game. Knight (27), Purshouse (30), Lukic (23no) and Wright (16) all contributed to taking the game almost down to the wire.
NUSCC eventually ran out of wickets 17 runs short of the winning line to be all out for 281 - An excellent attempt to chase down such a daunting target.
Many thanks go to John Holland of the Northern Universities Students Cricket Club for organising these matches, and to Blackhall CC for providing an excellent venue and hospitality at short notice.
So, a productive week for the Scotland U19 team who go into the European World Cup qualifying tournament on the back of four consecutive victories, a winning run they will need to continue with only one European team to progress to the 2014 U19 World Cup.