Fulton’s Flyers eventually flew the nest today at the Last Man Stands World Championships in Cape Town, losing their semi-final against the Yankee Royals by three wickets after an unnecessarily early start.
Originally, the Plate final was to be played before the main final in the early afternoon, which necessitated the completion of the two semi-finals. But last-minute re-arrangements by the organisers reversed the two finals, with the Plate final postponed to the last of the five games in the day, starting at 5pm. There was therefore no need to keep the semi-finals to a 9am and 11am start.
So it was a still-sleepy Fulton’s Flyers team who batted first and fell short of setting a defendable target in the first Plate semi-final. Kasim Farid (51no from 27 balls) was the pick of the Scots batsmen, although even he found the gusty, windy conditions difficult to cope with. Bowlers of both sides, too, struggled to control line and length, turning the game into even more of a cricketing lottery than usual. Certainly 142 for four was never going be enough to stretch the ambitious Yankee team’s target, which they achieved with nine balls to spare.
But for the Flyers – and for Scottish cricket – it was an inspiring week. For a start, four guaranteed games turned into six out of a maximum of seven which only the two finalist teams would experience. The young Scots, all of them members of Clydesdale Cricket Club, were by general consent among the more talented all-round performers. And their team spirit and friendly camaraderie towards other teams was much admired.
Their attitude attracted numerous enquiries about cricket in Scotland from those who did not realise the game north of the Border has a pedigree of 200+ years. There could be more overseas touring sides seeking fixtures in Scotland in the next year or two.
Our thanks go to the HF Group of facilities servicing companies in Glasgow for their practical support and generous sponsorship, as well as Glasgow Sport for their precious travel grants, and various other advertisers and donors who decided to contribute to our enterprise.
We also thank all who supported the team in South Africa, notably Jim, Helen and Fiona Drummond and Mr and Mrs Colin Mills, well known in Edinburgh circles, who basked in the Flyer’s growing and glowing reputation.
Our disappointment at not taking that final step to the Plate final will quickly be forgotten. Our memories of a splendid and special midwinter cricketing excursion will live on for the rest of our lives.