Gary Heatly looks ahead to Sunday’s Scottish Cup final…
Heriot’s and Watsonians cricketing rivalry began 125 years ago in 1896 – and on Sunday their first XIs will be playing one of the biggest matches of that period when they meet in the Scottish Cup final.
The sides first meet on Saturday on Eastern Premier Division duty at Goldenacre, but then all attention will turn west to New Cambusdoon in Ayr for the showpiece final the following day.
Heriot’s will start as favourites given that they are still on for a league and Cup double and won the knock-out competition as recently as 2019, but captain Pete Maksimczyk and director of cricket Andrew Chalmers have rebuilt things well at Myreside over the last couple of years.
In total since the Cup started in 1966, Heriot’s have won it four times – 1978, 2000, 2012 and 2019 – while they lost the final in 2018.
Watsonians have never won the Cup as yet, losing finals to Heriot’s in 1978 and 2012, to Ferguslie in 1983 and to Carlton in 2017.
This season the clubs have met twice so far in different competitions.
Watsonians defeated Heriot’s in a tight game at Myreside in the Masterton T20 Trophy in mid-June, 162-7 playing 148 all out.
And in the league they clashed at the same ground in early July, Watsonians posting 206-9 from their 50 overs and then Heriot’s being 52-1 in reply before the rain came.
To get to this stage of the Cup, Heriot’s have seen off M8 Driving Ferguslie, Carlton, McCrea West of Scotland and Gen!us Grange.
In the semi-final at Portgower Place at the start of this month, opening bowlers Elliot Ruthven and Joe Kinghorn-Gray did not let the Grange batters settle and then spinner Mark Watt, the captain, took things by the scruff of the neck.
He took 5-11 while Adrian Neill, Gavin Main and Michael Shean also took wickets as Grange were 88 all out.
The hosts needed early wickets in Heriot’s reply – and they came, Gordon Goudie and Dylan Budge helping reduce them to 11-4.
Watt (28) and Shean (33) then put on a crucial 48-run partnership, but when Chris Ashforth was ninth man out Heriot’s still needed six runs to win.
Neill and Ruthven, both five not out, saw them home by the narrowest of margins with nerves flying around the place.
Calero Kelburne, Tunnocks Uddingston, Drumpellier and Clydesdale have been beaten to date to get ‘Sonians to this stage.
A quickfire – and brilliant – 127 by stand-in skipper Oli Hairs set-up the Edinburgh side’s innings batting first against Clydesdale in the last four tie at Titwood.
Opener Mike Carson also weighed in with 33 while Parker Neame made 52, Ben Jones 40 and Gregour Carr 21 as ‘Sonians made it up to a healthy 321 all out from their 50 overs.
With the ball for the visitors the star was seamer Josh Stinson.
He was almost unplayable at times and took the wickets of the top three including Clydesdale skipper Paddy Barbour.
In the end Stinson finished with the excellent figures of 6-22 from 9.5 overs while he was well supported by the rest of the bowling attack, Tom Pratt, Hairs and Zach Place also in the wickets.
Clydesdale were never allowed to settle and with key man Richie Berrington falling for a duck to Pratt it clearly was not their day, in the end being 119 all out to lose convincingly.
Looking ahead to Sunday, both skippers have been able to pick from just about full strength squads – only Peter Ross is unfortunately out injured for Heriot’s – meaning that it should be a cracker.
The match starts at noon.
Heriot’s from: Mark Watt (C), Lloyd Brown, Ryan Brown, Matthew Cross, Ewan Hutchinson, Joe Kinghorn-Gray, Durness Mackay-Champion, Gavin Main, Keith Morton, Adrian Neill, Elliot Ruthven, Michael Shean, Hayes van der Berg.
Watsonians from: Pete Maksimczyk (C), Greg Brown, Gregour Carr, Mike Carson, Andrew Chalmers, Oli Hairs, Ben Jones, Parker Neame, Zach Place, Tom Pratt, Josh Stinson, Gareth Weatherall.
Elliot Ruthven is pictured celebrating Heriot’s semi-final win by Alec Davies while Josh Stinson is pictured taking a wicket for Watsonians in their last four clash by Graham Gaw
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