Scotland ‘A’ continued their impressive recent run with back-to-back T20 victories over Lancashire’s 2nd XI at Neston Cricket Club. Although rain caused the first game against the English County to be abandoned, the Scots followed their season-opening successes against Gloucestershire 2nd XI and Durham 2nd XI with two more emphatic performances.
Scotland’s trip south had begun with a fifty-over match on May 30th, and after being put into bat on an overcast morning their innings initially appeared to be heading in the same direction. Matthew Cross (4), Michael English (0) and captain Richie Berrington (3) all fell within the first five overs to leave Scotland 9 for 3, but with George Munsey (86) and Preston Mommsen (63) quickly into their stride the ‘A’ team’s class began to show.
Their partnership of 138, together with Dylan Budge’s run-a-ball 56 and Riyaad Henry’s equally brisk 45, hoisted Scotland to 290 for 8. The weather was to have the final say, however, as after several interruptions over the course of the day a nicely poised match was finally ended with Lancashire 80 for 1 after 17.2 overs.
The following morning saw better conditions as the first T20 got underway. Half-centuries from both Mommsen (55) and Budge (52) and a 10-ball cameo of 27 from Cross saw Scotland post 179 for 7, and with Lancashire losing regular wickets in their reply, Elliot Ruthven taking 4 for 39, the visitors’ total was never seriously threatened. With the hosts subsiding to 159 all out in the final over, Scotland wrapped up a comfortable twenty-run win.
Lancashire quickly found themselves in trouble at the beginning of the second match, too, as two wickets from Ross Lyons in the second over reduced the hosts to 2 for 2. Lyons was to end with 3 for 17 from his four overs, and although Sam Oldham offered resistance with an unbeaten 54 for the hosts, Lancashire’s final total of 138 for 7 looked some way below par.
The stage was set for man-in-form Dylan Budge to crown what had been a remarkable week for both Grange and the Eastern Knights with an unbeaten 65 to see Scotland over the line. His 43-ball knock, featuring three boundaries and five sixes, saw the Scots close out a comfortable victory with more than three overs to spare.
Scotland ‘A’ remains unbeaten, and as focus now shifts to the full side and their final preparations for the biggest week of the summer, Grant Bradburn has been left with some reassuringly tough decisions to make.