Whenever somebody new joins a club you look for them to make an impact and add value – and Michael Shean has certainly done that at Heriot’s in recent years.
On Saturday the South African-born player is set to play his final league match for the Goldenacre men at home to Falkland – and, fittingly, it will mark his 100th appearance for the first XI.
Appearance 101 is likely to come on Sunday in the Scottish Cup quarter-final away at Forfarshire, but for now it is outing 100 that is on his mind before he, wife Rane and daughter Julia leave Edinburgh next week to relocate to London.
“I played a lot of squash in South Africa, making the South African University team and captaining the South African Knights on the 26th tour of the UK. When I moved over to Edinburgh finding a squash club was the first task which led me to join Grange Squash Club in 2015,” Shean, who was twice part of the Grange league title winning squash team and won the Grange open in 2017 and their closed event in 2018 and 2019, explains.
“I moved to Edinburgh to join the corporate world at a FinTech company called Clearwater Analytics and in those early days Allaudin Farooq was working there too.
“We had chatted about cricket and, when they were short of players one Saturday, he persuaded me to turn out for one of Heriot’s lower XIs.
“I did that and was just keen to have a bit of fun and make some new friends, but from 2017 onwards my career with the first XI really took off.
“And since then, as a Grange squash member, playing cricket for Heriot’s has always put an edge on the Heriot’s-Grange derby matches.”
In the Scottish Cup last 16 of 2017 he was the matchwinner for Heriot’s at Hamilton Crescent as he hit an unbeaten 67 with the bat, including a 41 run stand with last man Duncan Hamilton (1 not out), to see them through dramatically versus West of Scotland.
“I remember that Cup game at West of Scotland very fondly and going on and winning the league in that same summer was a big breakthrough for the club,” Shean recounts.
“In the couple of years leading up to that Heriot’s had been known as a dogged team capable of getting results on their day, but in that season we were very consistent and upset the form book.
“That league triumph gave everyone confidence and we really used it to kick on to become, I believe, the best club team in Scotland over the next few years.
“In those earlier days people like Keith Morton, Peter Ross and Hayes van der Berg were key to pushing standards and driving the team culture.
“Over the last few years, we’re really built a fantastic culture and team ethos which has attracted some high quality players to the club and has really taken the club to the next level.
“It has been a great thrill to win a number of honours with this group and play alongside some top quality players, a number of whom have turned out for Scotland.
“On Saturday I want to enjoy my last home game and make sure we get a win to stay out on top of the table.”
This year already the left-handed spinning all-rounder has returned match winning performances with 5-13 against Poloc in the Scottish Cup and 118 not out versus Forfarshire in the league.
It’s performances like these that have helped Heriot’s to a number of successes in recent times, including the Eastern Premier League in 2017 and 2021, the Scottish Cup in 2019 and 2021 and the National T20 competition in 2018.
Shean was also part of the Eastern Knights team that won the Regional T20 and 50 over competitions between 2018 and 2021.
When anyone moves from a foreign country to a new ‘home’ they always miss their wider family and look to build a friendship group around themselves to make the transition easier.
“Heriot’s has become like an extension of our family for myself and my wife,” Shean, the 30-year-old who will be continuing to work for Clearwater once he settles in London, said.
“Everyone here welcomed us into the club with open arms and I have made some lifelong friends and have had a great time on and off the pitch.
“I will look back on my time playing cricket in Scotland with fond memories, I have really enjoyed being a part of Scottish cricket because the competitions we play in have been competitive and that has always pushed all of us on at Heriot’s to get better and improve.”
Shean, Peter Ross, Niall Alexander join the Heriot’s XI to take on ninth placed Falkland.
Kacy Clement and Jack Henderson come in for Falkland.
There are four other matches taking place in Edinburgh this Saturday as the league campaign reaches the halfway point.
Second placed RH Corstorphine have skipper James Dickinson back and Christian Newman and Sean Fischer-Keogh also come into the team as they welcome bottom side Arbroath to Barnton.
The big news for Arbroath is that South African internationalist Wihan Lubbe, who played for them in 2019, has arrived back in Scotland and will play.
Third placed Gen!us Grange are at home to sixth placed Stewart’s Melville.
Robbie Welsh, Campbell Swanson, Robbie McGlasham, Ben Davidson and Ryan Flannigan are in for Grange.
Fourth placed Forfarshire are on the road to take on seventh placed Watsonians.
Rory Johnston comes into the visiting XI for this one.
Fifth placed Stoneywood Dyce travel to Grange Loan to take on Carlton in eighth.
The experienced Jan Stander is back for Stoneywood Dyce.
Saturday, June 25’s fixtures:
Watsonians v Forfarshire (Myreside)
Gen!us Grange v Stewart’s Melville (Portgower Place)
RH Corstorphine v Arbroath (Barnton)
Heriot’s v Falkland (Goldenacre)
Carlton v Stoneywood Dyce (Grange Loan)
Heriot’s Michael Shean is pictured
The Cricket Scotland Podcast will include a round-up of the men’s and women’s regional, premier league and cup action from across the country every Tuesday, with player interviews from our featured games. Follow @ScotlandPod on Twitter for all the latest information.