Friday, 19 May 2017

Scotland take the honours at Harrogate

posted by John Winn

Concerned that three wet days might have jeopardised prospects for play at Harrogate yesterday I made an early call at St George's Road to find the ground deserted but with a new wicket marked out and with the sun shining I was confident that the game would go ahead. The only question in my mind was when that might be for the Harrogate fixture card which had first alerted me to the match between the Scottish District of the Forty Club and the Eastern Counties had said that wickets would be pitched at 12:30 but the Forty Club website said that play would begin at 1:30. In the event compromise ruled and the umpires led the players out shortly after 1:00. One umpire was traditionally dressed with his white coat concealing an MCC sweater, the other less so.

Having given a potted history of the Forty Club on the blog a week ago and drawn attention to the match I was confident that I would be joined by other pcws. On reflection I may have overestimated the power of this form of the social media for until I discovered at the interval that Lancaster Ian had been watching from his car I seemed to be the only person present not directly linked to the two teams. Not that I was short of company for I had a very entertaining conversation with some of the Scotland District players and their official photographer while their team was at the crease.

Despite the fall of an early wicket Scotland got off to a lively start but spin bowling brought the scoring rate down to about four an over and after 35 overs the board showed 135 for 3. At this point I was joined by a dog whose collar disc showed the name George and he watched patiently while his master accelerated the run rate.

211 for 8 was the final count after 45 overs and at this point I was introduced to the Scotland District Chairman Colin Neill who was also acting as the only scorer. He very kindly supplied Ian and me with copies of the XL fixture card. Watching the Eastern District's reply Ian and I shared information about forthcoming matches and with a wicket going down in the second over it was tempting to think in terms of an early finish but there followed a century partnership with both batsmen playing some handsome shots and it was not until the score was 105 that the second wicket fell.  One brought two and then a couple more and when I left about 6:30 it was 149 for 5. The excellent XL website this morning shows that Eastern Districts were eventually bowled out for 190 giving the Scottish visitors, who were mainly from the Glasgow area, a win by 21 runs. As some of the party were staying overnight in Harrogate they no doubt took the opportunity for a wee celebration.  They are next in action on Sunday at Glenalmond College which is in the Perth area. Eastern Counties' next match is a week today at Snaresbrook when their opponents will be Forest School.

The County Championship returns today with four matches in Division 1 including the R
oses match at Old Trafford and at Lord's leaders Surrey take on champions Middlesex. There are three second division matches, leaders Notts go to Glamorgan and their nearest pursuers Kent are at Grace Road. Sussex and Durham don't start until tomorrow in order that the south coast county can host South Africa in the first match of their tour. The Proteas then visit Wantage Road before the first of three ODIs beginning at Headingley on Wednesday in what is close to a sell out. Back to rain again in the Lower Ure Valley this morning and certainly a non cricket day for me so let's hope for some county action somewhere and the opportunity to listen to BBC commentary either on Five Live Sports extra or online.

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