|Ground:||Raeburn Place, Edinburgh|
|Scorecard:||Scotland v Middlesex|
|Event:||Middlesex in Scotland 1923|
DateLine: 4th February 2013
The outstanding feature of yesterday's cricket at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, in the three days' match between Scotland and Middlesex was the success which attended the Scottish bowlers and fielders, who did remarkably well to get a strong team of the London County out for 210 runs.
It may not have been a wicket that could be termed a "batsman's paradise," it was softish on the top and hard underneath, but, on the other hand, it was not one that was giving great assistance to the bowlers, though most of the Middlesex batsmen treated the bowling in such a circumspect fashion that it appeared to be playing worse than it really was.
There was nothing specially noteworthy about the batting, and doubtless the Scots were lucky to get rid of such noted scorers as Hendren, J.W. Hearne, and Lee for 21 runs among them, and it was a feather in the cap of the fielding eleven that the highest scorers in the batting side, G.T.S. Stevens and F.T. Mann, did not exceed 57 and 53 respectively.
Both batted in characteristic and attractive style, but neither showed form better than is to be seen on many Scottish grounds any Saturday afternoon. It was a thoroughly sound innings, and good to see, that Stevens had, and Mann did some big hitting, but there was nothing out of the ordinary about either display, and for the greater part of their stays at the wicket they had to exercise no little caution.
To dispose of such a batting side in quick time was decidedly complimentary to the bowling and fielding of the Scots. The Scottish bowling had more snap in it than in any of the previous matches this season, and it was handled with good judgement.
Nor had the bowlers much to complain of in regard to the work done in the field, and, as is invariably the case, G.W.A. Alexander earned repeated cheers for his fine scoring in the out-field. W. Anderson, who was left out of the side to meet Wales through an unfortunate misunderstanding, had a particularly good day, for not only did he have the credit of five wickets, but he caught other three men and good men at that.
J.A. Fergusson also bowled with skill and resource, and always required a lot of careful watching. His figures were excellent. C.S. Scobie and D.S. Weir each had one wicket, and if they were more expensive than the other two they had respectively the satisfaction of claiming the wickets of such famous batsmen as Hendren and J.W. Hearne.
To send Middlesex back in little over three hours for so comparatively small a total represented one of the best performances a Scottish representative side have accomplished for many a day. It was pleasing to note a vast improvement in the fielding compared with that seen at Perth in the game with Wales.
The weather yesterday was changeable, sunny and showry in turn. There were several adjournments, and rain curtailed play at the close of the day by fully half an hour.
The crowd was disappointing, and would not exceed 3000 or so, but as the match was left at the close of the first day's play in an interesting state, and it is practically certain that Middlesex will have to bat again, probably this afternoon, there is almost certain to be three days cricket, weather, of course, permitting.
Middlesex started cautiously with Stevens and Lee to the bowling of Anderson and R.W. Sievwright. The first boundary, which was hit by Stevens off the slow bowler, came after twenty five minutes' play, and it was then also that the first wicket fell, Lee, with the total at 21, putting up a ball and being easily taken at cover point.
Sievwright bowled well, and neither batsman was inclined to take liberties with him, so effectively indeed, did he bowl to the opening pair that he had three maiden overs in succession. Soon after Anderson got his first wicket, and, with the total at 33, he was taken off, and Weir took his place.
He at once met with success, for in his first over, after five runs had been hit off him, and he had bowled a wide, he got J.W. Hearne out, also caught at cover, the batsman failed to get a grip of a ball which he attempted to drive. The cricket became more lively with Stevens and Hendren together, the latter having received a rousing cheer as he went to the wicket in recognition of his success this season in English cricket.
Hendren was inclined to be lively. Scobie had a brief spell, two overs, just before lunch, but no further wickets were captured, and at the interval the Scots had done remarkably well to have got rid of two good batsmen for a total of 51. Play had lasted just under an hour. Scottish successes continued on resuming, for with only seven runs added the batsman with the highest aggregate in English cricket put one tamely into Weir's hands at point, three for 58. Scobie was the bowler.
Just later Stevens' stay at the wicket should have been brought to a conclusion. Scobie got a chance of catching him at full leg and returning the compliment to Weir, but he failed to hold a high ball. It was not an easy chance, but it should have been taken.
The Middlesex captain quickly put a couple of 4's to his credit, the first one to long on, which went dangerously near a fieldsman, and the second sweep in the same direction at the other end. A 6 off Weir by Mann brought out the 100 after an hour and a half's play, and 14 runs later Stevens was bowled by a ball which seemed to come in round his legs. At all events, the batsman played it as if it were on the leg side, and he appeared to be surprised to find it hitting the stumps. He had not made much of his "life."
That was in Anderson's first over on resuming at 108, and it was the second time in the game that a change in attack had brought about a first over dismissal. Stevens had been at the wicket for 100 minutes, and included in his hits were five 4's. His innings had been a perfect one but for the mistake at 40, and he played first-class cricket, with a partiality for sending a rising ball cleverly and strongly to leg.
Mann had another 6, a mighty drive to long on, which landed nearly 30 yards outside the ropes, and this time Sievwright was the bowler. He had also a 4 in the same over. N. Haig did not give much trouble before popping one up sharply into the slips, where the ball was neatly taken by Alexander.
Mann's free innings of just over an hour was brought to a close by a catch in the slips. It was a bad stroke, and Anderson had to run some distance to take the ball, which had gone well into the air. Fergusson got the wicket in his third over, with only a couple of runs off his bowling. The English captain had had some rousing swipes among his two 6's and six 4's.
Six wickets were down for 144, which was splendid work from a Scottish point of view, and it was better still when J.L. Guise, an Oxford "blue" of this year, mishit a ball from Anderson, and was caught at third man.
Murrell and J.T. Hearne gave a lot of trouble, and put on 52 runs by good cricket, Murrell scoring much faster, and having five 4's. The others were easily disposed of, and Hearne, who had played well, was last out, and he fell to a brilliant catch in the slips. The innings had lasted 3 hours and 10 minutes.
Anderson was the most successful bowler, though Fergusson's average was easily the best. It was good work on the part of the Perthshire man to concede but 12 runs in 11 overs. Only two runs were hit off his first six overs, and four of them were maidens. Four was the highest number of runs that were hit off any over. Sievwright did not get a wicket, but he gave the batsmen as much trouble as anyone, and most of the batsmen paid him the compliment of playing him carefully.
Scotland were left with 90 minutes to bat, but rain reduced that playing time by nearly half. Kerr batted briskly, but, with the total at 7, he was once more taken in the slips, the ball going straight to Hendren's hands off one of the batsman's gloves.
Alexander had not scored up to that time, batted steadily and with confidence, but he soon lost J.M. Tennent, who should have hit a ball from J.T. Hearne instead of tapping it tamely to the Middlesex captain at mid-off. Hearne had just relieved Durston, the fast bowler, who had opened the attack with Stevens, and the veteran secured the wicket in his first over.
J.E. Phillips was evidently out to play his club game. Anything pitched up he had a "go" at and he was a trifle lucky to survive. When stumps were drawn the score was 35 for two wickets, and Scotland still require 26 runs to save the follow on.
Yesterday was a blank day in the match between Scotland and Middlesex at Raeburn Place. Edinburgh. Rain fell in torrents on Monday night and early yesterday morning, and continued in a light drizzle during the greater part of the day, with the result that the original pitch was completely saturated and ruined.
It was decided about midday that no play would be possible for the day, and that a start would be made today, weather permitting, at eleven o'clock. Play will be continued to 6.45.
A new pitch was to be prepared for the game today. The loss of the day was unfortunate, for the match was left on Monday evening in quite an interesting state, and there was every indication then that play would have gone on over the full three days with the Middlesex men having to go in again.
With but one day left, even with an early start, the County players will have to be seen at their best if they are to secure a victory, for with Scotland as certain to save the follow on as anything in cricket can be certain, it will probably be a case of Middlesex batting a second time after having got the remaining eight Scottish wickets, and forcing the pace to get a sufficient number of runs to declare and put their opponents in.
Day 3: Scotland managed to make a draw yesterday of their game with Middlesex at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh. For that they were doubtless indebted to the blank day on Tuesday, and to the fact that the early batsmen in the Middlesex second innings made no effort to force the pace, and to secure runs quickly.
All day yesterday a draw seemed the probable result, and though the Scottish side had not a great deal to spare in the end, they never looked like being beaten. The Scots, of course, saved the follow on, they only required 26 to do so with eight wickets in hand, but, with the wicket quite easy in the early part of the day, and the bowlers and fielders handicapped with a wet ball, they should have got more runs than 147.
With five men getting into double figures, the display, on the whole, was not a bad one. Some of the batting was very good, particularly that of G.W.A. Alexander and J.A. Fergusson. There was nothing noteworthy about the Middlesex second innings, except that Hendren gave the spectators, who were present to the extent of about 2000, a taste of quality.
He batted attractively, and latterly with vigour. If the men who had gone in before him, and who stayed for any length of time, notably J.W. Hearne, had shown more enterprise, there would have been a better finish, and Middlesex would in all probability have gained a victory. Hearne, however, and Lee too, and Hendren and N. Haig also before they got their cue from the captain, played steady and correct cricket, as if they had a full day before them instead of a few hours.
The Scottish bowling was again full of merit, and the fielding was always good, Alexander, J.M. Tennent, M. Patten, and W. Anderson being outstanding in that department. J.E. Phillips and J. Russell did some good hitting in Scotland's second innings, the feature of which, however, was the fine batting of Alexander, who all but carried his bat through the innings.
There was a shower or two yesterday, but the weather, on the whole, was fine. The wicket early in the day when wet was in favour of the batting side, but later, as it dried under the influence of the sun and the wind, it must have given the bowlers some assistance, though it was never really difficult.
The new wicket which was prepared played better than the one which did duty on Monday, for on the latter, soft on top and hard underneath, the ball was inclined to kick at times, whereas on the new pitch it invariably came along true. The bowlers, however, after the moisture had gone out of the ground, were able to make the ball turn a lot.
When the match was resumed, the Middlesex bowlers were again G.T.S. Stevens and J.T. Hearne, and on an easy wicket the batsmen did not seem to experience any difficulties. Both batted nicely and with some degree of confidence, Phillips showing better form than he did on Monday evening.
He had a 4 in Hearne's first over, and a 6, which had a bit of a pull in it, in his second. Then Alexander had a 4, and a 2 from one over of Stevens, who was proving expensive, for in his third over of the day 10 runs were hit, a 4 and a 3 by Phillip and a 3 by Alexander.
The Carlton man, however, became just a little too confident, and with the total at 64, and the wicket having put on 34, he jumped out to a ball from J.T. Hearne, missed it, and found himself smartly stumped by Murrell. Scotland's position at that point was quite a sound one, but it was not so good when Alexander also fell a victim to J.T. Hearne in the same over with only one run added to the total.
It was a clever one-handed catch in the slips that disposed of the Aberdeenshire officer, and only a tall man could have taken the ball. In that over Hearne had taken two wickets for but one run. The Forfarshire representative, Russell, showed a good style, and was quick to have a "go" at any well pitched ball. He had some good smacks, and also a lot of luck, for he sent a high one, though hardly a chance, dangerously near Lee in the outfield at the beginning of the innings, and at 14 he gave a possible chance to Stevens in the slips.
Then when 25 and 27 he had clear "lives" in the outfield from Hendren and Lee respectively. Both were bad misses, and detracted not a little from Russell's display. He was fifth out at 114, and fell to a smart catch at leg square.
With Weir going without addition to the total, the tide had turned against Scotland. The 100 had taken 80 minutes to get. J.A. Fergusson batted with skill and resource and did some excellent cutting, and after Anderson had opened shakily, and had been nearly bowled more than once, the pair put on 30 for the seventh wicket, a very useful contribution.
The tail was a long one and the last four wickets added only three runs.
The second innings of Middlesex started in sensational fashion, for with the fourth ball of the first over Stevens was nicely taken in the slips. The cricket was slow with Lee and J.W. Hearne together. Neither made any attempt to rush matters, and it was mainly by singles that the score mounted to 20.
It took the pair half an hour to reach that total. Ten minutes later, and with only two more added, there was a general appeal for a catch at the wicket, and the umpire decided against Lee. Hearne and Hendren gave little away, and took no risks, but at 47 the former was taken from a soft stroke to leg.
Three wickets were down, and Mann, the big hitter, did not give much trouble before he was well beaten at 59 by one of the best balls sent down by Sievwright, who at that point had three wickets for 30 runs. After that he had three maidens and was then given a rest for the first time in the innings, which had lasted nearly two hours.
Sievwright had bowled very steadily, and so had Fergusson, who had a 4 struck off his first delivery, and then completed the over and had three maidens before another run was scored from him. Following a consultation between the two captains, and a word to the batsmen from Mann, the cricket became much livelier, which suggested that the men at the wicket had received the hint to get runs quickly or get out.
Haig had a bit of luck in Phillip's first over. He gave what would have been an easy catch to Russell at cover point, but the fieldsman was completely unsighted by the sun and never made any attempt to take the ball. Haig did not survive his good fortune for long, and if the Carlton man did not get the credit of his wicket he had the satisfaction of taking the good catch which disposed of the amateur.
Hendren was lively thereafter, and included in his hits was a lovely 6 off Phillips. It was then that he was twice caught from no-balls, once in bringing out his individual 50 and again when he was 59. On both occasions, curiously enough, it was exactly the same stroke from which he was caught, and he was taken by the same fielder, Alexander, and off the same bowler, Scobie.
During his innings Hendren completed his 2000 runs for the season. Shortly afterwards the innings was declared closed. Hendren had one 6 and ten 4's. Scotland were left with 195 to make to win, and ten minutes less than two hours for batting.
Scotland's second innings did not begin well. Durston and Stevens were again the bowlers, and the opening batsman played the bowling with every caution. J. Kerr had been getting in front of his wicket repeatedly in playing the fast man, and when he got but 5 he failed to guard his stumps with the bat, and as a straight ball hit him on the pads he was palpably out.
To get out for obstruction is an old failing of the Scottish captain. With Kerr out and the total only 12 and only ten minutes gone, Scotland had still a prospect of being beaten. A double change was made in the attack, J.W. Hearne going on at 26, and "J.T." at 29, and, both bowling trickily, the batsmen had to exercise great care.
Weir was quickly disposed of, J.T. Hearne bowling him in his first over. Phillips, however, was soon busy, and, following a couple of 4's he had a "sixer" off J.T. Hearne. The next ball he attempted to treat in the same fashion, but he got too much under it, skied it, and was finely taken by Fowler close to the ropes.
Fergusson went out of his ground in playing to Fowler, a slow left-hander, who creeps up to the wicket from behind the umpire in delivering the ball, and it was in Fowler's first over, that he claimed his victim, who was stumped. Alexander, who was holding up his end in good style, was fifth man out, and he fell to a good catch at point.
He had played soundly for an hour and a half, and his best strokes were those to leg, which he played very carefully. He had six 4's. Russell had a fine 6 off Fowler, and in the same over he drove the bowler for a 4 and also got a 2.
The Forfarshire man was only about 20 minutes at the wicket, and his chief hits were one 6 and four 4's. He was out to a smart bit of stumping by Murrell who "kept" extremely well. Scotland suffered no further loss, and the game ended in a draw, with Scotland 62 runs behind with four wickets in hand.
(Article: Copyright © 2013 Cricket Scotland http://cricketscotland.com)