|Scorecard:||Scotland v Yorkshire|
|Event:||Yorkshire in Scotland 1947|
DateLine: 4th February 2013
An hour of the famous Maurice Leyland at his vigorous best provided the crowd of 3000 who watched the first day's play in the Scotland-Yorkshire match at Selkirk with a finale that was in strange contrast to the events of most of the day. On a dead wicket that did not help the Scottish attack, the majority of the English batsmen were content to score at a funereal pace, and sometimes so slowly as to make the game tedious.
There was Watson, for instance, who concentrated so much on a defensive game that he took two hours to score 18, while Halliday, notwithstanding all his sound strokes, spent three and a half hours getting 58 before being fourth out at 132. Well varied though the Scottish bowling was, it was flattered by such respect.
It was true that some of the edge had been taken off the Scottish attack by the time that Leyland appeared, but, even so, he was completely master of the situation, scoring all round the wicket in a manner that was at times reminiscent of his glorious Test days. He hit five 4s, but the best feature of his display, which delighted everybody, including some American Naval officers who were seeing cricket for the first time, was his superb placing of the ball when the Scottish fieldsmen were giving nothing away. Youngson, the Aberdonian, fielded especially well, and took two catches low on the ground at mid-off to dismiss Smailes and Robinson, who were out before they could put into practice their obvious intention of going for the runs.
Bowes, almost as celebrated a bowler as Leyland is a batsman, joined his captain in a defiant and unbroken ninth wicket stand in which he hit Youngson for two successive 4s. Their resistance saved Scotland from the awkward prospect of having to open their innings last night. With ordinary luck, Scotland might get a draw as a sequel to Yorkshire's over-caution in taking five hours to get the double century. Leyland had not decided to close his side's innings when the first day's play ended, but if there is no further rain play should develop on speculative lines to-day, when it might be a big gamble for Yorkshire to try and get their opponents out twice.
Laidlaw, the Scottish captain, handled his bowlers with competence as well as enterprise, besides making a big personal contribution to the attack. Flighting the ball cleverly and disguising the short-pitched one cunningly, he did really well on such a wicket to get four for 44 runs. Edward, the young Clydesdale man, and Hodge, the Fifer, who is not as fast as he was, kept a good length, though, as stated, no one was so hostile as to warrant all the respect they got from some of the Tykes.
Scotland last night accepted an. open invitation from M. Leyland, on behalf of Yorkshire, to play for a draw and so emerge from the two-days match at Selkirk with probably more credit than would have been the case had he made them follow on when they finished 167 runs, behind on the first innings. The county had the uncommon experience, for these days of being in a position to close their innings twice in one day. If they had exercised their option when Scotland were out after just two hours in struggling to get 46 runs, they, could have won by the proverbial street. Leyland's unexpected change of tactics gave the large crowd the cricket they wanted as well as the Scottish batsmen a second chance to prove that they were not entirely without confidence in facing spin bowling.
The wicket was never difficult, but, early in the day the spin bowlers such as Robinson, Wardle, and Smailes, among the seven who shared the Yorkshire attack got some little help from it. Even so, the fact that the ball was turning did not wholly explain the Scottish batting failure, one of the worst for a good many years. The loss of such players as Crerar, off the first ball of the day, and Aitchison whom the total was only 4, had its unmistakeable effect on the rest of the team, apart from Edward and McLaren who did more than their share in a defiant ninth wicket stand that minimised the rout.
Nobody ever expected that the second venture would show such improvement to enable Scotland to get 261 runs in 130 minutes, but the recovery was notably encouraging. Aitchison played such a prominent part in the revival as to make the regret over his earlier failure greater than ever, and remained all the time to get his biggest score on his four appearances for Scotland. He hit eight 4s in a personal contribution that made the draw, really satisfactory.
(Article: Copyright © 2013 Cricket Scotland http://cricketscotland.com)