Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Scotttish Saltires - The Grange

June 1st 2003

Scottish Saltires v Hampshire Hawks

My interest in cricket generally extends to a vague supporting of whichever country happens to be playing England at the time – immature, I know, but it is all matter of genetics.  

For a brief period, however, I followed the fortunes of the freshly re-branded Scottish Saltires who had in 2003, quite inexplicably, been invited to join the ECB National Cricket League.  The Grange cricket ground, which the Saltires would call home, lay about a mile from my place of work, so it was easy enough to take a half-day off and toddle along to see how our lads were doing. 

Scotland had somehow managed to persuade Indian Rahul Dravid, then one of the leading players in the world to sign up for a three month stint beginning in June – Goodness Me, even I had heard of him.  Scotland actually began their campaign in May with surprising wins at both Durham and Lancashire, leading some wit to opine Dravid may struggle to get a place in the side! 

Entrance to The Grange cricket ground.

The pavilion at The Grange, originally built in 1894,
it enjoyed an extensive restoration in 1998.

The first match I saw at the Grange was in the pre-Dravid days, a Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy match against Somerset.  Like most folks who are used to seeing cricket on TV, I guess, the first time I watched it in the flesh as it were, I was amazed by (a) how far apart the two sets of wickets are and (b) how fast the bowler can shift the ball.  Scotland toiled away to a total of 138, which I thought looked reasonably respectable. 

But after a break for lunch, out onto the crease stepped the formidable Marcus Trescothick, who just bashed the ball with apparent ease to all corners of the ground.  I think he pretty much chased down the Scottish score single handed.  Oh Dear, I thought, Scotland seem utterly out of their depth at this level.  But then did not the same Scotland side defeat the same Somerset side on the same ground, two days later in a league match!!  Cricket really is a strange game.

Hampshire's James Hamblin and Lawrence Prittipaul.

The game from which the pictures and programme comes from was an ECB National Cricket (i.e. Sunday) League match versus Hampshire Hawks; the crowd (around 2,000) being significantly larger for this one.  This was, I think Rahul Dravid’s debut, but he was dismissed for only 25 runs as Scotland lost by 6 wickets.  

At one point, during the Hampshire innings when Dravid was fielding out near the boundary line, a girl with a marker pen trotted on to the pitch to request an autograph from the great man.  Having no paper, she pulled down the top of her t-shirt looking to have her cleavage autographed.  The dignified Dravid declined, looking baffled and embarrassed in equal measure – he was on his honeymoon, after all.
Panorama of The Grange, Edinburgh looking south.

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