Season 2020 Round Up

The cricket season which did not go according to plan!  Back in early March 2020 our plans for the season ahead were well underway with the word ‘new’ preceding almost everything.  New sponsor (well, two actually), new kit supplier, new website and new 1st XI captain.  Everything was shiny new and ready to go, and then a very nasty little fellow started his world tour.  Lockdown 1 came into force in late March and we all know the rest.  Covid 19 affected everyone and everything and unfortunately continues to do so.  As I write in January 2021 we are in another full lockdown.  April, May and June were spent watching the sun shine and dreaming of glorious off drives, spectacular catches, the magic 100 and any number of five-fors. 

By the beginning of April we had signed up two new partners, namely Gen!us Brewing, who had agreed to sponsor the Senior Club (Gen!us Grange CC) and Close Brothers Asset Management who were supporting our Junior Stags.  Their signage was up on the ground by the middle of July, just in time for the Neighbourgoodmarket which ran for seven weeks and attracted more than 30,000 visitors.  A sponsor’s dream!  New sponsors meant new branded kit was required and we took the decision to move to Gray-Nicolls.  I think it looks very good. Visit our webshop using the link above.  We had also commissioned a new bespoke website and this was unveiled in late July.  It is designed to be informative.  Neil Leitch, our club historian, is gradually adding our history and interesting statistics – the sort of thing we talk about in the bar after a game!   

With respect to our Junior Stags we were unable to do anything until mid-July, by which time all junior League and Cup competitions had to be binned.  Our annual tour for the U11’s to the Shrewsbury School Cricket Festival could not go ahead and we were not able to have any visiting sides up from the South to play.  There was a danger that we would lose a generation of young cricketers, which we certainly wished to avoid.  Disaster!  Come July there was a lot of pent-up energy to be burned off, and saving the parents’ sanity was also important.  We were well prepared, thanks to some good planning by our Director of Cricket (John Blain), the Coaches and the Cricket Committee.  The acknowledgements shown and thanks from the parents has made it all worthwhile.

Again, due to Covid restrictions there was no Cricket Scotland or ESCA Leagues, Scottish Cup or Masterton Trophy.  However, the senior teams managed to pack in a huge amount of cricket from early August to late September by joining the especially created Edinburgh Super League.  By playing a shorter format, arriving to play changed, no long tea breaks between innings, early starts (10.00 am for some games!), we were able to have two sides playing at the Grange on the same day.  I particularly appreciated not having to arrange over thirty teas in a normal season!

About five years ago we recognised that we needed to get more of our juniors moving through to the senior teams as early as possible.  This season I counted about twenty-five senior cricketers aged under twenty-four.  Five-year plans do work! 

In the end, it turned out to be a very satisfying and rewarding cricket season with everyone seeming to appreciate the effort put in. There was a lot learned from the problems we had to overcome and if we can return to a normal season this year, the dividends will be huge.  When you have been unable play or watch a sport you enjoy for a period, then you really appreciate being able to do so again.

Finally, my thanks to everyone, who by their efforts made play possible; scorers, umpires, coaches, ground staff (Tom and Kevin), the committees (Junior, Senior and General), team captains, Robin Pollok, Chris Murphy, John Blain, Justin Lyons (Club Manager) and our bar staff (hope to see more of them this season!). I think we are now all the more aware of what the Grange Club has to offer, especially in difficult times.  I know I am. 

Rawdon Hesketh
Hon President

April, May and June were spent watching the sun shine and dreaming of glorious off drives, spectacular catches, the magic 100 and any number of five-fors.”

By the beginning of April we had signed up two new partners, namely Gen!us Brewing, who had agreed to sponsor the Senior Club (Gen!us Grange CC) and Close Brothers Asset Management who were supporting our Junior Stags.”

There was a danger that we would lose a generation of young cricketers, which we certainly wished to avoid.  Disaster!  Come July there was a lot of pent-up energy to be burned off, and saving the parents’ sanity was also important.”

I particularly appreciated not having to arrange over thirty teas in a normal season!

The acknowledgements shown and thanks from the parents has made it all worthwhile.”

This season I counted about twenty-five senior cricketers aged under twenty-four.  Five-year plans do work! 

In the end, it turned out to be a very satisfying and rewarding cricket season with everyone seeming to appreciate the effort put in.”

I think we are now all the more aware of what the Grange Club has to offer, especially in difficult times.  I know I am.”

Season 2019 Round Up

Some you win, some you lose! The 2019 season was disappointing both weather and performance wise, especially when compared to our achievements and the sunshine in 2018. The 1st XI finished second, the 2nd XI fifth and the 3rd XI third in their respective leagues. Our Scottish Cup defence was cut short by Carlton in the quarter finals (and they also took the Watts Frazer Trophy off us!).

Congratulations to Forfarshire on doing the treble (League, National League Champions and Murgitroyd Tropy) and to Heriot’s on winning the Scottish Cup.

We ventured into Minor Counties territory by sending a 1st XI side to play Shropshire CCC in two T20 matches in July and had an U11 side up from Staffordshire for a weekend in June.  All about raising the standard and testing ourselves against stronger opposition.

Our junior numbers continue to grow and the Summer Camp weeks in July/August were well attended. The U16’s won their Scottish Cup (previously the U15 SC).  Congratulations to them.  The U11 side which went to the Shrewsbury School Festival in July came away with a lot of praise.  It is here, their skills and mentality to perform at a higher level are tested, perhaps for the first time, against county sides with a much greater resource pool.  Could we perhaps get a second week somewhere?

For me the Champagne Moment of the season was young Rory Grant’s (aged 11¾) hundred against New East Wales at the Shrewsbury Festival.  After an opening stand of 71 in twelve overs he kicked on to reach his hundred, including sixteen fours, in 108 balls, having batted for 38.2 overs, and spending two hours at the crease!  Rory is a fine example of some of the talented cricketers coming through the age groups and hopefully we will see them develop further next season.  Whatever the talent level, it is more about playing and learning some of the life skills the great game of cricket can teach a young person.

The Grange Cricket Academy, now in its fourth year, continues to make a name for itself under the stewardship of John Blain and Dr Raj McCrea-Routray.  We are now an appointed hub to the Joe Root Academy (R66T) and are also affiliated with the Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy in Australia.

Off the field I felt a bit of the buzz and frolics seemed to be missing from last season!  A club needs certain characters to pull everyone together but unfortunately, two or three ‘socially confident’ individuals had moved on.  They need replacing or recalled quickly!

Sadly we have had to say goodbye to our partner and supporter for the past six years, namely Mazars.  It has been a fantastic relationship and I thank them for agreeing to be associated with the Club.  This obviously creates an opportunity for someone else to join us on our cricketing journey and I hope to be making an announcement soon.

Over the season 8 players were ‘Out First Ball’ (Elliot Keenan twice), 5 bowlers claimed ‘Five For’ and 4 batsmen accumulated a ‘Ton’.  Well down in the ‘Tons & Five For’ department compared to last season.

Finally, my thanks to everyone, who by their efforts make play possible; scorers, umpires, tea ladies (or lad’dies) and their helpers, coaches, ground staff (Tom and Kevin), the committees (Junior, Senior and General), team captains, Robin Pollok, Bobby Frazer, Neil Ritchie, Justin Lyons (Club Manager) and our bar staff.

Oh, and by the way, a Test Match has to be played over 5 days!

Rawdon Hesketh
Hon President

We ventured into Minor Counties territory by sending a 1st XI side to play Shropshire CCC in two T20 matches in July and had an U11 side up from Staffordshire for a weekend in June.

Whatever the talent level, it is more about playing and learning some of the life skills the great game of cricket can teach a young person.

Off the field I felt a bit of the buzz and frolics seemed to be missing from last season!

Sadly we have had to say goodbye to our partner and supporter for the past six years, namely Mazars.

Season 2018 Round Up

Guaranteed sunshine from May to July (except Heriot’s here in June), a low number of injuries, juniors breaking into the senior teams and performing, delicious BBQs, a great club spirit were all contributing factors to a very successful season – and we did it without the help of Ryan Sidebottom!! I think that is what is termed ‘Fake News’.

Although Ryan never made it up to Edinburgh, we did engage the services of another ex-Yorkshire County player, namely John Blain, on a full time basis from June through his company (4 Sports Scotland Ltd). We saw the benefits immediately. John was certainly a huge contributor to our success in 2018.

For the record the 1st XI won the Eastern Premier Division, the National Club Championship and the Scottish Cup – The Treble. To top it all, the 2nd XI won the ESCA Championship for the first time. The 3rd XI competed strongly in East Division 3 but finally had to settle on fourth place. Congratulations to everyone involved.

Our U15’s won their Scottish Cup and were Scottish Regional winners of the ECB Vitality Club Championship. Unfortunately, they were not able to repeat the journey they made last year south of the border.

And last but not least, the Club retained the Watts Frazer Trophy. Grange and Carlton have been rivals for over 100 years and in the Autumn of 2011 Fraser Watts, the current Captain of Carlton and Bobby Frazer, a past President of Grange CC, decided over a beer in the West End that it was time to mark this history by playing for an annual trophy aptly named – the Watts Frazer Trophy.

The Grange Cricket Academy, now in its third year, really proved its worth this season as we saw a number of the students move into senior cricket, and they were certainly all well prepared. To date 45 players have completed the winter programme which not only focusses on developing technical skills but also incorporates workshops on lifestyle with education around nutrition, responsible social media use, team culture and values. Three Academy graduates, Tom Mackintosh, Charlie Peet and Jamie Cairns have gone on to earn professional County Academy contracts with Durham and Hampshire respectively.

From a press coverage point of view Mazars Grange must have dominated the papers over the season, especially in August (though we were competing with Patrick Ritchie on social media!). The name Mazars Grange must be worth retaining for a few more years to come!

The ‘Champagne Moment’ for me has to be Tom Mackintosh’s first ball six over the Ferguslie crowd to turn the Scottish Cup semi-final in our favour – in the last over. As Bobby Frazer said to me; ‘It was a good job Preston was not on strike!

Over the season 8 players were ‘Out First Ball’ (Andrew Brock twice), 8 bowlers claimed ‘Five For’ (Corne Van Jaarsveld twice) and 13 batsmen accumulated a ‘Ton’, (Tom Martin, Dylan Budge and Ryan Flannigan all twice).

Finally, my thanks to everyone, who by their efforts make play possible; scorers, umpires, tea ladies (or lad’dies) and their helpers, coaches, ground staff (Tom and Kevin), the committees (Junior, Senior and General), team captains, Robin Pollok, Bobby Frazer, Neil Ritchie, Justin Lyons (Club Manager) and our bar staff.

It certainly was a season to remember and I won’t forget the England game in June!

Rawdon Hesketh
Hon President

Season 2017 Round Up

The first three league weekends saw all three teams sitting at the top of their respective leagues having played and won all their matches, which I don’t believe has ever happened before. It did cost me a round of drinks! The weather was kind, player availability was good and spirits were high. What could go wrong?

Our 1st XI were unbeaten until late June, including a very exciting tie against Aberdeenshire. Unfortunately, we then picked up a number of injuries to key players and within two weeks we had lost to Carlton in the Masterton Trophy, Glenrothes in the League and Drumpellier in the quarter final of the Scottish Cup. We remained in contention in the Eastern Premiership right up to the second last weekend, finally finishing third.

Heriots won the CSL Eastern Premier Division but lost to Prestwick in the CSL National Club Championship Final. Carlton beat Watsonians in the final of the Scottish Cup and the Masterton Trophy was won by Watsonians however, the Murgitroyd T20 finals day had to be put back to the start of next season. Congratulations to Heriots, Prestwick, Carlton and Watsonians.

In the Baillie Gifford ESCA Championship (won by Edinburgh CC), the Seconds finished 5th. Winning their first three games, the good start could not be maintained once our injury list grew but during the season they beat some very good teams with a young group of players. Not being able to put out a settled side from week to week was a problem. Stuart Davidson steps down as captain but I am sure will offer sound advice from the slips to his successor. Thank you Stuart.

The Thirds finished 3rd in ESCA Division 4 (won by Hawick) and will be playing in Division 3 next season. Congratulations! Adam Seabright was the first centurion of the season in the Club and young Ali Docherty finished as the top bowler in the league with 36 wickets. A left-armer who can bring it back into the right hander!! It is never easy skippering the 3rd XI when there are injuries and limited availability, so well done to Grant Docherty for pulling a side together throughout the season.

Without a doubt, the highlight of the season has to be the achievement of our U15’s in getting all the way to the final of the NatWest National Club Championship at Rugby School in August. They beat Exmouth (West Champions) in the semi-final by two runs and lost to Guildford (South Champions) by twelve runs in the final. The team played ten rounds of cricket, won the Scottish title, the North title and finished as the second best team in Britain, having travelled 1,671 miles. Well done to the players, parents and, of course, the coach (Nick Peet). What a journey, what memories, what a team!

The Grange Cricket Academy moved into its second year and is certainly helping to raise the standard. Of the 15 players who represented Grange in the U15 Cup, 13 took part in the Academy programme, 10 went on to play for the Eastern Knights and 4 were part of the successful Scotland U15’s who won the Celtic Cup and their County Championship Group Title. In both the Academy and Junior Stags the coaching is of a very high standard. Having sat in on a few meetings, I can see the planning and thought for the boys’ development through the age groups which the coaches put in. Thank you.

In November we and Mazars celebrated our four year partnership by hosting a Sportsman’s Dinner at the Balmoral Hotel. As Mazars also sponsor Yorkshire County Cricket Club, we were joined by Mark Arthur (Chief Executive), Martyn Moxon (Director of Cricket) and Andrew Gale (1st XI Coach). The ‘Yorkshire’ theme was completed with John Bentley (Rugby League and British Lions) as the main speaker. Over two hundred guests had a very enjoyable evening. It is sure to be repeated (in a few years time!). My thanks to those who helped put it all together – a big job indeed. As I commented when the pressure was on ‘This is a test of stamina, patience and sense of humour’!

Over the season 6 players were ‘Out First Ball’,7 bowlers claimed ‘Five For’, 9 batsmen accumulated a ‘Ton’ (Preston Mommsen twice) – all recorded for posterity on our website under ‘The Pavilion’. Interestingly the ‘Tons and Five For’ performances were well up on last year – only 3 hundreds and 2 five fors.

Finally, my thanks to everyone, who by their efforts make play possible; scorers, umpires, tea ladies (or lad’dies) and their helpers, coaches, ground staff (Tom and Kevin), the committees (Junior, Senior and General), team captains, Robin Pollok, Bobby Frazer, Neil Ritchie, Justin Lyons (Club Manager) and our bar staff.

Rawdon Hesketh
Hon President

Season 2016 Round Up

Every season brings change, a new start, a clean sheet. To a degree we can shape it by planning and preparing in advance but there are a number of factors outwith of our control. We cannot manage the weather, injuries, players making themselves unavailable and outstanding bowling spells (A McKay of Watsonians: 9 for 9 off 6.2 overs). No matter how well the committee and coaches plan, these are the factors which can decide the final outcome. Yes, they all played their part in 2016!

Carlton won the CSL Eastern Premier Division and went on to beat Clydesdale in the CSL National Club Championship Final. Our 1st XI finished in fourth place, losing to Carlton and Watsonians twice and Forfarshire once, with our home game being rained off. We only managed to play 13 out of 18 league fixtures. Clydesdale won the Citylets Scottish Cup, beating us in the Quarter Final replay in Glasgow. Congratulations to Carlton and Clydesdale.

Twenty/twenty cricket was our strength this season. We beat Penicuik in the final of the Masterton Trophy and went on to win the Murgitroyd T20 Cup for the third time in four years, meeting Aberdeenshire in the final.

Andrew Brock has stepped down as 1st XI captain having led the team over two very successful years. I thank him for his efforts and wish him luck as he returns to the ranks.

We were extremely pleased when Chris Sole was awarded his first cap for Scotland in August against the UAE.

In the Baillie Gifford ESCA Championship, the Seconds finished 5th. It is always a pleasure to watch Stuart Davidson captaining the 2nd XI. He ensures every player knows their role and keeps them aware of the game situation. You can see the younger players developing all the time. I hope he can keep going a while longer!!

The Thirds finished 4th in ESCA Division 4. Perhaps if a few more catches had been held it would have been top three. The players seemed to enjoy their cricket under the leadership of Grant Docherty. Johnny Metcalfe was top run scorer in the league. He used to be a bowler!! At times there were three or four U13’s playing senior cricket and troubling the scorer. Ali Docherty (age 12) finished with twelve league wickets.

The Grange Cricket Academy was launched in January, with a full and testing development programme for the twenty plus boys selected. The feedback from the parents must have been extremely rewarding for the coaches involved. Quote ‘’You have created a great environment where the boys have been challenged and learnt a lot through the winter. I notice how energised my son is after the sessions’’. My thanks to John Blain and Raj Routray for getting the Academy up and running.

On Friday the 20th May the new junior practice nets were declared open, having been completed in two weeks – start to finish. My thanks to Gus Reinink, Lee Spendlove, Tom and Kevin and the weather over the period. A generous financial contribution from the main club helped make it possible and I would take this opportunity to thank the General Committee.

The Junior Stags enjoyed their cricket and achieved a great deal at all levels. The U13’s and U15’s had a very special season. They both won their respective Scottish Cups and as ECB Scottish Champions reached the final eight of the NatWest National Club Championships – out of 1700 entrants throughout the UK. The U18’s lost to Clydesdale in their Scottish Cup final. Nearly three Scottish Cup wins!! Representative honours – just too many to mention here. Congratulations to the boys and all the coaches involved. It must have been very satisfying. Our Junior Stags are now well known and highly regarded throughout the UK. The standard has been set.

Mazars, our partners, enjoyed another successful season and we are delighted that they are staying with us for a further three years. The Club certainly appreciates their continued support. Unfortunately Yorkshire County Cricket Club was not able to make it three county championship titles in a row.

Over the season 9 players were ‘Out First Ball’, 2 bowlers claimed ‘Five For’, 3 batsmen accumulated a ‘Ton’ – all recorded for posterity on our website under ‘The Pavilion’. Interestingly the ‘Tons and Five For’ performances were well down on last year.

Finally, my thanks to everyone, who by their efforts make play possible; scorers, umpires, tea ladies and their helpers, coaches, ground staff, the committees (Junior, Senior and General), team captains, Rebecca White (now in Singapore), Robin Pollok, Bobby Frazer, Neil Ritchie, Ali Ross (Club Manager) and our bar staff.

Rawdon Hesketh
Hon President

Season 2015 Round Up

You win some – in March we retained the Cricket Scotland Indoor Sixes Shield, won the Eastern Premiership in August and were crowned National Club Champions in September, beating Clydesdale in the Grand Final at Bothwell Castle, Uddingston. The Watts Frazer Trophy is still to make its way to Grange Loan (Carlton) and stays with us for the third year running.

And you lose some – unfortunately, we were not able to defend the Scottish Cup, having made it to the final for the third year in a row, and we also had to hand over the Murgitroyd Masterton and Murgitroyd T20 Trophies. Congratulations to Arbroath, Watsonians and Forfarshire respectively.

In the Baillie Gifford ESCA Championship, the Seconds finished 3rd and the Thirds finished 4th in ESCA Division 4. The Thirds manufactured 8 wins in a row despite losing their captain, Gordon Reed, in June. Who said he was irreplaceable? It was very rewarding to see five or six juniors playing in the Seconds, and starring. They also brought the average age of the team down considerably.

Our Junior Stags enjoyed their cricket and achieved a great deal at all levels. The U13s deserve a special mention winning their Scottish Cup, Scottish ECB Cup, North of Britain ECB Cup and finishing joint second in the ECB National Cup (out of 1700 entrants). They also won the Primrose Hill Indoor Cup at Lords and friends and admirers all over the country. Life-long memories for all of them. I look forward to watching this group move through the ranks.

In terms of representative honours, it was another good year for the Club. Ten boys were selected for the East squad with five playing regularly, three of those made it into the Scottish U15 squad, but only Robert Edwards was picked. Robert was a constant in the Scottish team throughout the season, including the annual Euros tournament at Rugby School and he is still available next year.

John Blain, our Director of Cricket, and Raj Routray, Club Captain, worked tirelessly throughout the season, their mission being to get boys through to playing senior cricket as soon as they are ready. This year we ran two U15 sides and provided coaching for the U18s squad for the first time. The assistance of senior players with coaching made a huge difference and they appeared to enjoy working with the boys. In January 2016 we will launch our own Cricket Academy!! The future is looking bright.

Mazars, our partners, enjoyed a second successful season. I am very pleased that both Grange and Yorkshire County Cricket Club were able to produce the results they deserve. The Club certainly appreciates their continued support.

Over the season 7 players were Out First Ball , 10 bowlers claimed Five For (Tom Sole 3 times), 7 batsmen accumulated a Ton (George Munsey twice) – all recorded for posterity on our website under The Pavilion .

Finally, my thanks to everyone, who by their efforts make play possible; scorers, umpires, tea ladies and their helpers, coaches, ground staff, the committees (Junior, Senior and General), team captains, Bobby Frazer and Ali Ross (Club Manager) and our bar staff.

Rawdon Hesketh
Hon President

Season 2014 Round Up

‘The more you put into something, the more you get out’ – this is how I would sum up the results of our efforts this season. We are the current holders of three Scottish Cups (1st XI, U15 & U13), the Masterton Trophy, the Murgitroyd T20 Trophy, Cricket Scotland Indoor Sixes, the Watts Frazer Trophy and the U13 National Cup. Not a bad haul!

Uniquely, both Grange Cricket and Hockey currently hold their respective Scottish Cups; this is the second year running for the cricket. Our youngest cricketers also won the majority of the Kwik Cricket tournaments they played in, and five Grange boys helped Scotland win the Royal London U15 County Cup against Gloucestershire, and this by just one run in the last over.

Our partners, Mazars, were very pleased with their first season ‘in partnership’ with us and we plan to cement this next year. In a further display of fine judgement, Mazars also chose to sponsor Yorkshire County Cricket who won the Division One County Championship. They obviously know a bit about cricket and building partnerships!

Special mention should go to George Munsey who was awarded his first Scotland cap against New Zealand A. Congratulations also to Jamie Crawley and Andrew Appleton who were respectively named regional player of the year for the East U15’s and Scotland U15 player of the year. The First Eleven finished third in the Eastern Premier League, the Second Eleven sixth in the ESCA Championship League and the Third Eleven, third in East Division 4. A huge thankyou is due to Mike Powell, our Director of Cricket, who leaves us to go to Rugby School – our loss, their gain.

Over the season 14 players were ‘Out First Ball’, 4 bowlers claimed ‘Five For’ (Raj Routray 3 times), 2 batsmen accumulated a ‘Ton’ and 1 bowler bagged a ‘Hat Trick’ – all recorded for posterity on our website under ‘The Pavilion’. A common theme this season seemed to be batting collapses (11 for 7 vs Aberdeenshire); if we can eliminate these next year perhaps we can win the League as well.

The building of a cricket club is never complete and, as current ‘trustees’, we have a duty to make the Club stronger and as ‘fit to play’ as possible. It is not an easy task – long-serving players (Gregor Maiden and Simon Smith) retire, people move on and there is greater pressure on everyone’s time these days. In fact, there is seldom a Saturday in the season when we enjoy full availability. The priority, therefore, is to bring young players through to the senior teams as soon as possible and we are already working on this. To this end, we have recently appointed John Blain as our Director of Cricket and he will have a big role to play at all levels. I very much look forward to seeing how we shape up next season.

Cricket is certainly a time game and I would like to thank everyone involved with the Club for giving so much of theirs during the season. There are too many individuals to mention in this short blog; however, on a collective basis, I must thank the Club’s General Committee for their support, the Team Captains and their gaffers for a job well done, the Tea Ladies for their superb teas, the Cricket Committee (Senior and Junior) for their time, the Scorers for recording, the Coaches for their efforts, the Ground staff for their preparation, the Club Manager (Ali Ross) for keeping an eye on all of us and the Bar staff for all the Guinness they poured for me. I am sure we all share the same satisfaction in the players’ achievements and I look forward to starting all over again next year.

Rawdon Hesketh
Hon President