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.