Saturday, 12 July 2014

The Twentieth Post : Scotland v. The Netherlands, Game Three, Match Report.

With the three match series tied after two games today’s decider was set up to be a thriller. Unfortunately the Scottish weather had other ideas and cheated everyone out of what could have been a very intense and hard fought final by turning on some constant drizzle.
Regular pitch inspections by the umpires returned information that the Titwood ground’s outfield was draining well and that 'if only it would stop raining long enough to get the covers off we could get a game started'. Alas, that was never to be as the rain continued without let up and the game was abandoned at 2pm without a ball being bowled.
One convincing win for the Dutch, one convincing win to the Scots and one convincing washout to the weather. The very definition of a tied series in Scotland!
With no play available thought turned to what we have learnt during a series that started in blazing sunshine and ended in dreich drizzle (Besides that the Scottish weather is changeable).
We learnt that both teams have an abundance of class players, from Rippon holding the tail together to post a defendable total and Hamish Gardiner’s maiden half century in the first game to Macleods superb 145 and Ashan Malik’s fantastic 6/50 in the second. We learnt that both nations have captains of hardnosed steely determination and that they can both muster their players with ease. We saw that both teams have an ability to collapse and also to tough it out/bounce back when things get sticky.
The collapsing is an issue that both countries will have to address but with both nations having newly appointed coaches the erratic form could be explained by teething problems as new philosophies and ways of working are bedded in. Consistent high performances will be one of the main things both coaches will be striving to achieve with their respective teams especially considering how few games there are before both of their next big tournaments.
Scotland have a tour from the visiting New Zealand ‘A’ side in August to test the expanding player base they are developing and also three One Day Internationals against Ireland in Dublin in September to settle on a team to take to the World Cup early next year.
The Netherlands have no fixtures planned before their long route back to One Day Status begins with the World Cricket League Division Two in the first quarter of 2015.
If the future resembles the past, finishing in the top two of division two will secure the Dutch a place in the World Cricket league Championship where the top six (pending a World Cup Qualifier) should get O.D.I. status. As with all things I.C.C. related this is liable to change without notice and the recent restructuring via the ‘Big Three’ have added even more uncertainty.
Both coaches are happy with the development of their teams with Scottish coach Grant Bradburn saying that all members who earn their place through consistent performances are rewarded with a place in the team and cites examples like Gavin Main turning out solid performances for Durham and Michael Leask good efforts in the North Sea Pro Series.  
The North Sea Pro Series is something Dutch coach, Anton Roux, sees as invaluable for developing character in the new talent too and is confident that the exciting young player base it produces as something the Dutch will continue to use for blooding new talent and grow their player pool for the challenges ahead.

So, things this series has taught us ... the Scots and the Dutch are both highly competitive teams with an abundance of new talent coming through and are capable of turning on fantastic and crushing  performances on any given day but remain inconsistent at the moment but are determined to use every available experience to improve themselves.

And no matter what, the weather always wins.

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