Scotland v England XI 23, 24 & 25 May 1878
by Cricket Scotland

Ground:Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh
Scorecard:Scotland v England XI
Event:England XI in Scotland 1878

DateLine: 2nd February 2013




Day 1:
This match, which has been looked forward to with more than ordinary interest by cricketers during the past twelve month was begun on the splendid new ground of the Merchiston Cricket Club yesterday. Previous to the United South of England match last year the capabilities of Scotland to meet England on even terms was discussed and the result was that Major Dickins, one of the most enthusiastic of Scotch cricketers, was asked to get up a Scotch team.


With his characteristic energy, the Major set to work and the consequence was the leading Scotch cricketers both in Scotland and England, promised their co-operation. The subsequent taking on of the Yorkshire County Match lost the Major several of the best men in the East and West of Scotland, while various causes prevented some Scotchmen in England from fulfilling their promises, Watson failing to get away from Lancashire, while the two Steels (Cambridge University) and Lieutenant Renny Tailyour (Royal Engineers) could not get away to play for their native country. T.W. Lang (Grange and Oxford University), who was to captain the Scotch team, and Colquhoun of Carlisle were also prevented from playing at the eleventh hour.


Nothing however daunted the Major. Though pressed to play fifteen against the English eleven, he resolved to keep to elevens and so far as the game has yet gone, the team promises to make a good fight for the cricket honour of the country.


At the dinner which Mr Rogerson gave to the teams Major Dickins mentioned that it was exactly twenty nine years since the first All-England team under old Clarke, visited Edinburgh, Lord Haddington and Mr W. Moncreiff then being the fathers of the game in Scotland. Mr Moncreiff, who captained the Grange for so many years was, he said, taking a great interest in the match which was the first in which Scotland had attempted to play England on even terms.


The weather was showery and threatening during most of the day but notwithstanding this nearly a thousand spectators were present, including most of the cricketers in the district, with a large number of ladies. A new and commendable feature in the arrangements was the setting aside of a tent for the accommodation of the ladies. The play is more fully noticed below, suffice it to say that Bell, Roland, King, and Wright played splendid cricket. The Englishmen travelled all night and did not probably show in their best, but as the team is a hot one, several of them being heavy scorers as a rule. The ground it may be mentioned is eleven and a half acres in extent and yesterday the wicket prepared by Wright played very true.


Winning the toss, the Scotch captain (Mr Buchanan) elected to bat, Wright and Mr AH Dickins first facing the bowling of J. C. Shaw and Tye. Runs came slowly at first, Dickins eliciting a hearty round of applause for a cut for 3 off Tye. The “coach” soon drove J.C to the on and off for 4 each time, while the young Major put Tye neatly to leg for 3. With the score close on 20, Barnes relieved Tye, Wright putting the new comer neatly to square leg for 4. Several singles followed, but at 24, the young Major got run out, after a steadily played 8.


Lunch now intervened, and after resuming W. Maclagan joined Wright, Barnes and Oscroft changing ends. The usually steady and safe Academical scorer fell however to Barnes before getting set and made way for a Brunswick representative (P. King). At 28, Wright, who played genuine cricket for his score was caught in slips with an excellent 19 to his credit. Bell now joined King and some pretty all round play ensued. King led of by hitting Barnes for a brace and driving him soon after for 4, while his partner, who had opened with a trio of pretty plays for 2 each, cut J.C. Shaw past point for 3, which caused 40 to be hung out.


Contributions for small amounts followed from each player till close on 50 was reached when Barnes made way for Flowers. King cut the new bowler neatly for 3, while Bell got J.C. away for a like amount. At 59 however, Flowers got King caught at point and he retired with a well earned 15. Mr W. Rowland succeeded, and opened with one of his favourite plays to the on for 3. Bell and he then put Flowers to leg for 3 each in one over, which brought on the English captain at 72. Runs however, came apace, Rowland having a cut for 3 and a pretty play off his legs for a like amount off each bowler among other smaller hits. Before the three figures were hung out, Rowland had a nice hit to the one for 3 and Bell a pretty cut for a brace; but at 104 Rowland failed to get a proper hold of one of Oscroft’s and was held after a smartly made 35, made up of six 3’s, six 2’s, and singles.


After getting Howell for a partner, Bell put Oscroft out of the ground for 4 , and cut Flowers (who had relieved J.C. Shaw) neatly through the slips for 3, but at 111 he got in the way of one from Oscroft, and retired with a very prettily played for 29, amid cheering. His score including one 4, four 3’s, five 2’s and singles. Mr J. Craig filled the vacancy, but at 112 the rain came down so heavily that play had to cease about six o’clock for the day, leaving the match in a most interesting stage. Play will be resumed today at 11.30, when the band of the 50th (Queen’s Own) Regiment will be in attendance.


Day 2:
The second of this three days’ match played ay Merchiston Castle new ground was favoured with the weather and a good attendance of spectators. The cricket was of a high class kind all round, and the proceedings were enlivened by the presence of the band of the 50th Regiment. About 12.30 Messrs J. Craig and G. Howell, the not-outs of the previous day, reappeared at the wickets, to the bowling of Flowers and Oscroft.. The attack was good, so was the fielding, the consequence being runs were anything but plentiful. Still they came, and they were of the right sort.


When Thursday’s score (112) had been augmented by about 20 there was a double change in the attack, Barnes and J.C. Shaw taking the place of Flowers and Oscroft. Still runs came in driblets, and just as 140 was announced one of Shaw’s rose at Howell, and as he “tucked himself in” to avoid injury the ball cannoned from his breast on to his stumps. Seven for 140. Mr Buchanan filled the vacancy, but before he had contributed his stumps fell to Tye, who had relieved Barnes. Eight for 147. Mr Crichton, who succeeded, fared little better. Nine for 157. Messrs Craig and Macnair paired better, and at the luncheon time the score had reached 170. The innings was brought to a close immediately on a resumption being made by Mr Macnair getting caught. Mr Craig, who carried his bat, was loudly cheered.


Shrewsbury and Oscroft were the first to represent England at the wickets. Messrs Macnair and Buchanan attacked with really excellent bowling, but about a quarter of an hour elapsed before it took effect, Shrewsbury then falling a victim to a nice bail ball from Macnair. One for 11. Good resistance was also given by Oscroft and Selby but the bowling and fielding were so good that little could be got. Ultimately when 20 had been put on a second separation was effected by Selby being well bowled by Mr Buchanan. Two for 20.


At 22, Oscroft, who had earned 14 judiciously, was splendidly held by Mr Rowland off a hard hit to square leg. Wild and Barnes were next on the defence, and although a considerable time together, they did little in the way of getting runs; and at 30 Barnes, in playing to leg was caught by long stop. Soon after Wild was caught at wickets and Clarke bowled, making six wickets down for 35. Flowers and Pooley were next in charge, but this partnership, although it also existed for a considerable time, did not produce many runs, for at 38 Pooley was cleverly captured by the Young Major at long off. Seven for 38. At 63 Tye was well taken at cover-point by Mr Maclagan. Flowers and Smith then gave stout resistance, and at the same time scored freely. In order to effect a separation several changes were made in the bowling, but with no result, and when time arrived for the drawing the stumps the batsmen were left not out with 50 and 20 respectively, all very well earned. Play will be resumed at noon today.


Day 3:
Under the most favourable auspices so far as the weather was concerned, this match was resumed and finished on the new Merchiston ground on Saturday. The interesting stage at which the game was left on Friday night drew out a large assemblage of spectators, nearly 2000 having visited the ground during the day, including a considerable number of ladies. The cricketers in the district showed their interest in the match by turning out in large numbers, while several who have done yeoman service for Scotch cricket during the last twenty years were noticeable, the veteran ex-captain of the Grange (Mr William Moncreiff) being among the number.


From a cricket point of view the match has been the most successful yet played in Scotland, and showed that if the Scottish forces had not been divided the present team (a majority of whom represent one of the strongest counties in England) would have had a still harder fight for victory. The experiment of meeting an English eleven on equal terms has proved so successful that Mr D Buchanan has we understand been authorised to arrange a match, Eleven Gentlemen of England v Eleven Gentlemen of Scotland on the last Thursday and the following two days in July 1879 for which dates Mr Rogerson has given his ground. The Scotch team will be chosen by committee. For the next Queen’s Birth-Day and two following days the Carlton have also arranged to bring down an English eleven, Mr Sime having granted the use of his large new ground on the south side of the Grange Loan for the purpose.


It is satisfactory to learn that, the present match notwithstanding, the broken weather has proved a pecuniary success for Wright, the deserving Merchiston coach, a result greatly due to the liberality of a number of Scottish cricketers. Mr Hornby it may be mentioned who was to have captained the English team was prevented by the Lancashire County match from coming north. The day’s play is more fully noticed below, suffice it to say that the Englishmen thoroughly deserved their success. Yorkshire’s example the previous day had not been lost upon them and from the time they started the second innings their fielding and bowling were really magnificent, though it must be admitted that Scotland had several times hard lines. The Scotchmen, it was thought, erred in not changing their bowling sooner, but the fielding was good all through, notably Crichton at the wickets.


With the score at 120, Smith and Flowers took their place at the wickets at a quarter to twelve o’clock, Messrs Buchanan and Macnair bowling. When 10 more runs had been added to the total, Smith was dismissed by a ripping ball from Macnair. J.C. Shaw filled the vacancy, and opened with a nice drive for 3, but at 134 Flowers was bowled by the Scotch captain after an excellently played for 59, the English innings thus being 38 runs in arrear on the first innings.


After the usual interval, G. Howell and Wright led off the defence in Scotland’s second innings. It early became apparent that the Englishmen meant to do their best to win, the bowling and fielding at the outset being first-rate. After both batsmen seemed set, an unfortunate misunderstanding led to Wright getting run out at 5 before he had scored. Bell succeeded, and some grand defensive cricket ensued till 16 was reached, when Howell had the misfortune to play Oscroft on after a neatly made 11. W Maclagan filled the vacancy, but before scoring he was magnificently held off his glove in the slips by Tye, who fell on his face in the effort. Shaw just missed Roland before scoring, but at 26 Oscroft bowled him.


Four wickets were now down for 26, at which figures quite a series of disasters befell Scotland, Bell sending up one to mid on. King was smartly held at the wickets off his glove and John Craig clean bowled. A.H. Dickins and Crichton now got together and by dint of steady play got the total to close on 30, when lunch intervened, After resuming the pair brought the total to 35 when Crichton was clean bowled making eight wickets down. Macnair, however, was in his best form, and raised hopes of the Scotchmen by some pretty hits, a nice one to the on off Oscroft for 4 eliciting a hearty cheer. At 44, J.C. Shaw broke Dickin’s leg stump in two, and he made way for the veteran Scotch captain who defended his wicket gallantly while the young Academical went in for some very nice all-round hitting till the total was 52 when he sent an easy one back to Shaw. Macnair’s 15 included a 4, a 3, a trio of 2’s and only one single.


This left England 89 runs to get to win and nearly two hours and a-half to do it in. The English captain and Selby first faced the bowling of Macnair and Buchanan, Selby opened the hitting by a rattling hit to leg for 4, which only counted as two owing to short runs. After 10 runs were hung out, Selby again cracked the slow bowler to leg for 4 while he drove Macnair for 3 and put him to leg for a like figure. In Buchanan’s tenth over Selby drove him straight, but the catch was well judged by Bell who held it amid much cheering. One for 28, of which Selby had 25 made up of a 4, four 3’s, two 2’s and singles. Shrewsbury joined Oscroft and though runs came thick and fast no change was made to the attack, a course which caused some of the spectators to cry out to change the bowling.


When nearly half the runs had been got J. Craig was tried at Macnair’s end which did not suit him, Shrewsbury having a leg hit for 4 off him. Macnair was again tried at 60, and at 63 the Scotch captain, who had to leave for England, retired in favour of Mr Dickins with lobs. Runs, however, came apace and at 76 Bell was tried in place of Dickins. Oscroft then got Macnair prettily square to leg. The catch was splendidly judged by Roland, who had a strong sun in his eyes, but he held it amid great applause. Oscroft’s innings was a genuine cricket display, for which he received an ovation on his return to the pavilion. Two for 82.


Wild came in, and every run was now eagerly watched, as it was close on time. In attempting a short run, Wild was magnificently thrown out by the young Major, which left the match a tie. Rain now fell in torrents, but rather than allow the match (which was a virtual win for England) to end in a draw, Mr Dickins sent out his team after it cleared up about ten minutes after time, and enabled Tye to make the winning hit, victory thus falling to England by seven wickets.

(Article: Copyright © 2013 Cricket Scotland


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