Scotland v Ireland 7, 9 & 10 July 1928
by Cricket Scotland

Ground:Raeburn Place, Edinburgh
Scorecard:Scotland v Ireland
Event:Ireland in Scotland 1928

DateLine: 3rd February 2013




Day 1:
Ireland's cricketers batted practically all day in the game with Scotland at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, and if their rate of scoring was never rapid, they were always getting runs at a fair pace. Their innings lasted fully five hours, so that they were scoring on an average close to 70 runs per hour.


For their big total of 346 they were largely indebted to a splendid three figures innings by T.J. Macdonald, and in a lesser degree to contributions by T.G. McVeagh, who had a century against the West Indies' team, and A.C. Douglas, who played for Ireland against Scotland at Murrayfield in February.


There was nothing particularly distinctive about any of the batting, but it was essentially sound, and if Macdonald might have shown more enterprise, especially after reaching his hundred, one had nothing but admiration for the correctness and the effectiveness of his cricket. Never did he look like getting out.


No risks were taken, and if his ten 4's indicated that he could hit with some power, it was a noteworthy feature of his play that rarely did he raise the ball off the ground. His display was neither thrilling nor spectacular. Runs came steadily at something like 30 runs an hour, and his last 30 were made no more rapidly than his first, but his innings might well be described as a model of accuracy, for not only did he give no chance, but he never made a really bad stroke during his stay of over four hours.


The young Irishman took his cricket very seriously, and entered into it in a thorough Test game spirit. It was, indeed, a most profitable effort for a three days' match, and it placed Ireland in such a strong position as to make defeat very improbable.


The Scots will have their backs to the wall today in order to get on level terms. McVeagh, a left-hander, had a greater punch in his strokes, and Douglas was the fastest scorer of the three. His stay was one of about fifty minutes.


The Irishmen got a splendid start, and the total was 75 before a wicket fell, but the best stand of the day was that for the fourth wicket, when T.J. Macdonald and McVeagh put on 144 runs. The captain, J.B. Ganly, also a rugby internationalist, gave little trouble, and it may be that some of the latter batsmen were not over careful in their methods. But the side, as a whole, proved themselves to be exceedingly capable with the bat, and if they can bowl and field as well the Scots will have no easy task to save the game.


Scotland's captain, J. Kerr, seemed at times at his wits' end as to what to do, but he kept ringing the changes on his bowlers, and his stock five had all a try before lunch. Later they had each one or more spells. It was at 181, with only three wickets down, that A.J. Stevenson was called on to bowl his underhand lobs, but his first over was his last. The captain took fright when 15 runs were hit from his innocent looking deliveries, three 4's, a 2, and a single, and he was immediately taken off.


The seventh bowler of the innings was G.W.A. Alexander, who though successful with the ball when at Glenalmond does very little trundling nowadays, and was never even considered as a bowler for Scotland. Yet he it was, with the assistance of the wicket-keeper, who got the century maker's wicket, and when he claimed another victim a little later he had dismissed two men for 12 runs.


It was a lucky hit the calling up of the Gordon Highlanders' officer, and but for his success, and the fact that C. Groves took two wickets cheaply near the end, the Irishmen would probably not have been got out on Saturday.


Generally the Scottish bowling was easily played, but the men stuck gamely to their work and if plenty of loose balls were sent down, and duly punished, it can be said that there was always a praiseworthy vigour about the attack, and many a time batsmen were beaten without being bowled.


T. Watson had that experience, and Dr Melville frequently missed the stumps and no more It was sound, careful batting rather than poor bowling that accounted for the big score, and the runs were got despite the fact that the fielding all round deserved nothing but praise, and in that department Kerr and Tennent were as good as any.


The Scots took a great deal of credit from their fielding. Craig kept the wicket well, and if 22 byes were conceded, it is but fair to point out that they came from seven balls, some of which deceived the Watsonian into the belief that they would hit the wickets. He had one stumping and two catches.


Scotland had less than ten minutes' batting, and in that time, and from three overs, eleven runs were obtained. Craig had two 4's, and in the getting of one of them, he had a narrow escape of being caught in the slips. It was a dangerous stroke, but the ball passed safely between two fieldsmen out of the reach of both.


The day was gloriously fine, one of the best of the season, but the attendance was disappointing. Not more than 2000 would be present.


Day 2:
As the outcome of yesterday's play in the game between Scotland and Ireland at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, the Irishmen were left in such a strong position that they can scarcely lose the game. Something wonderful will have to happen to bring about a Scottish victory.


The chances are heavily in favour of the Irish eleven, who were 135 runs on the first innings and, by scoring 111 for the loss of four wickets in the second, finished the day 246 ahead with still six wickets to fall.


Having established themselves so strongly, it seemed strange that they should not have pressed home their advantage more vigorously than was the case. But no attempt was made to force the pace, and if they have to rest content with a drawn match they will have themselves largely to blame.


Their second innings lasted fully two hours, and they took their batting as seriously as if they were in a precarious position instead of, as was clearly the case, being well on top. The Scottish bowlers were permitted to send down maiden after maiden over.


The wicket was always an easy one, and if the bowling was good and the fielding better, these were not sufficient reasons for the tame display of batting that was given.


The Scottish innings lasted three hours and three quarters. Except for a characteristic John Kerr display and a valuable stand by G.W.A. Alexander and C. Melville, which put on 59 runs for the seventh wicket and saved the follow on, there was nothing outstanding in the batting, and a lot of it was obviously disappointing.


Several men were out to bad strokes. The bowling, however, was of such a quality that risks could not be taken against a big score. There was a lot of trickiness about it, and notably about that of the left-hander, J. Macdonald. He gave the batsmen a lot of trouble without meeting with much success. T.H. Dixon was another who bowled well, and he came out with the best analysis, five for 52.


Play at the start was exceedingly slow, and maiden overs were very common. L. Craig had a risky stroke or two before he was taken at cover point with the total at 37, and A.J. Stevenson should have been stumped when he had made 2, but the wicketkeeper failed to gather the ball from J. Macdonald's bowling.


Kerr was batting with the utmost care, and never tried to score unless he was quite sure that the stroke would be an absolutely safe one. As a result of the steady going of the batsmen, thirteen of the first 26 overs were maidens. After Kerr and Stevenson had put on 42 for the second wicket; Stevenson was caught at short square leg in pulling a full tosser from J. Macdonald. It was a firmly hit stroke, and the catch was a good one, the fieldsman stopping the ball with one hand and then taking it with both.


Up to the time of D.A. Mackay coming in J. Macdonald had had but 15 runs hit from his eleven overs, but the big Clydesdale man started by pulling a ball from that bowler over the ropes and then hitting another for 4. Mackay put some life into the play, and got his 29 in little over half an hour from one 6, four 4's, a 2, and five singles.


Kerr went on in his own quiet way waiting for balls to hit, and effectively smothering those that were on the wicket or likely to prove troublesome, and when lunch time arrived he and Mackay were still together, and had taken the total from 79 to 121 for the loss of three wickets, which was quite good going.


The break in the game, however, proved costly for Scotland, for on resuming, and with but one run added, both Mackay and Kerr were dismissed. The Scottish captain had had a stay of two and a quarter hours, and had hit seven 4's. Up to the lunch interval, he seemed as if he were out in the middle for the rest of the day, and he had all along been risking an lbw decision being given against him, and it came after some half a dozen appeals had been answered in his favour.


A valuable innings it was, and he had had but one "life". He should have been stumped when 48 jumping out to hit a full "tosser" and missing it.


Alexander, whose first scoring stroke was a 6, and Dr Melville had a very useful partnership for the seventh wicket, and both men played soundly, though the Aberdeenshire player was lucky to be let off from a catch at square leg when he had made 13. The former was at the wicket for nearly an hour and a half, and had a 6 and six 4's.


After the separation the end soon came.


Scotland made an excellent start on the Irishmen going in again, for with the first ball of the second over, T. Watson's first, A.H. Robinson was out for obstruction before a run had been made. The brothers Macdonald were caution personified, and the number of maidens sent down became a feature of the play. Not until the seventh over of the innings was a run scored by either batsman, and when the first one came, from the fourth over of C. Groves, it was due to a misfield.


Watson opened with five maidens, and his clean record was also broken owing to a bit of misfielding. Do slow was the scoring that forty minutes' play produced but 13 runs.


The brothers put on 85 for the second wicket, and "safe and steady" was always the motto they seemed to have before them. Watson at one stage bowled eight overs, including six maidens, for nine runs, and at the close of play Groves had sent down 15, five of which were maidens, for 23 runs and two wickets.


C.V. Melville also opened with two overs from which no runs were got. T.G. McVeagh should also have been a victim for Groves, for he sent one back to the bowler, who tried to take the ball with one hand, and dropped it. The same Irishman had another bit of luck. He should have been run out, but a poor return to the bowler spoiled the chance for the Scots.


Stumps were drawn with Ireland's score standing at 111 for four wickets. Scotland's men have a big task before them today, when there is every prospect of a full day's play.


The weather was of variable character, dull at times and bright again, but there was always a blustering wind blowing, which prevented the cricket being fully enjoyable either for spectators or players. It was a handicap alike to batsmen, bowlers, and fielders.


So troublesome was the wind that the match had to proceed during the afternoon without bails on the stumps. They would not stay in their grooves. There were few spectators. At the most they would not muster 500.


Day 3:
An eventful day's cricket yesterday brought the Scotland Ireland match at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, to a close, and the result was a draw. It was a contest that is sure to be memorable. Despite a great century innings by J. Kerr, the Scottish captain, the finish was the best of the game, and too high praise cannot be bestowed on W.R. Duncan and T. Watson, the tenth and eleventh men respectively, and baulked the Irishmen of what at one time seemed to be a certain victory.


Nearly three quarters of an hour remained when Scotland's last pair came together, and it appeared a hundred to one chance against them being able to play out time. But the uncertainties of cricket have no limit, they managed to do so, and not only that but they carried the total from 258 runs to 302 and played quite good cricket during their long stay at the wicket.


Some luck they had, for each gave a palpable chance which should have been accepted to settle the issue, but they batted with no small assurance, and while both had a few boundary hits they showed excellent defence and good judgement in leaving alone dangerous balls on the off-side of the wicket. They provided a thrilling ending to what had been, on the whole, a dull contest, and if there were but a few hundred people present to see their plucky and successful effort, they, nevertheless, got an enthusiastic reception on retiring to the pavilion at the close of play, and the Irishmen joined heartily in the ovation that was given.


Scotland's team at the end were 64 runs behind with but one wicket in hand, and that after the Irishmen had closed their second innings with but five wickets down.


The feature of the earlier play was J. Kerr's contribution of 137. He has played many splendid innings against Ireland, but few can have been better than his latest effort, for after a characteristically careful start he hit with such freedom that he had no fewer than 23 boundary hits, and most of them drives.


This was his eleventh match against Ireland, and his hundred was his fourth in the series. He had a 178 in 1923 in Dublin, a 137 in 1926 at Greenock, and a 136 last year at the Irish capital, and in the course of yesterday's play he took his aggregate of runs for the contest well past 1000.


He required about a hundred runs from the match to do so, and over the two innings he obtained a total of 189, made up of 52 and 137. It was great work for the Scottish skipper, who once more proved himself to be the right man for a big occasion.


Early in Scotland's second innings an incident occurred which caused a good deal of comment. E.N. Seymour was brought on to bowl, and after he had sent down two deliveries the umpire at the bowling end, Fozzard, went to his colleague, Deyes, and there was a brief consultation. Seymour bowled a third ball, and then he was no-balled by Deyes, who was standing at square leg from his fourth.


Four runs were hit off the over, and before the next one, J.B. Ganly, the Irish captain, had a talk with Seymour, and the outcome was that he was taken off. He had but one over yesterday. Seymour bowled five on Monday, without the umpires showing any objection to his action, but that there was something queer about his deliveries had been noted and commented in the Press box.


The not-out Irishmen overnight, T.G. McVeagh (6) and A.C. Douglas (11), soon got busy. There was no pottering as on the previous evening, and that without anything spectacular being done in the hitting line. But runs came fast, and later there was scarcely a ball that was not scored from.


Maiden overs were as rare as they had been plentiful the night before. There was but one in 18 overs, whereas on Monday evening there were seventeen out of 47. The Scottish bowling was made to look very ordinary, but while the batsmen both scored rapidly they gave no chances; so quickly did they get runs that they put on 104 in fifty minutes.


The wicket raised the total from 95 to 215. After having lasted fully three hours the innings was closed, and Scotland left with 357 to get to win in about four hours and a half.


The Scots made an excellent start with Kerr and G.W.A. Alexander, who by steady play took the score to 54 before being parted. It was from a soundly hit pull that the Aberdeenshire player was caught right on the boundary. Kerr went steadily on his way, and the longer he stayed the freer his cricket became, though with his total at 32 he had a dangerous stroke through the slips.


It was a chance, but a very difficult one. That was his only real mistake in his three hours' innings. Kerr became so bold that 4's came rapidly from his bat; indeed boundary hits were more common than anything else, and twice he had strings of four of them from successive strokes. P.A.M. Thornton had two overs and 17 runs were made from them, four 4's and a single, and all of them credited to the man from Greenock.


That punishment brought on T.H. Dixon again, but Kerr did not mind the change, for in the new bowler's first over he hit him to the boundary four times. Later he had other three 4's off Dixon's bowling and one of these brought out his century. Between his 50 and his 100 Kerr had no fewer than eleven 4's.


So long as Kerr and Stevenson stayed together, and they added 89 for the second wicket of which the Edinburgh Academical had but 28, there was a chance of a victory for Scotland. And so it was when C. Groves was with his captain. These two added 78, and there were distinct possibilities then of a Scottish success.


So far all the Scottish batsmen had done good work. The coming of a new ball, however, at 200, which had taken two hours and forty minutes to make, brought luck to the Irish side, and the bowling success then obtained should really have proved the turning point in the game. There was a series of Scottish disasters. Groves left at 217, Kerr and D.A. Mackay at 225, J.M. Tennent at 233, and C. Melville at 238.


Kerr's great innings came to an end when he jumped out to a drive and missed the ball. It was an exceedingly smart bit of stumping, and when the wicketkeeper caught Mackay at the same total, he had done good service towards taking his side to victory.


Dixon had an inspired period during which he bowled so well, and with such deadly effect, that in six overs he dismissed four men for 9 runs. That success came at a critical stage in the game when it seemed that the result might be any one of three things, an Irish win, or a Scottish win, or a draw. His good time made it a very probable victory for Ireland.


Then A.C. Douglas got a couple of wickets cheaply, and with L. Craig and C.S. Scobie gone it was left to the two men Drinnan and Watson, who were played entirely for their bowling, to show great courage and confidence and play out time.


Both men had excellent strokes, but they never took risks. The closing period was full of excitement, and it might be said that the last quarter of an hour was worth all the rest of the game put together, even allowing for Kerr's magnificent innings, which quite put in the shade the three figure score of the Irishman, T.J. Macdonald, on Saturday.


The weather was again favourable. A troublesome wind was always blowing, and there was a period when it was so bad that the bails had again to be dispensed with, as on Monday. There was rain, too, and for considerable periods there were heavy and continuous drizzles. But there was only one brief adjournment, and that for ten minutes early in the day.

(Article: Copyright © 2013 Cricket Scotland


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