Scotland v South Africa 27, 28 & 29 June 1912
by Cricket Scotland

Ground:Raeburn Place, Edinburgh
Scorecard:Scotland v South Africans
Event:South Africa in British Isles 1912

DateLine: 4th February 2013




Day 1:
A start was made yesterday at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, with the second of the South Africans' fixtures in Scotland, but, unfortunately, the display given by the Scottish players was not of such a character as to warrant the hope, far less the belief, that the ultimate result would be any more satisfactory than that obtained in the first match at Partick in the early part of the week.


A good deal of the Scottish batting was feeble, extremely so, and with one or two exceptions the men from whom runs were expected to come were those who disappointed most.


R.G. Tait was top scorer, but even he was not conspicuously successful, and, valuable though every one of his runs was, he always found them hard to get. He seemed to like best the deliveries of A.D. Nourse, but he was taken off early, and little could be made of G.A. Faulkner. The Forfarshire cricketer was not so free as he has often been in big matches; indeed, his style was stiff and cramped, and he used his legs to guard his wickets far too much.


From the start it was very evident that the bowling was good. The wicket, too, it was all too obvious, was giving the trundlers some assistance, and on a pitch that was doing that it was, after all, no disgrace to be beaten by a bowler of the calibre of Faulkner.


The very fact he was Faulkner, one of the famous "googlie merchants," no doubt helped a lot in getting rid of several of his victims, but the South African was undoubtedly difficult to play, and so, too, was C.P. Carter, who, like Nourse, is a left-handed bowler.


The fielding of the Colonials was particularly good, and T.A. Ward kept the wicket in splendid style. J.W. Sorrie showed some resolution at a time when a complete collapse seemed probable, Three of Scotland's main props, M.R. Dickson, B.L. Peel, and J.A. Fergusson, had gone down flop, but the Carlton man helped Tait to steady up matters.


The stand they made was a very promising one, and keen disappointment was felt when the partnership was broken. All the same, Sorrie, was not seen to advantage any more than Tait, and as good cricket as was seen on the Scottish side came from Benskin, the Perthshire professional, and R.W. Sievwright. The Scottish "tail" did their part fairly well, they took the total to within six of the century, after it seemed more likely that something in the fifties would be furthest it would go.


As has often been the case in former big matches, the Scotsmen may show some recovery, and do better on their second visit to the wicket, but yesterday's play by them, all over, was disappointing, even after every allowance has been made for the good bowling and fielding, and for the trickiness of the wicket, which was not so difficult as it was made to appear to be. There was a lack of spirit about much of the Scottish batting.


One good result of the early stoppage of play yesterday may be that the match has a better chance now of going well into Saturday than it would otherwise have had; it will be most unfortunate for the Scottish Cricket Union, under whose auspices the game is being played, if they do not get a Saturday afternoon "gate," especially as the Glasgow match was not a success financially any more than it was from a playing point of view.


The drawings at the Glasgow match were under £200 and with the South Africans' share deducted, and the expenses, there will be little, if anything, left for the coffers of the Union. There would be an attendance of close upon 2000 at the match yesterday when rain stopped the game early in the afternoon.


Scotland's start was not a happy one, a wicket falling in the first over, which was sent down by Nourse. P.S. Fraser was first to go, beaten as has often been the case this season, by a rising ball on the off which he could not resist nibbling at. He paid the penalty by being easily taken at short slip. The "rot" only wanted a start, and when the other three of Scotland's best batsmen all left at 5, the prospects were of the gloomiest, and there were visions of something like a record score for smallness.


The captain of the side, Dickson, was the next to go, beaten by a leg-break from Faulkner, who, after tempting Peel to step in to a slightly shorter pitched ball of the same order, disposed of Fergusson with an almost exactly similar delivery. Faulkner's bowling was interesting to watch. He was mixing them up nicely, and every now and then he sent up a "googlie," which broke in sharply from the off, but as a rule he depended on leg-breaks.


He did not seem so fast as Dr. Hordern used to be, but the ball nipped off the pitch quickly enough to be bothersome. None of the batsmen were at their ease with him. Of the lot Tait was most so, and he was then being looked upon as the hope of the Scottish side. He used his pads freely to the balls pitched off the wicket, and had one appeal for obstruction given in his favour, a full tosser that landed almost on his foot.


Tait found in Sorrie a useful partner, and the two added 42 to the score. The Carlton man, however, was never comfortable, and though he gave no actual chance he did not seem to know a great deal about some of the balls he sent through the slips. He had at least three risky ones in that direction.


The first change in the bowling took place at 38, when Carter went on for Nourse, who in his last over had been hit by Tait for 4, 2, 3 in successive balls, the 4 being a fine drive to the boundary, the only stroke that reached the ropes before lunch. Sorrie, however, had also a 4, all run, a nice hit to leg, in Carter's first over, and Tait drove Faulkner along the ground to the off for a 3.


One was just beginning to think that these two were settling down to make a big score when Tait was brilliantly taken by L.J. Tancred at point, the captain of the South Africans for the match getting the ball about a foot from the ground, and though he fell he managed to bring off the catch.


It was a very fine effort, but everyone around the ropes was sorry to see the Forfarshire bat disposed of. Tait was at the wickets just a minute or two under an hour and the only semblance of a chance he gave was when with his score at 22. H.W. Taylor, standing square to leg, just got his hand to a ball after jumping for it that went for 3.


Sorrie did not long survive. He left at 51, and at the same total W.F. Turnbull fell a victim to the quickness of Ward at the wicket. The Stewartonian made a big effort to get back in time, but it was to no avail, Keene's hand was up and he had to go, and even from the ropes the decision seemed quite good.


There were no further disasters before lunch, Benskin, and G.K. Chalmers keeping together till the interval, when the total stood at 61. Benskin was missed before the interval by Taylor off a lusty drive, and that was the only real mistake made by the Colonials in the field.


On resuming these two got some very useful runs, the Forfarshire stumper hitting out freely, as is his wont, but unfortunately they did not stay long enough to give the Scottish score a sadly needed lift up, and both had their stumps hit, the Perthshire professional at 70, and Chalmers at 76.


Chalmers never played the ball that bowled him. He seemed as if he wanted to have a swipe at it, but changed his mind, and, evidently under the belief that the ball was going past the wicket, made no effort to stop it. But it came in a lot from the off, and the wicket was broken.


It was then thought that 80 would see the whole side out, but the last pair gave a help on to the score, and it was not until the total had reached 94 that the end came, not a bad aggregate after the wretched start that was made. Sievwright had some remarkably good strokes, and played with far more confidence than most of the others. The innings lasted an hour and forty-five minutes.


When the South Africans went in to bat shortly after three o'clock the light was far from good, and soon after their innings began the rain came on. Play was persisted in for some time, but the innings had only lasted about half an hour when an adjournment was made.


About five o'clock an inspection of the pitch was made by the rival captains, and it was at once decided to abandon play for the day. Ringrose and Sievwright had started the bowling, and despite the poor light the batsmen had never been in trouble. They played with ease, particularly after the rain came on.


Taylor put the first ball of the innings away nicely to leg for a 4, and Tancred paid special attention to the Arbroath United bowler, who was twice driven to the ropes in hearty style. No change was made in the attack, but probably a new trundler would have been tried the next over had not the state of the weather intervened. The South Africans had suffered no loss at the close of play and had got 34 runs.


Day 2:
Bad luck as regards weather again attended the match at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, between the South Africans and Scotland, and as was the case on Thursday there was yesterday less than two and a half hour's play.


Rain began to fall about ten o'clock, and it continued, more or less heavily, for nearly three hours. A start was not made until after four o'clock. Previous to that a mutual arrangement had been come to between L.J. Tancred and M.R. Dickson the respective captains, to finish the match on a different wicket from the one played on the previous day, a most unusual thing to do, though not unknown in first-class cricket.


It was, however, the best thing possible under the circumstances, for the original pith was in a terrible state, it was like a puddle, and could not have been played on for hours. The new wicket had neither been rolled nor cut.


The Scots were in the field all the time that play lasted yesterday, and they gave a very satisfactory account of themselves, far more so than they did with the bat. When conditions of the ball and ground are taken into account it must be owned that the bowling was wonderfully good.


It was not at all bad business for the Scots to get rid of seven batsmen for 201 runs, under conditions that were altogether in favour of the batting side, and that the scoring was as heavy as it was, was largely due to the hard-hitting Nourse, who had more than a third of the runs off his own bat.


The batting generally of the South Africans was not impressive, with, perhaps, the exception of Nourse, who showed himself to be a typical example of the distinguished order of left-handers; not a pretty bat to look at, but most effective. There was little in Faulkner's cricket to suggest that he is one of the world's greatest all-round cricketers, and he was quite overshadowed by Nourse.


It was most satisfactory to see the fielding of the Scotsmen so smart and sure; not a catch was dropped . Sievwright, Ringrose, and Benskin, all bowled well, and all were indebted to the fieldsmen. The immediate effectiveness of the last-named suggested that the Scottish captain had made a mistake in not putting him on earlier than he did.


The wicket, it is true, in its sodden condition at the start of play was not then in a good state for a fast bowler being seen to advantage, but it was a subject of general remark that the Perthshire professional should have got his chance much earlier than he did, and also that Sievwright was kept on far to long. Except for four overs, he bowled during the whole time that the South Africans' innings lasted, half an hour on Thursday afternoon and two and a half hours yesterday.


When play began soon after four o'clock there would be close on 1000 people inside the ground, and many of them had had a weary wait, and were heartily glad to see a start made.


The bowling was again in the charge of Sievwright and Ringrose, and on the easy pitch both batsmen got runs steadily, but there was nothing particularly noteworthy in the cricket. Twenty runs had been added from the start of the day's play when the first wicket went down, Taylor being finely taken at mid-off by Fraser, who had to run a bit to take the catch, and was standing awkwardly when it came to him.


One success led to another, for only five runs had been added when Tancred, who was evidently caught in two minds, returned a ball in the tamest possible fashion to the bowler, and Sievwright was only too pleased to take his first wicket.


These Scottish successes brought Nourse and Faulkner together, and these two famous bats made light of the Scottish attack. They began fairly quietly, but ere long Nourse had got accustomed to his surroundings, and kept the field busy. Nor did he show any special partiality for any one stroke, but most of his runs were made on the on side of the field, and he had a very nice stroke off his legs.


He gave no actual chance, but several of his hits were of a risky character, and he was lucky to find these falling always well out of harm's way. It was mainly due to the efforts of the big left-hander that the hundred went up after an hour and a half's play, and it was hurried on as the result of two lively overs, one after the other, from which he gathered to himself 13 runs from Ringrose and 12 from Sievwright. One of the hits off the latter was a fine off-drive over the ropes.


The first change in bowling was made shortly after the hundred was hoisted. Peel went on for Ringrose, and for a time he kept down the rate of scoring. But his sixth over was his last; off it 13 runs were hit. Sievwright was persevered with for a while longer, and he was bowling well, though he had met with no success since getting rid of the South African captain, and both batsmen, particularly Nourse, were getting runs off him.


Fergusson, however, relieved the Arbroath United man at 118, but he had 19 runs scored off his four overs, and was soon taken off, and Sievwright put on again at the same end. Nourse got his 50 in fifty five minutes, and continued to pay dashing cricket until the total had reached 175, when he was out to a wonderful one handed catch by Fergusson at third man.


The ball had been cut very hard, but as it was flashing past the fieldsman for, to all appearance, a certain boundary, the Perthshire man got up his left hand to the ball just as swiftly, and a most troublesome man was disposed of in brilliant fashion. A loud cheer greeted this great bit of fielding, and the cheering was renewed in hearty fashion as the batsman retired.


Nourse had given the spectators a lot of good entertainment, and included in his strokes were one 6 and six 4's. Faulkner, who had been much quieter, left at the same total, and he, too, was out to a hot catch by Pell at mid-off. He had five 4's.


Still another disaster befell the visitors, for only two later, 177, Stricker had his stumps disturbed by the Perthshire professional, while at 195 the Scots claimed other two victims. Thus from the time than Benskin went on at 166 four wickets had gone down for only 28 runs, and Scotland's star was shining brightly.


Benskin got a wicket in his second over, and in the seven that he sent down he had three for 16 runs, and he might have had Carter's wicket too had not Turnbull slipped and fallen on the incline in coming in to take a palpable chance.


Sievwright also bowled well towards the close of play, and White was out at 10 off his bowling top a smart bit of stumping, after getting a "life" at 4 from the wicket-keeper, who removed the bails, adroitly enough, but failed to take the ball. But the Arbroath man came in for very severe punishment in his last over, which was quite a sensational one.


Carter who is a left-hander, and, like Nourse, a smiter of no small power, pulled the third ball of the over over the ropes on to the wall at the Water of Leith side, and the next two balls were sent into the road at almost precisely the same spot. Thus the last three counting balls of the day were 6's, which made quite a cheery finish.


Day 3:
Play was again seriously restricted on account of rain in this match at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, but the game lasted long enough to be brought to a definite conclusion, and the result was an easy win for the South Africans.


At no time during the day, unless it was when rain was falling in the early part of the afternoon, did Scotland look like even making a draw of it, and the finish was a very meek and mild affair.


The Scotsmen soon got rid of the three upstanding South African wickets, Sievwright getting them all, and after that had been accomplished the Scotsmen, 169 behind, had again a nasty playing pitch to bat on. But even making full allowance for that, the batting was even more feeble in the second innings than in the first, and both Faulkner and Carter, who bowled unchanged, had a crop of easy victims.


Their bowling was again good, but several of the batsmen got themselves out, and the bowlers were backed up by sure work in the field. Several excellent catches were taken, and in three or four cases the Scottish batsmen fell to what were distinctly loose balls, which, instead of getting wickets, should have been put to the ropes.


It was either a matter of nerves or inexperience. The fielding of the visitors was always bright, and the Scotsmen did well in that respect also during the half hour the South Africans were batting on Saturday. It was in batting that they failed.


The rain in the forenoon, and the general uncertainty of the weather, no doubt kept many people away, and in the circumstances the attendance of close upon 2000 was not at all unsatisfactory, and the drawings for the three days, each of two and half hours' play, would probably amount to £150.


A start was made at half past one, after an early lunch, and a little more than half an hour sufficed to bring the South Africans' innings to a close. Sievwright got all three wickets that fell on Saturday from four overs and three balls, and they cost him only ten runs.


There was more rain before the representatives of Scotland could begin their second innings, and there was close on ninety minutes delay before Tait and Sorrie, the opening pair, went to the wicket.


When play started on Saturday, it was on the original pitch, but after the heavy rain between innings, the second pitch, the one the South Africans batted on on Friday, was reverted to.


Thus for the third time a change in the wicket had been made, the two pitches having each two spells of play upon them. The Scottish pair opened with more confidence than was the case on the first day of the match against the bowling of Carter and Faulkner, but a full pitched ball from the former seemed to swerve past Tait, and he was beaten.


Dickson had one or two good strokes, but with the total at 26, he was out to a fine one handed catch at mid-off, and four later the same fielder, Stricker, took another good one at mid-on, the fielder securing the ball low down, and bringing off a clever catch. Sorrie had batted nicely during his stay.


Ten later both Peel and Benskin left the former pulling a short one round to leg straight to Beaumont, who was in the deep field. If it had been a trap placed for him the Grange player could not have fallen into it more simply. Benskin was completely beaten by the fast straight one that Faulkner was using very sparingly.


Five wickets were down for 42. Then Fraser was all at sea in playing both bowlers: he was painfully ill at ease, and after scraping together four singles, he was bowled by a ball he never tried to play.


Fergusson for a time looked like putting a better face on the situation, but he, like others of his colleagues, was caught off a loose ball, which he did not hit hard enough, besides placing it straight to a fielder's hands. Scotland's second venture lasted just under two hours, and the South Africans won by an innings and 97 runs.

(Article: Copyright © 2013 Cricket Scotland


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