Heriot’s and Watsonians cricketers will tomorrow meet in the Scottish Cup final for the first time since 1978.
Back then, three wickets from George Goddard helped Heriot’s restrict ‘Sonians to 100-9 off 35 overs and then 46 not out from Andrew Ker and 41 from Hamish More saw the Goldenacre men to glory. Heriot’s have won the cup once since then, in 2000 when 53 from Jim Love saw them edge past Grange, while Watsonians have only been in one final since then, in 1983, losing to Ferguslie.
Despite no cup successes in 12 years for Heriot’s two of their players, Kevin McLaren and Sean Weeraratna, were involved when Greenock defeated Carlton in 2007 while Steve Knox (Grange 2004), Keith Morton (Penicuik 2008) and Cameron Farrell and McLaren again (Dunfermline 2011) have played in losing finals.
Heriot’s captain Knox said: “I guess it is good to have had players who have been involved in finals before, but Watsonians have some very experienced cricketers too and I think the sides are fairly evenly matched.”
As Watsonians go looking for their first Scottish Cup triumph captain Stuart Chalmers will be skippering a team at this stage for the second time. In 2008 he was in charge as Penicuik lost to Ferguslie while Andy Hislop was playing as a youngster as Clydesdale lost in 2002 and Craig Wright’s West of Scotland lost in 2003. Wright did win the cup with Greenock in 2006 and 2007 though, and Dewald Nel was involved in 2006 too.
After returning to his first club this summer, Nel said: “There is a really good buzz around our dressing room and I think this squad has gelled together very well. The younger players have bought into what we are trying to do. I have enjoyed being back at the club and it would be great to be part of a cup victory.”
The teams have met twice this term and although Watsonians won them both in the Eastern Premier Division, they were tight affairs. At Myreside in May Watsonians won by one wicket, a century from now departed pro Jean Symes helping them chase down the visitors’ 286-6 built on Knox’s 101. And at Goldenacre in early August 69 not out from Ewan Chalmers helped ‘Sonians to edge home by three wickets.
Peter Ross will bolster Her-iot’s batting line-up, having returned from the Under-19 World Cup, while McLaren –who took a hat-trick in that 2007 final for Greenock – has cut short a trip abroad to play.
Watsonians have Fraser Boyd, who broke a finger in the semi-final win over Stenhousemuir six days ago, and Andrew Fraser-Harris missing. James Easton and Mark Yellowlees come in.