Cricket: Rejuvenated batsman in return to form

FRASER WATTS believes Scotland's cricketers have the perfect incentive as they look to build on a runners-up spot in the World Cricket League.

The tournament finished in Holland at the weekend with Scotland losing out only to Ireland. But next up on Monday are Bangladesh who, last Saturday, posted a first-ever victory over England at Bristol.

Says Watts, who re-established himself in the side in Holland after spending the earlier part of the season on the sidelines: "Bangladesh will be tough but they are a Test playing nation and any success we are able to enjoy against a team of that calibre would help push us up the rankings."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The first of two matches on successive days takes placed at Titwood, Glasgow, and Watts can expect the call having made the most of a belatedopportunity to finish the World League with innings of 50 (against Afghanistan) and 98.

That helped take the Lloyds Banking group employee up to 3,763 runs for his country and past the Rev. Jim Aitchison.

He is now fifth in the Scottish all-time standings just six runs short of recently retired wicketkeeper/batsman, Colin Smith.

Watts said: "I didn't feel I wanted to prove a point when my chance came again and all along I just kept trying to force my way back through scoring runs.

"But I was trying to put a brave face on things after being left out.

"Apart from the thrill that always comes with representing your country, what I particularly missed was the camaraderie amongst this group of team-mates and I am sorry that my good fortune came partly as a result of an injury to Gregor Maiden.

"That's the way it goes in sport sometimes and having had a chat with coach Pete Steindl my aim is to try to kick on when I get myself in at the crease.

"Hopefully my spell on the sidelines can lead to me extending my Scotland career and maybe alongside my Carlton club-mate, Preston Mommsen."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Watts and Mommsen set a new Scottish one day record for an opening partnership against Ireland in Saturday's final — 141.

It wasn't quite enough to get the team over the line as Ireland passed a target of 232 with four wickets down but it did augur well for the future with Watts remarking of his South African-born colleague who qualifies for Scotland on residency: "Preston has great technical ability and is really driven to do well. His innings of 80 against Ireland showed a lot of character and there can only be good times ahead for him.

"He's been a hard worker ever since I've known him."

The pair don't have to wait long for a chance to develop their understanding as Friday evening sees Carlton entertain Grange in the final of the annual Murgitroyd Masterton Twenty20 tournament.

Watts said: "Preston and I have had a few 50 partnerships for Carlton this season and the target was always to reach three figures together. It was a bonus that it came in Scotland colours and now we'd like to do something on Friday against our local rivals followed by a league visit to Greenock the next day."

In compiling his knock of 98 Watts came close to carrying his bat throughout the innings only being caught on the boundary in the penultimate over.