SCOTLAND suffered a second YB40 defeat in their Bank Holiday double-header but salvaged pride in going down by 14 runs to a classy Surrey outfit at The Grange yesterday.
While they had been comprehensively outplayed by Derbyshire on Sunday, the Saltires showed much more spirit and briefly had the county rattled as they threatened to pull off an unlikely run-chase. Needing 238 for victory following Vikram Solanki’s excellent unbeaten century, Scotland’s young openers found it tough going against the seasoned county attack.
Matty Cross and Freddie Coleman are among those who represent the future of Scottish cricket, but Surrey’s trio of England pace bowlers had experience on their side. Jade Dernbach and Jon Lewis conceded just 23 runs in the opening power-play overs, the latter bowling Cross for 9.
In contrast, the home bowlers had leaked 49 runs during the corresponding period of the Surrey innings. The arrival of the tall Chris Tremlett into the attack presented new challenges but Coleman and Ewan Chalmers initially met them head on, the former launching a spirited counter-attack. Coleman had reached 32 with two lofted drives to the long-off boundary when Tremlett induced a false stroke and Zander de Bruyn took an easy catch.
Chalmers also appeared to be warming to his task, having reached 20, before he was trapped by a Tremlett delivery which kept low.
From 61-1 in the gathering gloom and within striking distance, the Saltires were suddenly on 75-3 and about 25 runs adrift of the par score.
It got worse when a further three wickets fell to leave the home side reeling on 118-6.
However, Calum MacLeod and Majid Haq led a thrilling onslaught which briefly raised hopes of a sensational win. The pair added 60 before Haq retired hurt with MacLeod reaching a deserved half-century with a straight six off de Bruyn.
Gordon Goudie’s arrival at the crease saw the attack continue, the all-rounder striking 15 from only six balls for the second time in the campaign.
MacLeod was eventually yorked by Dernbach for an excellent 59 before Haq limped back out to continue his brave assault, finishing unbeaten on 36 as the Saltires fell just short.
Earlier the Surrey batsmen had given an object lesson in partnership building.
On Sunday, it had been Derbyshire’s Chesney Hughes and Shivnarine Chanderpaul and now the former England duo of Steve Davies and Vikram Solanki took their chance to milk the Scottish bowling.
Davies did survive an early chance when he was put down by wicketkeeper Cross off Goudie.
Had the catch been taken it would have reduced the county to 36-2 as Goudie had already removed Jason Roy thanks to MacLeod’s superb diving catch at deep backward point.
Instead Davies and Solanki brought up their hundred partnership in 18 overs and showed little sign of easing up.
Solanki, an old adversary of the Saltires from his Worcestershire days, moved effortlessly to his half-century, stroking six boundaries and hoisting one six over the temporary stand.
Davies reached the same landmark four overs later as the pair gradually upped the tempo. However, the stand was broken shortly afterwards when Davies, attempting to emulate Solanki’s straight six off Leask, succeeded only in lofting the Stoneywood-Dyce bowler to Dewald Nel at long off.
The welcome breakthrough served to apply the brakes on the run-rate and during the next 12 overs Surrey failed to hit a boundary as the Saltires applied the squeeze. Goudie then returned to the attack to bowl the out-of-touch de Bruyn before having Ireland’s Gary Wilson caught by Mommsen for 23.
However, Solanki was still there and his relentless march reached an inevitable conclusion when he clipped Nel over deep mid-wicket to reach his century.The next delivery also cleared the ropes as Solanki finished unbeaten on 109 from 113 balls with nine fours and four maximums.
Goudie took the bowling honours with 3-39 while Haq removed Tom Jewell late on to take 1-33.
“We’re disappointed not to get over the line, but I think we have shown that we can compete with these guys,” said Mommsen afterwards.
“The frustrating thing is that we have probably left about 15 runs out there in both halves of the match. I think we conceded a few too many with a bit of sloppy bowling and fielding here and there, although we pegged them back well.
“You could also argue that we could have launched the run-chase an over or two earlier or picked-up a few more singles.”