Saltires hit new low with 91 at Chester-le-Street

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THE Saltires’ miserable YB40 campaign hit a new low yesterday when Preston Mommsen’s men were dismissed for just 91 against Durham at Chester-le-Street.

A wretched batting display, in which overseas import Tom Latham scored almost a third of the total, saw the Scots comprehensively beaten for the sixth consecutive match.

Their run tally was their lowest against Durham and the worst against county opposition since the 73 they made against Lancashire in Edinburgh five years ago.

Electing to bat first, the Scots’ innings featured five ducks and lasted just 23.3 overs before Durham came out with all guns blazing to record an easy seven-wicket win. Their have-a-go approach allowed Scotland’s bowlers some success and Gordon Goudie struck first to have Phil Mustard caught by Freddie Coleman.

Calum MacLeod claimed a wicket in his first over, trapping Mark Stoneman. But the county openers had struck seven boundaries to put their team comfortably on course at 49-2 in the seventh over.

Richie Berrington had Scott Borthwick caught by Goudie but the result was a formality and Ben Stokes hastened the end by striking three boundaries in four balls off debutant Ruaidhri Smith.

Scotland’s batting had earlier plumbed the depths as four of the top six returned to the pavilion without scoring.

Coleman was first to go, nicking a delivery from Graeme Onions to be caught by Mustard in the third over. Latham and Berrington began to rebuild but scored just 32 runs during the power-play overs before Berrington hooked a delivery from Mark Wood to Ryan Pringle running in from the boundary.

Much worse was to follow when three wickets fell with the total on 39. MacLeod, hoping to build on his solid performances against Australia A, fell to the potent Mustard and Onions combination for a first ball duck.

The Saltires needed a captain’s knock from Mommsen but instead he too departed first ball with an ill-advised hook off 
Onions to Chris Rushworth on the mid-wicket boundary.

Moneeb Iqbal at least survived for a few deliveries but had also failed to score when he was comprehensively bowled by Wood. It was already an exercise in face-saving but these hopes rested on Latham nursing an inexperienced tail through the remaining overs. Instead, the New Zealander suffered a rush of blood when he charged down the wicket and skied a Wood 
delivery straight to Rushworth.

He had at least top-scored with 30, including three boundaries, but his departure left the Saltires with little hope.

Aberdonian youngster Matthew Cross became the third Scot to reach double figures before becoming one of Paul Collingwood’s three victims with which the innings was brought to a premature end.

Michael Leask had already fallen to Stokes for 4 when Cross was bowled for 12 before Smith’s first innings was brought to a quick end by Collingwood – the Saltires’ fifth duck. When Collingwood had Gordon Drummond caught to finish with figures of 3-5, it left the Scots all out for 91.

Skipper Mommsen said: “We have felt we have been in a few games this season and competing. We’ve batted pretty well throughout the tournament so to come here on a decent deck and be bowled out for 90 is pretty shocking to be honest.

“It really is a terrible day at the office. After winning the toss and electing to bat we expected a lot more. Our shot selection was poor against a quality bowling attack and there was a lack of application so it’s very disappointing.”

The Saltires face two more YB40 games on the road this week, against Lancashire at Old Trafford tomorrow and Derbyshire on Thursday, and Mommsen has demanded an improvement. He said: “We are professional cricketers and are expected to bounce back.””