Wallace handed gloves for Hampshire test

CRAIG Wallace will today dedicate his first senior Scotland cap to a long list of people who he reckons have shaped his cricket career.

The Forfarshire wicketkeeper makes his big-stage debut in the Saltires’ final Clydesdale Bank40 match against Hampshire Royals at The Rose Bowl. And his initial aim is to repay the faith shown in him by national coach Peter Steindl, who has also included Wallace in his plans for next month’s tour to Namibia.

The youngster declared: “I am excited to say the least and can’t wait to prove myself at the highest level. There are so many individuals I want to thank for playing a part in getting me this far so quickly.

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“For a start there is everyone connected with Forfarshire – especially skipper Ryan Watson and former pros Peter Drinnen and Cameron Miers. There are also the club officials who put in so much hard work behind the scenes – and of course my family, who have encouraged me to work so hard to fulfil my dream.”

Wallace has been handed the wicketkeeping berth after Gregor Maiden was unable to commit himself to the trip because of work pressure.

And Steindl reckons Wallace is more than ready for the step up. He declared: “Craig fully deserves his chance – and I believe he will be a very useful addition to the squad. Not only is he an excellent keeper, he is also a talented and attacking batsman.”

Richie Berrington last night joined Fraser Watts on the sidelines after also suffering finger damage, while Kyle Coetzer is on loan to Northants.

Steindl has recalled Ewan Chalmers, Ryan Flannigan and Oli Hairs. In addition, George Worker will do another stint as overseas pro because Luke Butterworth is injured.

Skipper Gordon Drummond said: “We will miss the quality of Watts and Coetzer, but it shows the depth of our home-grown talent to be able to bring in young guys of this calibre.

“It has been a pleasing campaign. We have been competitive in all but one match and are hoping to finish on a high.”

Watts should be fit for the Namibia jaunt, which includes I-Cup, ODI and T20 fixtures. The hosts will be eager to hit back strongly after being pipped by Somerset in Saturday’s T20 Friends’ Life semi-final.

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A victory for the Saltires today would see them move above Leicestershire in the final Clydesdale Bank40 table, as the Foxes have now completed their campaign with six points while Scotland are currently placed on five with one to play.

“It’s been a pleasing campaign; we have been competitive in all but one match and are hoping to finish on a high” added Drummond.

Scotland: G Drummond (capt), P Mommsen (both Carlton), R Flannigan, E Chalmers (both Watsonians), C Wallace (Forfarshire), G Goudie (Stoneywood-Dyce), O Hairs (York), C MacLeod (Uddingston), G Worker (SMRH), S Sharif (Dunfermline), J Davey (Middlesex) M Haq (Clydesdale).