|Ground:||North Inch, Perth|
|Scorecard:||Scotland v Wales|
|Event:||Wales in Scotland 1923|
DateLine: 4th February 2013
A start was made on the North Inch, Perth, with the three days' match between Scotland and Wales, the first international at cricket that has ever been played between the two countries. The Welshmen had a strong side, which included six professionals, and with the exception of Spencer, Carmarthen, every one of the eleven is a Glamorgan County player, accustomed to three-days' cricket.
The visitors had much the better of the day's play, which attracted about 3000 spectators, for they batted for four and a half hours, and in that time scored 357 runs, and in the closing minutes got two Scottish wickets for 6.
The Scotsmen did not distinguish themselves. The bowling of the men who bore the brunt of the day's work did not seem to give the batsmen very serious trouble, though T.D. Watt, in his first turn with the ball bowled so steadily and kept such a good length that only 11 runs were hit from his first eight overs, and in the end, though he did not secure a wicket, only 33 runs were taken from his twelve overs, less than 3 runs per over. He had the noteworthy experience of opening his bowling with two wides.
The Scottish fielding was not nearly so clean and smart as it had been against Surrey, and though few catches were dropped that actually came to hand, there were many occasions when it seemed that with a little more agility fielders might have got to the ball. Many a fluky stroke sent the ball through the slips, and some of these were possible chances, and on several occasions the man at short-leg was within an arm's length of getting a catch. There were other indifferent strokes that were either particularly well placed or lucky.
The batting was of a mixed character, and some of it was good. Fortunate were the Scots to get rid of N.V.H. Riches, Glamorgan's best batsman, so cheaply, but W.N. Gemmill, who is, Scottish through his parents, gave an exhilarating display after a quiet start and having been hit with a ball which caused him to retire.
He was just about two hours at the wicket for his 75, and 56 of these were obtained in as many minutes when he returned to the crease. He was particularly strong on the on side, and included in his hits were eleven 4's. He and Bates put on 77 runs for the second wicket. The professional took few risks, and his 49 took him seventy minutes to make.
The third wicket partnership was also profitable one, adding 86, and up to its fall matters were going badly for Scotland, and the batsman appeared to have complete mastery. Then there was a turn in the tide. The third wicket went at 180, the fourth at 182, the fifth at 189, and the sixth and seventh at 190.
There were hopes then that the Welsh team would be out for a comparatively small total. The Scottish successes really dated from the putting on of D.A. Mackay to bowl. He took the ball at 160 for the first time, and it was only when the captain was apparently at his wits' end as regards his attack that the Clydesdale man was called on. He quickly met with success, and when he got two wickets in his seventh over with successive balls his figures read three for 16.
Then the game veered round again in favour of the Welshmen, and the success of the last three partnerships was so emphatic that they put on 167 runs, and practically put their side in a position that was safe from defeat.
And both Spencer and J.C. Clay had "bols" before they had scored a run. The former should have been run out and the latter caught in the slips. The last pair put on 90 runs, and were not separated until J. Kerr had gone on to bowl himself to split up the partnership in his second over through G.W.A. Alexander taking a catch in the outfield.
Ryan was missed very early in his innings. He had five 4's and four 3's. So lively were the last pair that they got their 57 runs in half an hour.
The tired Scots had about thirteen minutes batting, and in a light that was none too good lost W.N. Walker and T.M. Lawson. The latter placed a ball nicely for the fielder at short leg. It was an unfortunate ending to a not very cheerful day. Mercer had both the wickets for three runs.
First honours in cricket internationals between Scotland and Wales went to the Welshmen, who were easy winners yesterday in the match on the North Inch of Perth. They triumphed by an innings and 111 runs, and all through the day the Scotsmen were fighting what was really a hopeless fight.
The state of the game on Saturday evening, when Wales had scored 357 runs, and got two of their opponents out for 6, suggested that it would be so, and it was hard luck of the Scots that they should have had much the worse of the wicket.
It was never easy, but the rain which fell on Sunday made it really difficult for the Scots, though probably as the day advanced matters improved from the batsmen's point of view. But rank bad batting, and a lack of confidence, had a lot to do with the Scotsmen's collapse in the first innings, that combined with a wonderful bowling performance on the part of Mercer, who, after getting two men out for three runs on Saturday evening, continued to play havoc among the Scottish wickets.
The home men never recovered from the bad start they made. Mercer is an old Sussex County man, who is now nearly qualified for Glamorganshire, and he bowls with an easy action, and at a fair pace, somewhat about medium.
He was able to take full advantage of the help the wicket was giving him in the early part of the day, and just failed by one to capture all the wickets in the Scottish first innings. It was undoubtedly a grand bit of bowling, but, even giving it every credit possible, it was largely contributed to by feeble batting, and three of the best batsmen in the Scottish side were out to catches behind the wicket in playing balls which might well have been left alone. Against his trundling most of the Scots shaped poorly. At one time Mercer had four wickets for 7 runs.
Scotland's first innings lasted an hour and a half, and though Kerr only got 11 runs, he was at the wicket for three quarters of an hour, and did his best to take the sting out of the Welsh attack, which, encouraged by success, was always dangerous.
J.A. Fergusson started briskly, and seemed the most comfortable of all the Scottish batsmen, but he, like Kerr, snicked one through the slips and was smartly taken. There was not an opening through the gully such as there had been on Saturday when the Scots were fielding, and in accepting catches from Kerr and Fergusson Spencer did good work. And he had other two fine catches later in the day. Scotland could only muster 61 runs, and, being 296 behind, had, of course, to follow on.
A better show was made in the second innings, when the opening batsmen, Kerr and G.W.A. Alexander, gave their side a splendid lead, and stayed together for eighty minutes while getting 71 runs.
But neither batsman was ever comfortable, and Kerr had a "life" from the wicket-keeper, Sullivan, standing back, when he had made but 9. The wicket was "kicking" to the fast bowler, J.C. Clay, and Mercer and Ryan, an old Hampshire player, who bowls left-hand slows, had always to be carefully watched.
Both men batted doggedly, as befitted the desperate position their side were in, and twice just before he was disposed of Alexander might have been run out when short ones were being stolen. There was no occasion to run such risks.
Had Sullivan taken a return the batsman would surely have been out, and had the fieldsman struck the wicket on another occasion Alexander's innings would have come to a close. These escapes, however, did not profit him at all, for he was out without any addition to his score, having made 23 of the 71 runs the wicket had put on.
The breaking up of the first wicket partnership was really the beginning of the end, for D.A. Mackay did not stay long before being brilliantly caught and bowled by Spencer, who fell heavily on his head in taking the ball, which, however, he held on to.
On R.E. Batson joining Kerr the nicest cricket of the day was seen, and it came from the Carlton man. From the way he began there were hopes that he would make a long stay, and give the score a useful lift up. His cutting was delightfully fine, clean, and brisk, and all his runs were got from such strokes, four 4's, a 3, and two singles, but having made 21 out of 24 the third wicket put on he was too late for a fast one from Clay, and was out to a simple catch in the slips.
Another Scottish hope, Fergusson, failed, and with the total at 124, Kerr was the fifth man out. His innings which lasted for two and three quarter hours, was a patient and stubborn one, but it was far from being one of his best in representative games. It was of the "cribbed, cabined, and confined" order, and just before he reached his 50, he had a bad time, being beaten and all but bowled on one occasion, and he twice put up balls awkwardly just clear of the fielders.
All the same, it was a grim fight he made, and there was no small merit in his display. Included in his hits were seven 4's. He was again caught from a snick into the slips in much the same fashion as in the early part of the day.
T.M. Lawson played quite a good innings, and was unlucky in that he played on to a ball which did not deserve to take a wicket. C.S. Scobie got a few, but was never very confident, and J.C. Christie had a lucky stroke or two, and managed to carry his bat.
There was never, however, any real fight in the game. It was a hope of the most forlorn character from the time the first wicket fell in the second innings, and it was merely a question of how long the Scotsmen would be able to hold out, and whether there would be any need to play on the third day. There was no need for that, for the last wicket fell shortly before six o'clock.
Except for a slight shower just after the lunch interval, the weather yesterday was bright and fine, but the attendance was disappointing, only about 1500 people being present.
(Article: Copyright © 2013 Cricket Scotland http://cricketscotland.com)