By Neil Fissler
Craig Wright admits that helping Scotland shock Worcestershire in the NatWest Trophy not only put cricket north of the border on the map, but helped secure his international future.
The game came quite early in Wright’s international career and at a time when he needed to convince selectors he was the right man for the job.
Scotland had already qualified for the World Cup, being played primarily in England the following season, but one in which they, too, would be hosting matches.
Wright said: “It was quite an important game for me because I was quite young and new to the team, so it was an important spell in terms of giving me the confidence to play at that level.
“And when you play for your country at that level you have got a point to prove in every match that you play.
“But for me as a relatively young player, in terms of caps I think it was only my third or fourth cap, it was important for me to establish my place in the team which I hadn’t done until that stage.
“It was a win that was part of a process of putting Scottish cricket on the map, we were playing in the NatWest and Benson & Hedges but not an awful lot at international level at the time.
“We had already qualified for the 1999 World Cup but after then it was a little while before we established ourselves as the leading associate team.”
Scotland were put in by the English county at The Grange in Edinburgh and posted 244-6 thanks to Bruce Patterson’s 71 and Mike Allingham scoring 54 in their 60 overs.
Wright then ripped through the Worcestershire top order taking 5-23 as the visitors fell four runs short at 240-9.
Indeed it was only Stuart Lampitt (54) and Gavin Haynes (74) putting on 131 for the seventh wicket that saved them from complete humiliation.
Wright said: “Back in the day, 240-260 was still considered a semi reasonable score. Worcestershire had a lot of good batters so we knew that we had to bowl well to have a chance.
“There was a bit of a rain break and it juiced up the wicket a little bit and we had them six down in real trouble but Lampitt and Haynes took them a lot closer than we would have liked.
“But we managed to get over the line when it looked like we were just going to roll them over at one stage.
“It was a really good win for Scotland because wins over the counties in those days were quite rare.”
Scotland were brought down to earth with a bump in the second round, however, with a much changed side, through injury and players not being available because of work.
They were put in to bat by Derbyshire and scored 113 all out after recovering from 19-6 at one stage of their innings.
And, even though Asim Butt removed Australian Test star Michael Slater for a duck, they raced home reaching 114-3 with more than 20 overs to spare.
BACK ROW (left-right):
Dougie Lockhart: Wicketkeeper/ batsman spent 14 years in the investment industry and is an associate director of Glasgow investment and financial planning firm Tilney Bestinvest.
Craig Wright: Seamer who was Cricket Scotland’s development officer and marketing manager. Now serving the organisation as performance development manager.
Asim Butt: Pakistan-born seamer ran his own newsagent’s business in Edinburgh but is reported to have died in his native Lahore in November 2009, aged 42.
Stephen Crawley: Opening batsman was born in England. Now owns Higsons Brewery after previously being managing director of Caledonian Brewing Company.
Gregor Maiden: All-rounder who has batted, bowled and kept wicket for Scotland. Worked in banking and is a relationship director with Santander in Edinburgh.
Peter Steindl: Queensland-born seamer was development officer for the Scottish Cricket Union and then Scotland’s head coach.Is now coaching Western Suburbs, Brisbane.
FRONT ROW (l-r):
Keith Sheridan: Spinner. Glasgow- based civil engineer is also Community Coaching Initiative director.
Bruce Patterson: Opening batsman has spent over 20 years as an estate agent. Now runs his own agency, Corum, in his home town of Ayr.
George Salmond: Batsman and captain. Primary school teacher who became deputy head at George Watson’s College, Edinburgh. Referees in the Scottish Football League.
Ian Stanger: All-rounder who became an architect. Based in Australia where he coached clubs in Perth. Currently first grade manager at Blacktown District CC in Sydney.
Greig Williamson: Batsman. Based in Glasgow where he works as a solicitor with CMS Cameron Mckenna having previously worked in Edinburgh for Dundas & Wilson.
Mike Smith: Batsman, who once scored a century against the MCC at Lord’s. Lives in Edinburgh and has worked as a sales rep.
Bryn Lockie: Opening batsman. Is a schoolteacher and currently the head of games at Stewart’s Melville College.
Michael Allingham: Batsman who was also a Scotland B rugby union cap. Was a PE teacher and is now head of sport at Edinburgh Academy.
Drew Parsons: A batsman who has coached Irvine CC and now works as Scottish sales manager for Wilson Golf.
Alec Davies: Wicketkeeper. He played one match for Surrey and has worked as a sports development officer for West Lothian. Now a PE teacher for Fife Council.
This piece originally featured in The Cricket Paper, Friday January 29 2016