Saturday, 12 February 2011

Export of Scotland

It is worrying that Fantasy Bob's recent post on the birthplace of cricketers has stimulated his small amount of grey matter further.  Diehard readers may also recall FB's musings on star cricketers who became honorary Scots by plying their trade in Scotland.  The set demands to be completed.  What about Scots who found cricketing success elsewhere?  
Denis Law - Scotland's greatest export

At one time Scotland was a leading exporter of quality footballers, a tradional industry that has fallen the way of the shipyards, coal and steel and is no more.  Is there an equivalent tale to tell in cricket?

At Test level FB can identify Mike Denness, Ian Peebles and Gavin Hamilton as real home grown Scots who made it to the top - albeit with mixed fortunes.   Ian Peebles was born in Aberdeen (just like FB and Denis Law - a triumvirate of great Scottish sporting heroes).  He was Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1931.  He played 13 Tests, his leg spin getting him 45 wickets at 30.91.  Bradman said that he couldn't read him - that suggests he was a bit good.

Ian Peebles
Then there are Scots with a little less of the thistle in them - Bodyline skipper Douglas Jardine spent some of his childhood in St Andrews (while benefitting from the classical Scottish education of Winchester and Oxford) so he counts.  FB recalls Tony Greig being claimed as Scottish through his family background - an early Jockbok.  But if Grieg did not spend some of his formative years in Scotland then he doesn't count for FB's purpose - for there must be any number of players with Scottish parentage - particularly in New Zealand.  But Greig might be all right because FB has a faint memory of being told many years ago that Greig did some time at Edinburgh Academy.  Does anyone know if this is fact or fancy?

Below Test level, Stirling's Dougie Brown played ODI for England.  FB cannot bring to mind any other Scottish internationals.

Then what of those who made their way in the county game?  FB can recall in his lifetime Brian Hardie, Willie Morton, and Dallas Moir all taking the trip south.  Hardie was by some way the most successful playing nearly 20 seasons for Essex and forming for some of that time a formidable opening partnership with Graham Gooch.  The others had shorter stays.

Perhaps there are more players of Scottish origin in the county ranks now than at any time - John Blain, Qasim Sheik, Kyle Coetzer, Callum Macleod, Nav Poonia, Josh Davey have all been on county books.  Dewald Nel has been with Worcester and Kent but injuries have interrupted the impact he has been able to make.  Is this the beginning of an export trade?  One thing is certain - if Scotland is to achieve the ambition of some to gain full county status, then we need to produce more players at this level.  This export trade needs to grow. 

FB would be pleased to hear from his readers about any obvious names his failing memory has overlooked.


  1. I was reading only yesterday of an 1890 Ashes Test that was won narrowly by an England led by WG Grace while "Scottish wicket-keeper Gregor MacGregor" was in the middle.

    On looking him up, it turns out - of relevance to another of your recent blogs about dual internationals - that MacGregor also played international rugby for Scotland: (

    Re county cricketers from Scotland, Carlton's own Jimmy Govan played for Northants in 1989 and 1990 while Alastair Storie played for Northants and Warwickshire in the 80s before having a spell at Grange Loan.

  2. Thanks Groupie - good to know your reading is getting up to date - FB namechecked McGregor in responding to Iain's comment on the post you mention. Stupid to forget him here. FB must have been licking the aluminium pans again. Your Carlton memory is far longer than FB's.

  3. Dear dear FB - Dougie Brown played for Clackmannanshire not Stirling County.

  4. Opening Bat - thanks - but Brown was born in Stirling.