NEIL McCallum, an Edinburgh PE teacher, hit a well crafted century for Scotland in their ICC Intercontinental Cup match against United Arab Emirates at Sharjah, though the draw opened the door for Ireland, the inaugural 2005 champions, to qualify for the play-off final.
This four-day format world championship among lesser nations has been one of the ICC’s better ideas, exposing more players to session play and long matches. Irish and Scottish cricket will almost certainly benefit.
McCallum was backed the former Yorkshire and Durham all-rounder Gavin Hamilton, with 81. Scotland had to be content with first-innings points, coming nowhere near forcing an outright Group A win. The outstanding batsman in the game was Saqib Ali, who scored a total of 193 runs for UAE, including 131 in the first innings when John Blain, formerly of Yorkshire, picked up four wickets. Ireland, a very good side these days, will win Group A if they defeat UAE in Abu Dhabi on Feb 10-13, and they will move on to play Canada, already Group B champions, for the title. A draw for Ireland will give Scotland the chance. The ICC are planning to make the next competition an all-play-all event, starting later this year. Scotland travel to Mombasa this week for an one-day tri-series tournament involving Kenya and Canada, starting on Wednesday. Those three nations will then compete in Nairobi for the inaugural ICC World Cricket League Division One with Ireland, Bermuda and Holland. Dougie Brown, the Warwickshireshire and Scotland all-rounder, said: “It’s a very exciting time for us at the moment. This is the longest tour a Scotland side has ever been on, and it gives us a great chance to really get to know each other and learn more about each other’s game.”