Cricket: Grange centurion George driven by ambition to succeed as a pro

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The only Edinburgh-based batsman to have recorded a century in Scottish Cup or Eastern Premiership cricket matches this season vowed today to use his latest representative honour as a springboard to a full-time contract.

For Barclays Grange 
20-year-old, George Munsey, who hit 126 against Dundee High in the cup, that journey starts in tomorrow’s Premiership derby at Watsonians as he builds on an appearance for Highlanders against Reivers in the LiveSport.co.uk Pro Series at Ayr on Wednesday.

Explained Munsey, who 
actually arrived in the Capital from England on a golf 
scholarship to Loretto School and saw his handicap improve from seven to scratch, the lure of team sports has more 
appeal: “Golf is a social game for me now. My aim is to be a pro cricketer.”

Munsey spent four and a half months in New Zealand in pursuit of that dream over the winter in an exercise he credits with his impressive early 
season form.

“One of my former coaches had connections at the Takupuna club, near Auckland, and I got in touch to ask if there might be an opportunity to go out.

“It was an invaluable experience during which I learned most about how to get into position to dispatch short-pitched deliveries,” he added.

“Also, the intensity of competition for places in New Zealand club cricket helped me find an edge although climate-wise conditions weren’t that 
much different to here. We played league matches over two days and – similar to Edinburgh – there was a midweek Twenty20 competition, albeit played on artificial wickets which my club won. Since 
returning to Grange my cricket has been helped just by the 
arrival of Gordon Goudie 
(Saltires and ex-Middlesex).”

A back niggle has prevented Goudie, who once took five wickets against Australia for Scotland, turning out for the club he joined over the winter from Stoneywood-Dyce. But Munsey insists: “There is so much that can be picked up in terms of good cricketing habits from players like Gordon just by being around the same dressing-room. Also, when I got my hundred I found myself batting in partnership with a couple of internationalists in Ryan Flannigan and Neil 
McCallum as well as in a stint with Josh Edwards. Being at the crease opposite them was a good way to learn more.”

In fact, Munsey and 
Flannigan put on a magnificent 160 for the opening wicket against Dundee. Munsey 
added: “It wasn’t as if I went to the crease that day and started seeing the ball big. The first 50 took a while but once I settled I was pleased with the way things turned out.

“There is a good feeling around the Grange and getting runs early on has been an incentive to get to the gym and boost my fitness. I’m there most days when practice and work as an assistant groundsman at 
Loretto School permit.”

Both Watsonians and Grange are keen to get off the mark in the Premiership having lost their opening fixtures. Grange expect to have internationalist Simon Smith back after ankle damage sustained when inadvertently stepping on a ball.

Also in the Capital, Heriot’s, with David Ross and Andre van Niekerk back, entertain an SMRH side who have received a significant boost with Thomas Beattie and Matt Coyle available for the first time this season coming in to replace Rich Hannam and Vishal Shah as they spice up 
competition for places. It has been a frustrating season so far for SMRH who in a recent Murgitroyd Masterton tie had Barclays Grange 26-4 when rain forced abandonment after seven overs. The replay has been scheduled for Tuesday at Inverleith.

The only Edinburgh team to have won so far, Carlton, head for Aberdeenshire with Preston Mommsen and Gordon Drummond available from the 
Saltires.

Mommsen says: “Jamie Kerr is in good touch after an exciting 91 against West Lothian in a Masterton Trophy win and Chayank Gosain has been the pick of the premier league bowlers so far. He’s come on beautifully over the summer and is now a massive asset.”

In the East First Division, RH Corstorphine are at Glenrothes with a side which has Arnie Sathiy back to open the batting in partnership with Ozzie Malik while Penicuik await Dundee.