Former Scotland all-rounder Stuart Chalmers is aiming to use Watsonians’ home Scottish Cup clash with Weirs tomorrow partly to boost hopes of a return to the national stage after being given a new lease of cricketing life.
Chalmers, 30, who led Watsonians to the Scottish title last year, has hit form with a vengeance after coming back from injury and he has one eye on the new inter-provincial encounters with Dutch opposition starting later this month.
“I’ve taken 13 wickets in the past three matches including my first ‘five-for’ in a while when we defeated Freuchie last week,” he said. “That’s left me wishing I had gone to the physio a bit earlier as the session to free up tight muscles in my left shoulder and back has worked wonders. The damage was put down to wear and tear but the effect of the treatment has left me feeling like a new man; I can even sleep without experiencing pins and needles!
“What brought things to a head was missing a match against Aberdeenshire because my shoulder was just too stiff to allow me to bowl or bat – the difference now is night and day.
Having been included in the Reivers squad earlier this season, Chalmers is hoping to get selected for the one day and T20 matches lined up against the Dutch team Seafarers at Ayr on July 16 and 17.
“The idea of getting in at the start of a series of fixtures that can help provide the bridge between club and international cricket and hopefully leads on to an official league as early as next season really excites me.”
Chalmers has been a regular for Scotland A and his career, so far, peaked with a couple of full one-day internationals against Canada in 2009 while a member of Grange.
Since moving across the city he has been off the full-cap radar but nobody in this season’s four rounds of Scottish Cup matches has bettered the five wickets-in-an-innings achieved last weekend at Freuchie.
“That win might have come a bit too late so far as cup qualification is concerned with Freuchie having to beat group leaders Drumpellier to help us out but we’ll battle on with plenty to play for when the Premiership re-starts,” added Chalmers.
Chalmers takes over the captaincy for tomorrow’s clash from namesake Ewan who is with the Scotland squad alongside Dewald Nel for matches against Kenya while Andy Learmonth and Ewan Robertson are unavailable. It is also a red-letter day for Scotland Under-15 wicketkeeper Tom Dryden who makes his Watsonians debut.
RH Corstorphine’s win over Carlton has given them an outside chance of progressing and while Richard McCorkell and Kevin Meier are missing for the trip to West coach Cam Leeder has every confidence in Sulaiman Malik and Arnie Sathiy.
Victories for all three RH Corstorphine teams last weekend set a benchmark and Leeder said of the top-team success: “Reuben Hattingh hit 100 off 87 balls and Abdul Majeed took four wickets but what also counted heavily were the four run-outs we achieved.” Two of these came from boundary throws by McCorkell.
Carlton, still joint top of the group alongside West, bid to get back on track at home to Prestwick when Brad McKay earns a step up.
Barclays Grange are already through and for the home clash with Greenock will be captained by Andrew Brock in the absence of Neil McCallum while Cameron Sloman is in an enlarged squad along with fellow Scotland under-17 prospect, Duncan Player.
SMRH, aiming to keep qualifying hopes alive against East Kilbride at Inverleith, include ex-international bowler Craig MacKellar on his return from Heriot’s as well as Rich Hannam. Missing will be Greg Bisset and Greg Ruthven.
Heriot’s are on a winning streak and will want to gain further momentum going into next Friday’s Masterton Trophy Final against Grange when they entertain Ferguslie.