George Munsey returns tonight to the scene of one of his greatest cricketing triumphs when Mazars Grange seek to defend the Murgitroyd Masterton twenty:20 trophy against Carlton at Grange Loan.
A year ago, Munsey was central to what officials believed was the highest score ever recorded in the venerable event when he hit 62 off 29 balls, including 6x6s, in a total of 201-4 against Heriot’s.
Soon after, though, all- rounder Munsey – he has opened batting and bowling as well as keeping wicket on occasion this season – was laid low by an injury which has made a swift return to the crease and current performances all the more remarkable.
“Playing in a Pro series T20 game in late August I started to find it difficult to bend my back or even sit down,” recalled Munsey.
“I’d had a bit of back pain, but played on not realising that discs in my spin were starting to crack.
“When my body finally crashed, I found discs had squeezed out and herniated, catching the sciatic nerve.”
Instead of wintering abroad playing cricket, recent Scotland under-19 star Munsey – who describes himself as an “in-betweener” in a Grange side that is a mixture of youth and experience – spent time lying flat on the floor.
“Medics said my back couldn’t really be operated on and the best approach was an exercise programme to get me as fit and flexible as possible,” said Munsey.
Tonight’s final is a repeat of last year’s Scottish Cup final (50 overs-a-side) when Grange came out on top – and Munsey believes topping 200 in the T-20 for the second successive year would be match-winning for either side.
“Normally a total of 170 is par and I took more satisfaction from what the team did than my own innings,” said Munsey, adding: “Carlton are always difficult opponents and whereas last year Neil McCallum came in halfway through and helped lay the foundations for some late runs he is absent on holiday tonight leaving Andrew Brock to captain the side.”
The aim for Grange is to carry on where they left off in the league last Saturday when dismissing Stoneywood Dyce for a modest total, with Raj Routray claiming the first five wicket haul for the club this season before rain intervened.
“That was frustrating, but part and parcel of the game. It is still proving to be a season where we are in the hunt for three trophies,” he said.
“Certainly, the Scottish Cup win over SMRH is my highlight so far when we chased a score of 200.”
The message is that Carlton must beware old foes capable of setting high targets for getting over the line and with Stu Davidson included to lend experience. Carlton, perennial winners of the competition but beaten at the semi-final stage last year by Heriot’s, will be without Scotland cap Preston Mommsen but still list a strong side featuring internationalists in Gordon Drummond, Fraser Watts, Hamish Gardiner and Ally Evans, while Fraser Boyd is back from Italy to keep wicket.
In tomorrow’s Eastern Premiership, Carlton entertain champions Arbroath, while Grange head for Watsonians. Another derby sees SMRH await Heriot’s.
For SMRH, Darcy Smith, a young Australian gap year student debuts with Kyle McCallum and Chris Bissett unavailable in a week which will see fast bowler Rene Collins turn out for the 2nd X1 having moved from Musselburgh. Permission to make Collins available for the Eastern Premiership has been requested with Musselburgh’s backing.