Oli Hairs: I have unfinished business in Scottish cricket scene
Back in 2010, a wet-behind-the-ears Oli Hairs smashed over 600 runs as Mazars Grange won the top flight title. Now after a hiatus down south, he is back at the club and looking forward to tomorrow’s derby clash with Carlton.
When left handed batsman Hairs, who went to Merchiston Castle School, burst onto the senior cricketing scene in the Capital around a decade ago, he took things by storm with his hard hitting.
Indeed, such was his destructive batting style that he earned five One Day International caps for Scotland in the summer of 2010 having just turned 19
University took Hairs southwards to York and, sadly for those who believed he was a great talent, his international involvement ended rather abruptly.
Three years were spent there before he headed to play cricket in Australia, only for a very bad knee injury to end his time in the southern hemisphere.
After he recovered from the setback, he played club cricket for a year alongside players such as Freddie Coleman and Nav Poonia, who were also Scotland caps.
From there he moved down to Surrey and since then he has been playing in that area and coaching cricket as well.
Hairs, now 28, is still based in Surrey for the time being, but he has been travelling up during the early part of the season to play for the Eastern Knights in the Regional Series.
He has returned to Scottish cricket with a bang in that competition, hitting centuries for the Knights in wins over the Caledonian Highlanders (116) and the Western Warriors (111 not out).
A “second” debut for Grange came six days ago with 47 runs in the win at Aberdeenshire and now he is set to be available to the reigning champions for the rest of the CSL Eastern Premier Division campaign.
“I always felt like there was a bit of unfinished business for me on the cricketing front when it came to Scotland,” he said.
“As a result I was always keen to come back and play north of the border when circumstances allowed and I have loved the last few weeks.
“It has involved a lot of travelling back and forth and living out of a bag, but the Knights set-up has been brilliant and we have had some good wins while being back playing for Grange feels like coming home for me.
“They were the club that I grew up with and who gave me my first XI chance at a young age which allowed me to progress to Scotland caps which was amazing for me.
“I think cricket in this country is a really healthy place at the minute and while I’d obviously love to represent Scotland again one day, for now I have to fully concentrate on scoring runs for Grange and the Knights first.”
With Hairs back at the top of their batting order, the Grange squad looks strong, but Carlton will be heading to Portgower Place keen to build on last week’s triumph over Stewart’s Melville.
Carlton may be boosted by the availability of new professional Corne Dry, who was due to arrive in the country this week.
Elsewhere in the top flight, there is another Capital derby at Myreside where winless Watsonians take on RH Corstorphine.
The hosts should have a few players back for this one while RHC lost out to Heriot’s six days ago.
At Goldenacre, second plays first in the fledgling table when Heriot’s host ion8 Forfarshire.
And at Inverleith, Stewart’s Melville will welcome Stoneywood-Dyce.
In the ESCA Championship there could be a cracker at Grange Loan with the top two – Carlton II and Edinburgh Accies – meeting.