Treble winners Grange give Neil McCallum the perfect send-off
Retiring Mazars Grange star Neil McCallum admits he 'could not have written the script better' after he was at the crease when the Edinburgh club completed a superb treble on their home ground at the weekend.
In the rearranged Citylets Scottish Cup final played at Portgower Place on Saturday, Grange were in control from early on against Heriot’s, bowling their opponents out for 106 and going on to triumph by eight wickets.
The result added to the CSL Eastern Premier Division and CSL Grand Final silverware that was already in the trophy cabinet in Stockbridge after a great summer for Grange in which they have dominated.
And as McCallum, the 40-year-old batsman who is now to step down from playing duties, stood looking out over a ground bathed in sunshine an hour or so after the close of play he had a big smile on his face.
The former Scotland player, who retired from international cricket back 2011, has been a near constant on the Scottish cricketing scene for more than 20 years, firstly with Watsonians and then, since 2005, with Grange. He bows out with three Scottish Cup victories and countless other successes in Grange colours. and he said: “This really is the perfect way to end things with this team, I could not have written the script better myself.
“At the start of the summer our aim was to win all three 50-over competitions that we were in and we have managed to do that. We have a lot of quality players in our squad, but to go out and be consistent in the league over 18 weeks takes a lot of focus and commitment and the guys never wavered.
“Last weekend in the Grand Final we were in a bit of bother early on, but the way that Andrew Brock and Tom Foulds batted and then the way John Blain and Stuart Davidson bowled to defeat Ferguslie showed everything you need to know about the team’s character.
“When the Cup final was moved back to our home patch [after two trips to Paisley were rained off] I did start to think that it was going to be nice playing the last game of a memorable season here.
“However, to make it the perfect ending we had to go out there and get a result against, what is, a good Heriot’s team.
“The bowlers up top for us were just quality and never let Heriot’s settle at all while Gordon Goudie took four wickets and he has been brilliant for us in recent months.
“The opening batsmen made a great start in our run chase and for me to be batting at the end with my old pal Goudie when the win was secured made it special.
“I have had a very enjoyable career and have made friends for life at Grange, so I will look back on everything fondly.”
Having won the toss and decided to have a bat, Heriot’s skipper Keith Morton might have been wondering about his decision when the Goldenacre men fell to 30-3. And when former Scotland man Goudie had Peter Ross trapped LBW and then Heriot’s key man Hayes van der Berg caught behind that soon became 50-5.
Ryan Brown battled for 20 runs but the Grange bowlers were relentless and teenage spinner Charlie Peet chipped in with three wickets.
Goudie and Ryan Flannigan came out firing in Grange’s reply and although the latter fell for 21 and Nick Farrar for 12 they were never in any bother.
And it was fitting that Goudie (65 not out) and McCallum (6no) were there at the end.