Matt Butler: As English as warm beer, as Scots as Douglas Jardine

View From The Sofa: Sport Nation, BBC2

As oxymorons go, Scottish cricket sounds on a par with Dutch mountaineering, English gridiron or extreme golf. Heck, earlier this month the national side lost a 40-over match to Essex, of all counties – they of the 20 all out on Friday. In the next match they even lost to Australia's second string.

But believe it or not, Scotland has quite a history when it comes to cricket. Even though it is down to "English imperialism", according to historian David Potter, that the game took a foothold at all.

Potter was first up on Sport Nation's light-hearted investigation into cricket in Scotland and as well as being just on the right side of fluffy, it was informative.

John Blain, the former Scotland captain, recalled his country's first foray into an international tournament, in the 1999 World Cup. In their first game his side were up against an Australia team including Steve Waugh, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath in their pomp – and Blain described it as "magical".

He added: "We batted first, which was a gutsy thing to do up against an attack like that. I think we got 180 or 170, maybe a bit less." They actually made 181, lasting the full 50 overs for seven wickets – and Blain himself (right) was left standing unbeaten on three.

In between the pieces with former players and historians, the programme featured some interesting facts, such as that England played Scotland at cricket 33 years before they met on the football pitch, plus that the Bodyline captain, Doug Jardine, was actually Scottish.

That was the cue for David Currie to announce "enough with the history lesson" and hunt down some current players. And here is where it wobbled. He visited Stoneywood Dyce Cricket Club in Aberdeenshire ("an area with more cricketers per head of population than anywhere except Yorkshire and Barbados," according to club member Alan Barron) and spoke to Jan Stander, a player and former Scotland international.

Stander said: "It is definitely a strong area for cricket," before listing the 36 teams and the fact every village has a side. Which would have been fine had his accent not been more Durban than Dundee.

That aside, the club looked homely – and a veritable conveyor belt of internationals from a club whose outfield resembles a moor is a credit to their dedication.

In complete contrast was Currie's visit to Clydesdale Cricket Club, in the heart of Glasgow. There he remarked to Scotland international Majid Haq about the cosmopolitan nature of the participants. Haq concurred, adding in a thick Glaswegian brogue: "We are in the heart of the Asian community in Glasgow, it's a great culture here. There are a few white Scots boys too."

From Clydesdale there was a neat segue back to Blain, now speaking in his current role of coach. And he was passionate about getting more Scots into the sport – his philosophy centred on "10,000 hours – you have to put the work in".

By the end we had learnt that, thanks to the English, the game exists in Scotland and, thanks to the Scots, it is healthy.

The programme culminated in a one-day match against Pakistan and Haq was so livid at the 96-run loss that in his interview he was reduced to clichés about "small margins" and "pressure situations".

But his fury showed that he and the rest of the Scotland side do care about the sport – even though it is one that, in Currie's words, is "as English as warm beer, afternoon tea and Morris dancing".

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

music
Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
News
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
Yaphett Kotto with Julius W Harris and Jane Seymour in 1973 Bond movie Live and Let Die

film
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment

film
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

    The secret CIA Starbucks

    The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
    Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

    How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

    The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
    One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

    One million Britons using food banks

    Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

    The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
    Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
    Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

    Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

    They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
    Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
    The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

    The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

    Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
    How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

    How to run a restaurant

    As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
    Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

    Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

    For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
    Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

    Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

    The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
    10 best tote bags

    Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

    We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
    Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

    Paul Scholes column

    I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...