Cricket: Philip happy as damp threatens run-makers

Scotland 161-3 v Lancashire Match abandoned
Click to follow
The Independent Online
IT WAS enough to make you homesick. The lunchtime weather map showed that the only place in Britain that could count on a dry day was Aberdeen. But Scotland at least took advantage of the gaps between the downpours at Old Trafford to get two of their batsmen into decent form.

Exploiting the sunny intervals and some friendly bowling, Iain Philip and Mike Allingham both marked the Scots' second warm-up match with half centuries that will probably ensure their places in the opening World Cup fixture against Australia at Worcester on Sunday.

Philip, the grand old man of Scottish cricket, will be, at 40, the senior citizen of the whole tournament. He began with a dour watchfulness, but after losing his opening partner, Bruce Patterson, cheaply to Richard Green, scored freely with some fine shots.

"It was good to spend time out in the middle," Philip said."It was pretty damp in the middle and fairly slow, and in those conditions it is difficult to start thrashing the ball about. I can't see it changing that much over the next few weeks, but that will suit us because we do not have that type of player.

"I am sure Bruce will come good, but it is good for Scotland that we are all making a few runs. It keeps everyone on their toes."

Philip showed a particular liking for some wayward stuff from Green, hitting him for five handsome boundaries, all through the off side, as he began to do Stenhousemuir proud.

By that time, Allingham, a schoolmaster at Tony Blair's Alma Mater, Fettes College, was also getting into his stride with a driven six off the bowling of Mike Watkinson. When Philip went for 55, missing a delivery from Gary Keedy that turned and kept low, Allingham took on the responsibility, smiting his second six, this time off Keedy before the first interruption.

Morale-boosting though his 57 must have been, it has to be viewed in the light of a Lancashire line-up which omitted most of the county's big guns. It was captained by a player even older than Philip, the second team player-coach, Peter Sleep, and at the other end of the scale featured a first appearance by the England Under-19 tourist Jonathan Fearick, who has yet to win a contract with the county.

With the possible exception of an economic early spell from Mike Smethurst, the best bowling came from Keedy, whose slow left arm finally tempted Allingham into skying one down the throat of Graham Lloyd.

When it poured again, to reduce the 44 possible overs to a final total of 38, the Scottish captain, George Salmond, another in need of runs, had amassed 29.

The question of whether the total of 161 would have been enough, even with Scotland's leading player Gavin Hamilton rested, was destined to remain academic. After another torrential storm, there was to be no bowling practice to follow their encouraging batting show.