Marcus Scotland regains appetite for cricket with run feast
Bermudian Marcus Scotland scored a century and a fifty for London Schools Cricket Association in their drawn two-day match against the Leicestershire academy team at Uppingham School ground in .
Scotland, who opened the innings, scored 63 in the London Schools first-innings total of 214. He faced 92 balls and hit eight fours in 115 minutes at the crease before he was trapped leg-before, the first wicket to fall in the 29th over after putting on 89 with N Noori, who scored 49.
Leicestershire replied with 228 for seven declared before London Schools matched that total in their second innings, scoring 228 for four off 45 overs as Scotland was again in outstanding form, this time stroking 133 from 122 balls in three hours and nine minutes at the crease.
Scotland was fourth out on 212 in the 44th over after hitting 13 fours and five sixes, before London Schools declared ten balls later to set Leicester a target of 215 to win in 24 overs.
London Schools fell just short of victory as Leicester reached 163 for eight at stumps.
Scotland, who hasn’t played much in the past couple of years as he contemplates his future in the game, was pleased with his batting in both innings of the friendly match.
“LSCA normally set up games against counties, to prepare them for their bigger games and also to give us an opportunity,” said Scotland, who is the grandson of legendary Rupert Scotland and son of Cleon, also a former player.
“I feel good, more confident about playing the game now. It’s only a couple of games back after a long time out, so it feels good.
“They were going for the win but once they saw the wickets falling, they decided to stick out for the draw. Since I’m just getting back into cricket, I’m just trying to see how far I can go out here and how the opportunities present themselves.”
Scotland will be involved in two Twenty20 matches against Warwickshire today.
Father Cleon was impressed with how Marcus batted in the two innings and hopes the teenager, who scored 112 retired in a Junior Eastern Counties match for St David’s against Flatts in 2017, can regain his appetite for the game this summer.
“I want to acknowledge the Ace Programme in Surrey, Ebony Rainford-Brent, a former England female cricketer, and Chevy Green, who is the director of programmes,” Scotland Sr said.
“They were instrumental in getting Marcus back into cricket by offering him a place on the Ace programme this summer. I also want to acknowledge London Schools’ Peter Yeates and coach Phil DeFreitas, who allowed Marcus to have a trial when the original trial dates had passed due to Covid.
“DeFreitas saw Marcus bat for a half-hour and then sent Marcus home, saying he had seen enough. Because of that, I think that gave Marcus confidence to believe he could potentially have a successful summer.
“He represents Ace and he represents London Schools, and they should be credited with Marcus at least exploring coming back to cricket. He’s not certain if he wants to stay in the game but this gives him the summer to see what couple possibly happen, particularly in the Ace programme with the various counties.”
The Ace Programme Charity was launched by Surrey County Cricket Club in January 2020 in response to the decline of Black British professional players by 75 per cent, and less than 1 per cent of the recreational game.
The programme was designed to engage young people of African and Caribbean heritage, and a talent search was launched.
Scotland Sr added: “These innings that he produced may lead to something. In the first match against Leicestershire at home, he made 41 and in the second game against Northamptonshire he was run out for a few runs.”
Scotland added: “He hasn’t played more cricket because on the days that he is supposed to play, the weather has not co-operated. With these scores against a major county, word is going to get around definitely.”
Marcus has also been a member of the Bermuda youth team after showing early promise. He has represented the Surrey age groups since 2016 as an opening batsman, starting with the under-13s. In 2017, as an under-14, he made the highest individual score of 174 not out against Cambridgeshire and was one of Bermuda’s youngest players at the 2017 ICC Americas U19 World Cup Qualifier in Toronto.
“He was in the under-19 squad when he was 14 and then two years ago stopped playing cricket,” his father said.
“He was in the most recent under-19 squad but their tournament has been impacted by Covid. He lost the desire for cricket a couple of years ago, but my wife and I didn’t pressure him to continue and said ‘whatever you do, we’ll support you’.
“He went back into football and played with the AFC Wimbledon Sixth Form squad the last two years He decided he wanted to come back to cricket this year to see where he is, whether he has lost anything.
“Just because you do well doesn’t mean you stay with a particular sport. We really are taking it match by match and at the end of the season we’ll see what happens. He’s going to university in September and will have cricket and football options.
“The sky is the limit in terms of what he may, or may not, want to do. Football or cricket, we stand behind him. If he decides he doesn’t want to play cricket tomorrow, that’s fine with us.
“If he says he wants to be a professional cricketer, or wants to play Cup Match next year, we’ll support that as well. It’s really up to him.”
Father has no doubt that son has a talent for cricket, however, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, who hailed from Antigua.
“I’ve told him he has far more talent than I ever had and his talent rivals his grandfather’s, quite frankly,” Cleon said. “It’s scary!”
Rupert Scotland, who starred in Cup Match for St George’s and played for Bermuda, died in 2012 at the age of 74.