Burgeoning talent Marcus Scotland offers optimism for St George’s
The dust of Cup Match would not have yet settled in St George’s, and the associated grief will likely not much subside until hope again springs next year, after the latest midsummer failure.
Yet not to be totally clouded by this year’s lack of success were glimmers of youth-sponsored hope that should fuel future expectation of improved results, the potential of Marcus Scotland and Azendé Furbert being two such reasons for optimism.
Scotland made history on Thursday, as the first substitute wicketkeeper in Cup Match, a rarity in all of cricket, with the use of a substitute for the position only having been allowed in modern cricket since October 2017 — a rule preventing a reserve from acting as wicketkeepers had been officially enshrined in the Laws of Cricket since 1980.
The youngster was thrilled at being able get on the pitch to play his preferred position, with the accompanying historic perspective a bonus.
“It was good to get out there and play,” said Scotland, a multitalented athlete who has had football trials with Fulham Football Club in England.
“I appreciated Sinny [Sinclair Smith] for helping me in the warm-up a lot and he had made sure that I had my gloves.
“So, when I was called on, I was ready and did the best I could.”
Beyond making history the 20-year-old appears to possess the talent to become Smith’s successor behind the stumps for years to come, with the only question being whether his is of a substance that rises on the big stage or that of the stylish bravado which wanes under pressure.
“My confidence is growing stronger with my wicketkeeping,” added Scotland, who is spending the summer in Bermuda as a consultant/intern at professional services firm EY Bermuda, among the international business sector.
“With each game I play I believe I’m improving and getting better, so I’m just taking it game by game.
“My ambitions are high and I want to be involved in a greater capacity than just being on the sidelines, which I’m grateful for and will do again if I’m called to be on the sidelines.
“However, I want to be a player and will work towards achieving that goal.”
The third-year student at Cardiff Metropolitan University plays locally for St David’s, but is largely based in Britain, where he turns out as more of a specialist wicketkeeper for Newport Cricket Club of South Wales, which runs four teams in the Swalec Premier Cricket League and Glamorgan and Monmouthshire League.
As a third-generation Cup Match participant, Scotland has the pedigree to be great.
His grandfather, the late Rupert Scotland, played in the inaugural first-class match for the Leeward Islands, against Jamaica in 1958, later featured in the inaugural first-class match for Bermuda, against New Zealand in 1972 and consistently dazzled fans with brilliant strokeplay and expert cover and slip fielder.
Similarly, Scotland’s father, Cleon Scotland, fascinated with his fielding exploits, which earned him a regular place as twelfth man and a single appearance in the starting XI.
The familial relationship the Scotlands have with Cup Match and St George’s Cricket Club is something not lost on the latest iteration.
“It’s an honour and privilege to be a representative part of my family and this community,” who gave a lot of credit to his parents for enabling and encouraging him to play sport.
“My father has been everything to me. I never drove myself to cricket training. I never dropped myself off to cricket training.
“I didn’t have enough money to buy gear; my parents did that.”
As a proud father, Cleon expressed pride at seeing the growth maturation of his offspring into a player warranting consideration for Cup Match.
“I’m always prepared to support my son in whatever he wants to do,” said Cleon, who last year received an honour that few have when he got to ring the bell to signal the resumption of play at the Lord’s, “the home of cricket”, during the LV= Insurance County Championship second division match between Middlesex and Derbyshire.
“Originally, he went to England because he had football trials at Fulham.
“So I always wanted, if he had the opportunity to go, to help him to realise his dreams.
“He got scouted when we went to England to play cricket and I’ve been able to support him ever since.
“We stayed every year and as long as he wants to play or do whatever in life, my wife and I will always give it 100 per cent support.
“He’s always been good with his hands and had good hand-eye co-ordination, so I presume it must have skipped a generation, because I know my father was a good fielder, but I only got some of that and he’s [Marcus] a really good fielder.”