Sunday, July 21, 2024

Cricket Scotland: Doug Watson sings Scots praises as he bids farewell

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Photo Credit: Cricket Scotland

Doug Watson will start the long journey back to New Zealand today with the words to Flower of Scotland ringing in his ears, and many happy memories in his head.

The South African’s spell as Men’s Interim Head Coach came to a perfect conclusion on Friday evening, after victory over Ireland saw Scotland crowned winners of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Europe Qualifier

Doug, his fellow coaches and the players then sang the Scottish national anthem in the changing rooms for the sixth time in nine days, after attaining a perfect record during the qualifier. Given the fact that Scotland also won a number of matches in Zimbabwe in June and early July at the ICC Men’s World Cup Qualifier, he’s got used to exercising his vocal chords during his time in charge of the national side.

“I definitely think singing the national anthem after every victory has been a real highlight for me,” Watson, who was in interim charge between April 8 and now, explained.

“Just being with the guys in the changing room and feeling the energy from that was amazing and I know all the words now! That’s definitely been a highlight. 

“And just watching the guys bond and support each other. That’s been fantastic, too.

“I’ll tell you what – the time has flown by, but it’s been an incredible experience. 

“It’s been an absolute privilege to work for Scotland and serve these players over the last four months. 

“I’ve really loved my time here, I’ve really enjoyed it, it’s been absolutely fabulous. 

“Zimbabwe was full on, game, training, game. And then in Edinburgh it was just playing games all the time. I’m so grateful to the players and the organisation for having me.

“I’m straight back into the day job now. I fly out on Sunday and then I’m straight back, feet under the desk on Wednesday and back into it [in his role as head coach of male performance with the Auckland Aces in New Zealand].”

In Zimbabwe, Scotland came with a whisker of making it to the World Cup later in the year in India, but the group did not wallow in self-pity, Instead they bounced straight back and really put on a show for home supporters at Grange CC and at Goldenacre over the last two weeks.

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is set to take place in USA and West Indies next year and Watson added:  “We had a week off after Zimbabwe when the guys spent some time with their families and just took it easy with a bit of rest and relaxation. 

“But as soon as the group got back together I was amazed with the energy and enthusiasm they brought to the first training session. That for me was such a good sign. I thought, ‘Okay, these guys want to get over the line this time’.

“It’s been an incredible T20 tournament. I’m so proud of the team and what they’ve achieved. 

“At the start of the tournament we wanted to win it, but I’ve been impressed with the quality of cricket that the guys played with individuals standing up at different times. 

“Against Ireland we had our captain Richie Berrington standing up again with another brilliant innings alongside Brandon McMullen – and what about Brad Currie’s five-for at the back end to win it, that was excellent.

“I’ve loved the experience of a home tournament and it was great to get the support of the crowd and everyone else that turned up for all the matches. We had lots of people turning up to watch the boys play.”

Throughout the two tournaments Watson worked with different backroom teams and he wanted to thank them publicly for their work.

Glenn Pocknall and Graeme Beghin acted as assistant coaches in Zimbabwe with Gavin Cross joining the tour as physiotherapist while, in Edinburgh, the new look backroom team included assistant coaches Steven Gilmour, Moneeb Iqbal and Andy McKay and physio David Kershaw.

“I think it’s helped working with two different groups,” Watson continued. 

“You get different ideas and different voices. Coaching-wise, we had Pockers and Graeme Beghin in Zimbabwe which was brilliant and then in Scotland we had Andy, Moneeb and Gilly as well. 

“That was great for everyone’s development and they fitted really well into the group, the guys have enjoyed working with them and I’d like to say thanks.

“And, in general, I think this playing group is in a wonderful position going forward with some good young ones coming through. 

“Brandon McMullen is young and doing very well while there’s guys who didn’t play like Hamza Tahir, Jack Jarvis and Adrian Neill and other guys who are on the fringes who are coming through and will be pushing in the next couple of years. 

“So, it’s an exciting time for Scottish cricket and I’m glad I got to be a part of it.”

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