The year of 1977 was undoubtedly the most active for the Scottish Cricket Union since its formation in 1908. A record number of matches, eighteen in all, of a representative nature were arranged and played at International, B XI, Combined Districts, Under-21 and Under-16 levels.
Despite somewhat unreliable weather Scotland's full international side produced the unprecedented record of three wins and two draws. In the process G. F. Goddard, captain for the past four seasons apart from the match against Ireland when D. E. R. Stewart, the former Worcestershire batsman, took over, and E. R. Thompson joined J. M. Allan and Douglas Barr as the only bowlers to capture 100 wickets for Scotland. Three new caps were introduced during the summer -- J. E. Ker (Kelso), G. McKiddie (Strathmore) and T. I. McPherson (Perthshire).
Early in May Scotland visited Rhos-on-Sea where, with play restricted owing to a rain-affected wicket on the first day, Wales managed to hold out for a draw. The Scots, after struggling to 130, shot out Wales for 48, Thompson taking six wickets for 19 runs. In the second innings Scotland declared at 133 for seven, but a dogged 54 by G. P. Ellis, the former Glamorgan player, and two dropped catches enabled Wales to hold out to 96 for four. The Scottish party went straight on to Edgbaston where only 18 minutes play was possible in the morning session of the first day's play. After lunch Abberley and Whitehouse hammered the Scottish attack with an opening stand of 278. Thompson then bowled the county's openers in successive overs, which gave the Scottish fast medium bowler his 100 wickets. Warwickshire declared at the close with 360 for four, but torrential rain prevented any further play in the remaining two days.
The M.C.C. came to Titwood, Glasgow, in June, where Scotland declared at 318 for four, of which T. B. Racionzer's contribution was a majestic 125, his third century for Scotland. Despite a well compiled 78 by Gower of Leicestershire, the M.C.C. were dismissed for 151, Ker (Kelso) on his initial appearance taking a wicket with his first ball. Again Racionzer was to the fore in Scotland's second innings, scoring 82 out of the total of 187 for eight declared. Clift (Leicestershire), Gower and Owen-Thomas (Surrey) were the only batsmen to offer any resistance to the varied Scottish attack and M.C.C. were all out for 241. Scotland's win by 113 runs, their third success over the M.C.C., was marked by Goddard achieving his total of 100 wickets.
A fortnight later Scotland flew to Dublin for the annual battle with Ireland. An injury to Goddard caused the captaincy to be transferred to Stewart and for only the second time in 208 internationals, Edinburgh, P. A. Rhind also having withdrawn, were without representation. The previous occasion was against Australia in 1934. Castle Avenue, Clontarf was the venue for a remarkable match.
On a damp wicket Scotland were soon in trouble, but Stewart rose to the occasion with a typical captain's innings. Coming in at 33 for three in mid-morning, Stewart was dismissed shortly after tea with Scotland 145 for nine. A flurry of runs by the last wicket pair enabled Scotland to reach 173. Although Ireland lost four wickets for 48 runs at the close of the first day, a fine not out century by Harrison, the following day, gave them a lead of 58 runs. Ireland made further headway on the second day with accurate bowling and Scotland lost five wickets in achieving a very slender lead of 20. R. S. Weir and McPherson then put an air of respectability on Scotland's second innings, leaving Ireland, with over two hours remaining, a target of 114 to win. The Irish innings was a complete disaster. Indecisive batting saw Ireland all out for the derisory total of 39 to provide Scotland with their first success over their auld enemy since 1969.
Spurred on by the Irish success Denmark were outclassed at Broughty Ferry later in July, Scotland winning by 158 runs. Scotland's totals of 248 and 147 for three declared proved too much for the Danes who could only muster in reply 116 and 121.
For the record Scotland scored 1,511 runs for 64 wickets, while the opposition scored 1,403 runs for 78 wickets. Scotland's top scorers were T. B. Racionzer (302 runs), J. R. Laing (209 runs) and D. E. R. Stewart (156 runs), while the main wicket-takers were E. R. Thompson (15 wickets), J. Clark (14 wickets). F. Robertson (12 wickets)and G. F. Goddard (10 wickets).
A Scottish XI narrowly lost to the 1976 Minor County Champions, Durham, in an exciting game at Selkirk at the beginning of June. The main feature of the match was D. B. S. Brown's fine 143, an effort which resulted in him regaining his international place. The following week at Oldham the B XI lost to a very strong Central Lancashire League side in a match reduced by rain from two days to 40 overs-a-side.
Before the Denmark international, combined West/South and East/North District teams played Denmark in 60 overs-a-side matches at Titwood, Glasgow, and Ferryfield, Edinburgh. The Districts won both.
The Under-21 Colts defeated the Scottish Wayfarers and Centurions, lost to the Scottish Counties and Yorkshire Colts and drew with the English Schools C.A., while the Under-16 Colts lost to the Welsh Schools and Yorkshire Colts but fought an excellent draw against the English Schools C.A.
The Scottish Cricket Union were again indebted to several sponsors and with costs escalating each year are hopeful that such sponsorship will not only continue but be extended.
On the club scene Aberdeenshire with nine wins, one defeat and one draw, convincingly won the Scottish Counties championship from Forfarshire and Perthshire. In the first Beneagles Quaich competition, West Lothian County were decisively beaten by Forfarshire. J. S. C. Galloway in his first full season with Perthshire hit two not out centuries and headed the averages. C. C. Smith (Aberdeenshire) compiled the most runs in the championship with 453. The top wicket-taker and leader of the bowling averages was T. I. McPherson (Perthshire) with 37 wickets, average 7.27.
Clydesdale won the Western Union championship after a see-saw struggle with Drumpellier, the 1976 champions. Brian Edmeades, the former Essex all-rounder, played a leading role in Clydesdale's success, heading the Union batting averages (57.50) with the highest aggregate, 575 runs. He also took 37 wickets (12.51). Other high scorers were Mohammad Ilyas (Poloc) 502 runs, J. D. S. Wilson (Ayr) 420 runs and T. B. Racionzer (Clydesdale) 409 runs. B. Islam (Kelburne) captured 48 wickets in his first season as professional with the Paisley club and the only other bowlers to finish with 40 or more wickets were W. A. McPate (Drumpellier) 41 and J. Thomson (Kilmarnock) 40.
Drumpellier won the Rowan Charity and West League Cups. West of Scotland and Ayr finished third and fourth in the Union while bottom-of-the-table Poloc had the unique distinction of supplying the only three century makers of the season in Mohammad Ilyas (2) and C. Lafferty.
The Ryden and Partners League, formerly the East of Scotland League, was won by Heriot's F.P. from Watsonians, Carlton and Royal High. Stewart's Melville were again relegated while Fauldhouse, winners of Division II, gained promotion. Castings won promotion from Division III, Leith Academicals dropping down from Division II. The winners of the three divisions received £100, £50 and £50 respectively. The winner of the trophy for the fastest 50 went to T. Dickson (Stenhousemuir) who, against Heriot's F.P., made his 50 in forty-two minutes. K. J. Hughes of the Australian touring side guested for Watsonians on one occasion and hit a mercurial half-century.
The international player, H. K. More (Heriot's F.P.) 496 runs, and A. M. Zuill (Stenhousemuir) 489 runs, led the run scorers in the East with N. P. G. Ross (Carlton) heading the averages -- 404 runs, average 80.80. W. D. G. Louden (Edinburgh Academicals) and the former international D. D. Fraser (Royal High) captured 42 and 41 wickets respectively.
Edinburgh Academicals defeated Carlton in the final of the Masterton Trophy. Carlton also featured in the final of the all-Scotland Shish Mahal Cup again without success, the new trophy going to Clydesdale. Selkirk won the Border League Championship with an 86.67 per cent record from Lanark (67.19 per cent) and Kelso (66.67 per cent). The 2nd XI competition was again won by Penicuik. In the Strathmore Union Brechin won the championship with Aberdeen G.S.F.P. finishing runners-up.
The North of Scotland League finished with Huntly once more heading the table, while Prestwick retained the Glasgow and District League championship. Dunlop, East Kilbride and Kilmacolm earned promotion from Divisions two, three and four respectively and the relegated clubs were Renfrew, Rolls Royce and Weirs.