Mark Watt has revealed how he felt like time stood still for a few seconds before he took the catch to dismiss Jason Roy and set Scotland on the way to their historic cricketing victory against England.
At 21, spinner Watt from Edinburgh was the youngest member of the Scottish side that shocked the cricketing world on Sunday at The Grange in the capital with a six run win in the One Day International.
With opening batsmen Roy and Jonny Bairstow clattering the ball to all parts of the ground early on as England replied to the Scots’ target of 371-5, things were looking bleak for the hosts.
However, they rallied and Watt, who now plays for Tynemouth near Newcastle, was the man to get the key first wicket of Roy caught and bowled after England had raced to 129 in just the 13th over.
He then went on to get two more wickets in the dramatic win and said: “I think the caught and bowled I had to get out Jason Roy is up there with my best ever wickets.
“I could see the ball coming back to me and knew the catch was on, but my whole world stood still for a few seconds, but I managed to hold on and that was a big moment.
“It had been a bit worrying earlier on when I was bowling and the ball was disappearing over the fish and chip van, even my dad came and had a chat with me on the boundary and told me how I should bowl!
“He was the reason I got into cricket in the first place, he used to take me down to Leith Links to play.
“I’m not sure if his advice on this occasion helped or not, but I had to think about how to change things and thankfully the wickets came.
“Earlier, I think the way that Kyle [Coetzer] and Matt [Cross] went out there and showed that we weren’t scared and they were going to bat with intent set a great platform and then allowed Calum MacLeod to come in.
“He just followed on from there really and Calum’s innings of 140 was just superb. The way he played also allowed other batsmen to just come in and play their natural games and everything clicked.
“The atmosphere was just amazing and it is a day that I will not forget for a long time.”
As Watt mentioned, he grew up playing in Leith and then joined CSL Eastern Premier Division side Heriot’s as a teenager.
He helped the Goldenacre men to win the top flight title last summer while, after the England game and ahead of the two Pakistan T20 matches on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, he now has 18 ODI caps and 18 T20 caps to his name.
The spell of bowling he produced on Sunday was described as “gold dust” by team mate MacLeod – and when Watt retires many years in the future they will certainly be three balls he looks bac on with great fondness.
So, how has head coach Grant Bradburn turned things around since 2014?
“Four years ago I identified some amazing skill. The first game I witnessed was the England game in Aberdeen and I said to the team after that game that skill was not the issue,” the 52-year-old Kiwi said.
“It was the belief that we can win and how to use that skill tactically in a game we needed to work on.
“We’ve worked hard over these four years and we’ve got some wonderfully gifted players. What I’d like to think now is that they’ve got the freedom to express themselves in their own way and kick on from here.”
Scotland now take on Pakistan on Tuesday and Wednsday (both 4pm) at The Grange in T20 internationals
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