Top Austrialian cricket side stops off in St Andrews

The Crusaders and local cricketers gather before their game
The Crusaders and local cricketers gather before their game

A peculiar e-mail, received out of the blue, opened the door to St Andrews Staff and Postgraduate Cricket Club facing a top Australian touring side.

The e-mail was sent by Swan Richards of the Crusaders from Australia to the local club’s Phil Pass.

Crusaders, founded to develop promising young Aussie cricketers, were scheduled to be in Edinburgh ahead of a tour down south, and were wondering if they could visit the Kingdom first to face Phil’s side.

Intrigued, a correspondence was struck up and last Friday over 40 members of the Crusaders touring party disembarked their coach and spilled out onto the outfield at the University playing fields for a Twenty20 friendly.

Phil said: “The current crop of young Crusaders are certainly a talented group and, if truth be told, St Andrews were a little nervous before the game having seen reports from their earlier games in Scotland, the Netherlands and Belgium.

“Current Australia international Xavier Doherty featured in Rotterdam and two teenage batsmen racked up 303 without loss in Brussels.

“From the moment they arrived, however, it was clear that the visitors were here to enjoy a fun game, meaning the inevitable defeat for the home team was taken in good spirits by all.

“A positive bowling performance, notably from Josh Hey, Patrick Jess and Phil Pass, allowed the game to retain a hint of competitiveness, and although the St Andrews batting floundered a little, both teams could be pleased with their evening’s work under brilliant blue skies.”

Crusaders are a nomadic cricket club, based in the Melbourne area but without a home of their own.

Founded in 1977, the club has a successful track record in developing players, with former Australian internationals Paul Reiffel, Clint McKay and the legendary Shane Warne all counted amongst alumni.

Crusaders headed from Scotland to Nottinghamshire and end their tour in London, meeting the Australian test team at Lords ahead of the second Ashes test.