Local cricket fans will have recognised a familiar face in the navy number 14 jersey of Scotland during their three wicket loss to the Black Caps at University Oval in Dunedin on Tuesday.
Matt Machan spent a season coaching and playing at Waitaki Boys’ High School and represented North Otago in the 2010-11 season.
The 24-year-old top-scored with 56 off 79 balls to pull Scotland back into the contest following a disastrous start, which saw opener Kyle Coetzer dismissed for one run, quickly followed by Calum MacLeod and Hamish Gardiner for golden ducks.
Trent Boult (2 for 21) was the pick of a blistering New Zealand bowling attack, which left Scotland reeling at 12 for four early on, before Machan offered some resistance.
Machan said he was pleased with his individual display but would now look ahead to the remaining fixtures.
“I was pleased. It’s always nice to get a few runs against one of the best attacks in the tournament. Obviously it was disappointing from a team perspective but I can take a lot of positives out of it,” he said.
“Hindsight’s a brilliant thing in cricket, but there’s a lot of positives to take out of it and a lot to work on as well .”
The Sussex left-hander honed his skills while coaching at Waitaki and playing in the Hawke Cup following North Otago’s triumphant 2009-10 campaign.
“I was coaching at Waitaki Boys’ High School and was looked after superbly by Hamish McMurdo,” he said.
“My main goal when I came over was to develop my cricket skills and that happened which was good.”
“I came the year after they [North Otago] won the Hawke Cup, so there was quite a lot of expectation but it was really good cricket.”
Machan valued his time in Oamaru and reflected warmly on the welcoming treatment he received from the local cricket community.
“I met [North Otago Cricket Association chairman] Peter Cameron the other day, who looked after me superbly when I was there [Oamaru], and Hamish [McMurdo] as well, so I’ve seen a few familiar faces but It’d be nice if I get a few days off to come down and visit.”
“I haven’t seen anything like it before really – the way I was welcomed and the way I was looked after, I don’t have a bad word to say about the place, I absolutely loved it.”
Scotland will now prepare for a mouthwatering clash with old enemy England at Christchurch’s Hagley Oval on Sunday.
“It’s going to be a great occasion,” Machan said.
“We just work on the things we didn’t do too well, but there’s positives as well. It gave me a nice start to the tournament. There’s still plenty of games to go so hopefully I can push on now.”
Despite the distraction of a World Cup, Machan still keeps a lookout for North Otago’s results and wished his former team mates well for next month’s Hawke Cup challenge.
“I know the guys have got the Hawke Cup challenge in a couple of weeks, so I wish them all the best and hopefully they can return the trophy to Oamaru.”
By James Ford