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Scotland's cricketers taught harsh lesson at Titwood

Scotland's cricketers twice threw away the chance to get their new head coach's regime off to winning start at Titwood yesterday, his first official day in the job.

It had looked as Grant Bradburn's introduction to the job was going to be thoroughly uncharacteristic on a glorious day at the Glasgow ground, an arena that has witnessed so many international wash-outs in recent years.

His team appeared to be cruising to victory over the Netherlands but would fail to restrict their visitors to less than 200 runs, with the Scots then turning what was still looking like a steady run chase into a batting collapse. Eight wickets were lost for 51 runs and the hosts were ultimately well beaten by a 44-run margin.

It was, as Bradburn readily acknowledged, a "harsh lesson" for his squad. "Obviously today is a great example of how tough international cricket is, irrespective of the opposition," he said.

"It's a stage that's meant to be tough and it's a harsh lesson that we've dominated the game for three-quarters of it and had it in the palm of our hands in both innings. But this is international cricket."

However, the Scotland head coach welcomes the fact that they have a chance to try to put things right immediately, when they meet the same opponents today and then again on Friday. "I think it's an experience thing," he said. "Obviously it's a mental thing but we will flourish through more experience of these situations. These are great situations for us to learn from. The beauty is we've got a quick turn-around an opportunity to learn from today as we will every day.

"It's already been a big message from me to our team that it's all about learning. Whether you win or lose, or you play well or you don't, we've got to continue to think better."

In fairness he could have been forgiven for wondering what was going on when he effectively had to ask for volunteers to keep wicket yesterday, with Matthew Cross having broken a thumb in training on Monday. Calum MacLeod put his hands up and if it was not the neatest display ever seen behind the stumps, neither was that the cause of Scotland's defeat.

Both MacLeod and his team-mates looked well in control when, in spite of opener Michael Swart getting his side off to a solid start with the game's top score of 62, the Dutch were reduced to that score of 159-7 as the Scots mixed up their bowling effectively and produced some fine fielding. A direct hit run out by Richie Berrington was particularly impressive, as was a diving slip catch by Preston Mommsen to remove the threat of Ben Cooper.

However, Michael Rippon marshalled the tail well to get them to a combative 252, just missing out on his half century when he ran a single off the final ball of the innings.

It looked far from enough as Hamish Gardiner and Mommsen put together a 77-run third-wicket partnership. However, just after reaching his half century, the former missed a full toss when bang in front of his stumps with the score on 157 in the 32nd over to spark an even more rapid collapse from which the Scots were unable to recover.

Mommsen top edged an attempted pull soon afterwards to be caught at long leg and when the team's two most dangerous hitters, Berrington and Michael Leask, quickly followed the lower order were left with too much to do.

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