Archie Scott, cricketer

Born: January 26, 1918;

Died: November 1, 2019

ARCHIE Scott, who has died aged 101, was a cricketer who, having been capped once against Ireland in 1947, was Scotland’s oldest cricket international. In addition to his prowess with bat and ball, he was an accomplished rugby player having represented Scottish Schoolboys and Edinburgh as well as being a reserve for an international trial.

Sport was in his genes with his father J.M.B. Scott and uncle, Fred Turner, both Scottish rugby internationals while later his wife’s twin sister was Jean Donald, Scottish Ladies golf champion. Had it not been for the Second World War, he would undoubtedly have collected more honours.

Originally in the ‘Territorials,’ he served with distinction in the Field Regiment of the Royal Artillery both here and in the push into Bremen from Normandy after the D Day landings, receiving several promotions to the rank of Major. He was also a successful businessman as a director of Scottish Malt Distillers, part of Distillers Company Limited, for twenty years.

And at 92, he entered the public limelight when he not only sat his Advanced Driving Test but passed with flying colours, later commenting, "It proves age is no barrier when it comes to achieving something.’

He almost missed out on his only cap thanks to a misunderstanding on the phone. Originally he thought the call concerned his availability for another team going to Ireland for a week and replied he would not manage time off work. When he realised afterwards it was for the three-day match for Scotland against Ireland in Cork, he was able to retrieve the situation, with the player picked in his place graciously standing down.

The match was played at The Mardyke ground with Scott, then representing the Grange club, one of four new caps. Very different from today, preparation was almost nil, with players providing their own equipment and no nets practice or meetings beforehand. One preview stated, ‘Scott is an all round sportsman capable of getting runs on his day as well as an excellent fieldsman.’ The match ended in a draw, Scott acquitting himself decently in the first innings with three fours for 12, the third highest knock but was out for a duck in the second.

Andrew Archibald Steele Scott was born in Edinburgh to ‘Jock’ and Alys nee Turner, and brought up initially at Liberton Brae before moving to Dreghorn Loan in the city. His father was a W.S. in the family legal firm of Scott and Glover, but after the First World War left to set up his own insurance broking business.

Scott attended Edinburgh Academy before going to Sedbergh School in 1932 where he shone at sport. He topped the 1st XI batting averages with a highest score of 82 n.o. and was in the 1st XV for three seasons, earning selection in 1937 at scrum half for Scottish Schoolboys against their English counterparts when he was praised for ‘using possession sensibly.’

After school he played for Edinburgh Wanderers at centre threequarter as the scrum half was Scottish international Ross Logan. Adapting well, he was chosen for Edinburgh against Glasgow in 1938, described in the Glasgow Herald preview as “a strong runner” and afterwards as “having played very soundly,” in the capital’s success. His opposite number was Wilson Shaw who had captained Scotland earlier that year to a Triple Crown including a famous Calcutta Cup win at Twickenham.

Wartime sporting opportunities were scarce but he did manage a century for Grange while on leave and played for a winning B.A.O.R. team against a Scottish XV in 1945. After the war he played some rugby and continued with cricket through the 1950s.

While being treated in an Officers’ Nursing Home in the late 1940s in Edinburgh he met a nurse from North Berwick, Anne Donald, whom he married in 1951 and with whom he spent many happy years and had Jane and Alistair.

With S.M.D. for 43 years altogether, he spent time in Aberfeldy, Banff, Edinburgh and latterly Elgin during which he had particular responsibility for company safety and training nationwide. After retiring in 1980 he and his wife settled in Inverness.

Always active and an outdoor enthusiast, he climbed more than 90 Munros, did water skiing at Findhorn, completed the Southern Upland Way aged 77 and the Great Glen Way at 85. He enjoyed holidays abroad including to Canada, Sri Lanka, Venice, Vienna and visited Commonwealth War Graves in Europe.

Cricket remained an interest and in 2007 in Barbados he watched Scotland in matches in the World Cup and also attended Raeburn Place for internationals. Cars were another enthusiasm and he did the London/Brighton Rally in his MG T.C. sports car twice. He also wrote an entertaining and informative autobiography, 96 Not Out [With maybe an over to Come].

He is survived by his children, grandchildren Jamie, Nicholas and Lucy, and great grandchildren Archie, Freddie and Ben.