FRUSTRATED indignation seems a good a reason as any to write a book. Thirty years after relocating north of the border, Jake Perry still finds a sense of exasperation washing over him whenever friends from back home or further afield show genuine surprise at mention of cricket in Scotland. Were he a cartoon character, his face would likely turn a deep scarlet at that point as steam blasts out both ears.

Perry, a music teacher by day but an enthusiastic cricket historian and writer in his spare time, has decided the best way to deal with this persistently recurring question is by committing a definitive response to print.

The result is ‘The Secret Game: Tales of Scottish Cricket’, a book that takes a gentle meander through some of the key milestones of the sport in this country and the figures that influenced its development.

Alongside tales of local heroes such as the all-conquering Lasswade side and the pioneering XI from Kelso, Perry also adds depth and colour to recollections of the global stars who graced Scottish grounds such as WG Grace and Don Bradman.

“This book is effectively my answer to the question I’m always asked: “What? They play cricket in Scotland?” And I like to explain, “Yes, we do and have been for quite some time!” said Perry.

“There’s a rich vein of Scottish cricketing history that nobody really knows about. Even some people within the game probably aren’t aware just how vast that heritage is.

“It had never been my intention to write a comprehensive history of Scottish cricket as it would have stretched to about seven volumes and I would probably have never finished it.

“So I wanted to pick out moments in history and then try to connect them to the next significant event and tell the story that way. And it’s amazing how it all links together, right up until the present day.”

As the title suggests, cricket in this country doesn’t always get the coverage that it deserves. That’s partly due to the sort of outdated, erroneous opinion held by some that it’s a game only for English toffs. Try telling that to the millions of Australians, Indians, West Indians and South Africans who have embraced it unreservedly.

“I think cricket still suffers from the connotations of being a privileged or elitist sport,” added Perry.

“That’s always confused me. Look at rugby for example – you can’t get more public school than a sport named after one of them! But rugby doesn’t seem to be talked about in the same way, maybe because Scotland competes against England on a regular basis.

“Even in parts of England there’s an almost behind-the-hand disparaging way of talking about cricket.

“You don’t get that same attitude in Australia, India or South Africa where everyone plays it and enjoys it. It’s the people’s game in those countries. But it’s also always been Scotland’s summer game. Around 17,000 people play it actively by the latest figures which is a decent amount.

“But there seems to be a reluctance in this country for some people to admit they like it which is a real shame.

“I went to one of the courses put on for kids last year and spoke to one of the mums. And she admitted she thought it was going to be really stuffy and only for posh people in their whites.

“But her son went and that family soon realised it’s not really like that. So I hope that if more people can get beyond the image they might have in their heads about cricket they can see it’s a really accessible and fun sport for everyone.”

The one-day international victory over England in the summer of 2018 thrust Scottish cricket under the spotlight like never before.

Sadly this year’s proposed encounters with New Zealand and Australia look set to become victims of the coronavirus but Perry hoped cricket would continue to grow in Scotland once play resumes.

“The aftermath of the England game and the coverage it received gave us a glimpse of what it could be like,” he added.

“If Scotland can reach full membership status it would be phenomenal to have these sorts of fixtures on a regular basis. We had Sri Lanka and Afghanistan last year and Australia and New Zealand lined up for this year. And if we can start to get more big results then more people are going to take an interest.

“Scottish cricket is hidden in plain sight. There are such amazing stories to be told around the game. And if this book can do a little by shining a light into those corners then I’ll be really happy.”

- The Secret Game: Tales of Scottish Cricket by Jake Perry is available online from Chequered Flag Publishing, priced £9.99