AMONG the many milestones achieved by a Scotland cricket side growing in stature over recent years, perhaps the defeat of Zimbabwe in June 2017 to record a first one-day victory over a Test-playing nation stands as the most significant.

It was a team effort as such accomplishments tend to be but two figures were particularly prominent: Kyle Coetzer and Con de Lange. Captain and vice-captain, Coetzer led the way making 109 with the bat before de Lange followed up by taking five wickets to deliver a famous win. The Aberdonian of South African heritage and the Cape Town-born all-rounder who became an honorary Scot celebrated heartily together.

“That's what you grow up as a kid dreaming towards, beating Test nations,” beamed de Lange afterwards.

Just six months later, however, and his world would be turned upside down with the discovery of a brain tumour. Sixteen months on and the 38-year-old continues to fight as doggedly as he did on the cricket field. Throughout it all, de Lange and his family have dealt with it in private and with great dignity.

Coetzer has been in regular touch and it is not difficult to detect the emotion in his voice as he speaks about his former Northants team-mate who would go on to become a good friend.

“I first remember watching Con play back in South Africa a while ago,” he recalled. “I was at Newlands and he was captaining Western Province at the time although I didn’t know him then.

“Then when he joined Northants about seven or eight years ago I got to know him. He made a lot of good friends down there and luckily I was one of them. He’s certainly had an impact on my career in more ways than one. He’s the kind of guy that has a real determined steeliness about him and that rubs off on the players around him.

“We’ve been the two senior boys in the Scotland squad of recent years so we always looked out for each other. He lives north of the border and I’m on the other side so we’re not crossing paths every day but we try to catch up whenever we can as he’s a good friend and the two families get on well too.

“Obviously this has been a really tough time for them given everything that’s happened over the last year or so. I saw him a couple of weeks ago and it was nice to catch up and see how he’s getting on. It’s been really hard but he’s battling away as determined as ever.”

De Lange was 34 when he made his Scotland debut but having married Claire, a girl from Paisley, and having two children here, he now feels as Scottish as any local.

“It’s been a really positive time for the national team and Con has been an integral part of the progress including taking those five wickets against Zimbabwe,”

Coetzer said. “He really wanted to play for Scotland when it was first mentioned as a possibility. The fact he married a local girl had already got him in to the Scottish mindset and you could see how proud he was playing for the national team. When we sign Flower of Scotland he joins in as loud as anyone else.”

It is common for people to feel helpless in situation like this but the Scottish cricketing community has taken proactive steps to make a difference.

A fundraising event at the end of last year raised £10,000 for the Brain Tumour Charity, while Cricket Scotland’s #Beanies4BrainTumours campaign – encouraging players to buy a customised hat to wear at the start of the domestic season – has been widely supported throughout the country, raising another £3100 to date.

Coetzer believes it reflects both the respect and fondness with which de Lange, who also played and coached with Ferguslie and Clydesdale, continues to be held throughout Scottish cricket.

“There has always been a cricket community in Scotland, even if a lot of time the good work that gets done goes largely unnoticed,” he said.

“People tend to look after each other and pull together for really important things like this. Con is a really well-respected person throughout Scottish cricket, mostly in the west where he played originally but also in other parts of the country given his involvement in the national team and the success he helped bring.

“The fundraising is testament to what people think of him and how they want to help him. It’s terrific to see how much money they’ve raised so far. Hopefully they can still get a bit more as it’s for such an important cause. Con and Claire have keep things private throughout all of this but I know for a fact they are very appreciative of what everyone has done for them and the charity.”