Watson makes amends
William Dick Cricket Media Scotland
Ryan Watson led from the front as Scotland atoned for their first day errors to take charge of their Intercontinental Cup clash with the Nertherlands at Mannofield, Aberdeen, yesterday.
Watson was unable to avoid the flak as his side spilled ten catches on Thursday but the Forfarshire batsman delivered the ideal response in the form of his second century in the ICC's flagship tournament for associate countries.
He was joined in a record fourth-wicket partnership by Neil McCallum, the pair's unbroken 220 surpassing the 176 posted by Colin Smith and Watson himself against Namibia last year.
In the process the dynamic duo hoisted Scotland's tally beyond the Netherlands' 255 to secure the first innings bonus points.
When rain forced an early end to proceedings, the Scots had reached 277-3 with Watson on 141 and McCallum just three runs short of his second century in the competition.
A delighted Watson declared: "I said 255 wasn't too bad a total to concede to the Dutch as long as we batted well.
"We needed to knuckle down after losing three quick wickets and luckily Macca and I did that.
"There's still plenty of time left in the game and hopefully we can go on and build a substantial lead and then put them under a bit of pressure."
Watson, who has struggled for big scores this season, added: "It's been a tough summer for me but I've never really felt out of nick.
"I knew big score was just around the corner."
The day had started rather worryingly for home supporters when the loss of three quick wickets left Scotland teetering on 57-3.
Qasim Sheikh was first to go, gloving a leg-side catch to the wicket-keeper off the bowling of Somesh Kohli.
Fraser Watts followed for 15 to a splendid one-handed diving catch by keeper Atse Buurman while Scotland's problems intensified with the dismissal of the unfortunate Omer Hussain.
The Ferguslie player, undoubtedly one of the country's most promising batsmen, looked set to flourish when he got off the mark with two exquisitely timed boundaries.
However, a calamitous mix-up with Watson saw Hussain run out to deny spectators a prolonged look at this exciting young talent.
Aware of the need to build a partnership, Watson and McCallum dug in before gradually assuming complete control over a quickly dispirited Dutch attack.
Before losing Watts and Hussain, Watson had been at his belligerent best in striking four boundaries in one over from Kohli.
He emerged from a period of circumspection to strike Geert Mol for a big six over long off before reaching his second First Class century with his fifteenth boundary.
Having arrived at the landmark from 137 deliveries, Watson proceeded to play second fiddle as McCallum stepped-up the scoring rate during the afternoon session.
The Grange man might well have departed in the first over after lunch when he was dropped in the slips on 20.
However, he made the most of the let-off in racing to his half-century with four boundaries and one six.
McCallum was poised to reach three figures when persistent drizzle forced the players off with thirty of the day's scheduled overs remaining.
Providing the weather relents over the weekend, Scotland are well placed to force home their advantage against an inexperienced Dutch side.