Centuries at College Field – #5 Stuart Mackay

Part five of Rob Batiste’s series of great College Field centuries.

‘One schoolboy’s golden summer’

WAS Stuart Mackay the greatest Elizabeth College batsman of all time? Probably not, is my assessment. But, for certain, no Elizabethan cricketer has ever had the golden season that the elder of two talented sporting siblings enjoyed in 1989.

It was a season in which, by its end, Jersey were mightily sick of the sight of SBR Mackay. As well as the century he took off the Victoria College bowlers at the King’s Road ground to add his name on the pavilion honours board, he would win the man-of- the-match awards in both the U19 and U23 inter-insulars won by the Sarnians, and then finish the season with the ultimate – a ton in the senior inter-insular.

It should be said that like that run-machine Keith Howick of almost two decades earlier, Mackay was not a dasher. He settled, he accumulated, he concentrated like few schoolboy cricketers can, and he drove bowlers into submission.

His season of all seasons, which yielded 793 runs for the school, had already seen one very high point with that century against Victoria. He took his time, though, and had plenty of luck, his century coming up off 137 balls, this after being dropped early on, again in his 30s and again on 97, this time a dolly. Had he gone in first wicket down as opposed to No 4, he might have got to three figures earlier. As it was, Elizabeth waited until he moved onto 100 and the visitors had bowled 73.2 overs, before declaring. The individual had been accommodated by his captain for the prestige of an inter-collegiate century, but in doing so, Elizabeth had killed the game and it served them right for not leaving themselves anywhere near sufficient time to force a win. For his next trick it was an undefeated 72 as the Island U19s beat their Jersey counterparts at Grainville at the beginning of July. Just for good measure he took 6 for 33 with his left-arm seamers. Then, as Guernsey’s senior selectors mulled over their side to play in the full match on 13 August, he nailed his position with a decisive 54 to win the U23 match back at the College Field where, a week later, he would make his senior debut.

Could he deliver again? Of course he could. Mackay simply got his head down and against two of the finest, fastest new-ball bowlers Jersey have ever fielded in Barry Middleton and Colin Graham, he smoothly moved to a dream century.

Even then, his season was not quite complete. Five days later, guess who would hit the winning runs as Optimists beat Cobo to wrap up the Evening League title? And with that it was virtually the end of the run-machine’s run. A year later, in Jersey, he would be out cheaply, and although he made 46 in the 1992 game, the Oxford University student was done as far as the biggest game in inter-island cricket goes.

Match report 15th August 1989

ON A marvellous day for local cricket, 18-year-old golden boy Stuart Mackay became only the third player in the 32-year history of Guernsey-Jersey cricket matches to score a century. Mackay scored 100 not out as Guernsey romped to a 57-run win at College Field, their third successive ‘Muratti’ win and the second time they have won the Carlsberg Trophy. Surprise, surprise, Mackay won the man-of-the-match award – his third in Guernsey-Jersey games this summer – and his prize will be to be wined and dined in Carlsberg’s private box at next month’s NatWest Cup final at Lord’s. Boy’s Own stuff it certainly was.

Having won the Under-19 and Under-23 inter-insulars virtually off his own bat, surely not even in his wildest dreams could the prolific Old Elizabethan have believed he would hit a century on his full Island debut. It seemed he would be left stranded in the 90s when he was still six short of three figures with only two balls of the Guernsey innings remaining. But a glorious off drive off Colin Graham, Jersey’s quickest and best bowler, took him to 98 and the finest of inside edges past leg stump the next ball was sufficient to complete a brilliant century. Only the late R F B ‘Bush’ O’Gallaghan for Jersey in 1959 and Guernsey’s Stan Cleal, 28 years ago, had previously scored hundreds in full inter-insular games, but Mackay’s was the first since the series switched to a limited overs format in 1978. Little went wrong for Guernsey after Ralph Anthony had won the toss and elected to bat. And as Guernsey’s strength was in their batting Anthony’s decision could hardly be described as a gamble. Jersey were soon celebrating though. Only six runs had been scored when Peter Vidamour, last year’s man-of-the-match, was snapped up at first slip off the bowling of Graham. This brought in Mackay to partner his uncle, Mike Webber, and the two withstood some occasionally hostile bowling from Graham ana Barry Middleton. It was MaCkay’s first look at Middleton, a bowler who began the day with 48 inter-insular wickets tucked under his belt. If the youngster had nerves it did not show in his batting and he was soon striking the bad balls for four. Webber, too, looked solid and in the space of 40 minutes they added 42 runs for the second wicket to provide a sound base for the expected onslaught later. Jersey skipper Geoff Ramskill must have been considering resting Middleton when, with the first ball of his ninth over, he had Webber playing on for 20. Suitably boosted by victim number 49 Middleton continued for two more overs in which time Mackay, twice, was fortunate to keep his wicket intact. Steve Carlyon was the fielder in the limelight on both occasions as Mackay almost paid for slack shots. In one over his determined sprint and full-length dive just failed to pouch Mackay’s miss-hook at mid-wicket and when the batsman clipped the ball uppishly behind square-leg, Carlyon got both hands to the ball only to drop it on the way down. Ralph Anthony survived a loud and confident appeal for a catch behind to keep Mackay company in a third-wicket stand of 42. But the skipper never looked comfortable at the crease and with 15 to his name drove medium-pacer Mark Bailey straight to extra-cover where Phil Le Cornu took a straightforward catch. Richard Veillard, Anthony’s replacement, looked in great nick and played some of the best shots of the day as he and Mackay saw Guernsey through to lunch. Veillard played two stupendous cover drives and at lunch Guernsey were cruising at 149 for three with 16 of their 55 overs untouched and Mackay 69 not out. In the circumstances it would be reasonable to expect the batting side to score at least a run per ball in the final straight. That Guernsey struggled to score 59 off the last 16 was not only due to tight bowling from Graham and Ramskill but a strangely inflexible batting order. Veillard did not last long after lunch but his 36 from 42 deliveries could not be faulted. With only 14 overs remaining the situation cried out for a bludgeoner and in that respect Gary Rich did not fit the bill. On his senior debut the young Cobo all-rounder required 11 deliveries to get off the mark. Mackay saw little of the strike and vital overs slipped away. Rich was still in the process of finding his feet in inter-insular cricket when Jeff Dibble stumped him for 12 and with no time to play themselves in, Mark Bacon and Paul Wakeford lasted just four balls between them, both bowled by the impressive Graham. Mackay, who offered another sharp chance on 73, continued to see little of the bowling and for a while there was concern that he would be left just short of three-figures and Guernsey would fall short of the psychologically important 200 mark. Thirteen runs off Graham’s 22nd and final over saw both landmarks achieved, however, and when Mackay scampered a second run to bring up his century the whole ground rose to applaud him back to the pavilion, his runs having come off 147 deliveries. A target of 209 was by no means unbeatable but it looked a long, long way away when Andy Burckhardt’s shout for a catch behind was upheld and Steve Blampied was out for six and, with the total on 22, Paul Robson was caught at mid-off off Mike Kinder. Dibble and Ward Jenner steadied the innings but with Anthony and Warren Barrett both finding appreciable spin the Jersey batsmen never looked comfortable. By tea Anthony had accounted for Dibble and when three more wickets went down with the score on 78 Guernsey and their supporters on the ‘hill’ were joyous. Carlyon played on to Barrett, Jenner swept Anthony to Mackay at backward square and Bailey was bowled by Barrett attempting to hit only his second ball out of the ground. Le Cornu’s cultured 28 suggested there could be a way back for Jersey but the spinners were to have the last laugh and when Barrett trapped Le Cornu, leg before, the result was a formality. Barrett collected one more wicket, that of the Jersey captain for a dogged 18, and at the close Jersey were 57 adrift on 151 for nine with Middleton, perhaps playing his final inter-insular on Sarnian soil, having won the approval of the home supporters with a big six off Burkhardt.



P Vidamour c Ramskill     b Graham               1

M Webber                         b Middleton             20

S Mackay     not out                                       100

R Anthony    c le Cornu    b Bailey                  15

R Veillard     c Carlyon      b Graham               36

G Rich          st Dibble      b Ramskill              12

M Bacon                           b Graham               0

P Wakeford                      b Graham               0

W Barrett     not out                                       14

Extras                                                             10

Total (7 wkts in 55 overs)                              208

Bowling:       Middleton 11-1-45-1, Graham 22-4-72-4; Bailey 5-1-23-1, Ramskill 13-3-43-1, Gales 4-0-20-0


S Blampied   c Webber      b Burkhart              6

P Robson      c Anthony     b Kinder                 11

J Dibble        c and            b Anthony               19

W Jenner      c Mackay      b Anthony              16

S Carlyon                         b Barrett                12

P le Cornu    lbw               b Barrett                28

M Bailey                           b Barrett                0

C Graham     c Barrett       b Anthony              1

G Ramskill    c Anthony     b Barrett                18

T Gales         not out                                       15

B Middleton not out                                       11

Extras                                                             14

Total (9 wkts in 43.3 overs)                           151

Bowling:       Burkhardt 8-1-33-1, Kinder 10-3-23-1, Anthony 20-7-31-3, Barrett 17-4-52-4