Carlton head for Stoneywood Dyce in the Eastern Premiership tomorrow with a teenage star from one of the most remarkable turnarounds at any level of cricket standing by to make a debut.
All-rounder Angus Hinton was at the heart of Carlton Under-15s victory over South Shields in the first national round of the ECB Cup last weekend, despite the visitors to Grange Loan requiring just 18 runs from the last five overs and with nine wickets in hand.
“Angus’ promotion is thoroughly deserved and he is there on merit,” said former Scotland captain Gordon Drummond, who looked on as his young Carlton club-mates dismissed South Shields four runs short of a winning target of 85 to book a trip to Tynedale on Sunday.
Drummond added: “Angus will certainly get a bowl and is potentially a top-four batsman, who has had quality coaching at Merchiston Castle School and represented Scotland Under-15s.”
The youngsters’ unlikely win came on the same day as Grange Under-13s were overcoming Wigton in their competition to progress.
“It is tremendous for Scottish cricket that these results are occurring,” said Drummond who, understandably, focused on the Carlton success.
“The lads held their nerve and tactically set a defensive field to make it harder for the opposition to score.”
Further mental strength was needed when South Shields’ top scorer was initially given out, only to be reinstated due to Carlton having one player fewer than required in the inner fielding ring.
“Pressure is a funny thing in sport and Carlton proved they could handle it and that is something they have learned early and will last throughout their careers,” Drummond said.
“Rob Thornton, the coach, and I actually spoke to the team beforehand and told them strange things can happen when wickets tumble.”
Meanwhile, Drummond himself is absent tomorrow due to Scotland Under-17s coaching commitments, while Ruari MacPherson is unavailable and will be replaced by his brother Kyle as Carlton seek a league double over their opponents.
Grange have a hectic weekend with a home encounter against Falkland followed by a Scottish Cup semi-final at East Kilbride.
Tomorrow, Tom Foulds, the Edinburgh University captain and all-rounder, is included for the second time this season and skipper Neil McCallum also returns on a day when Gregor Maiden, Simon Smith and Raj Routray are absent.
However, both Maiden and Routray are available for the Sunday XI, which has still to be finalised as Grange try to add to the Masterton Trophy, which they won for a tenth time last week.
SMRH head for Forfarshire with Tom Beattie taking over behind the stumps for the unavailable Stephen Parker and experienced all-rounder Cedric English is back in the ranks. Recent recruit from Musselburgh, Rene Collins, is waiting in the wings after taking 2-9 on a second-team debut.
Watsonians have an opportunity to vent frustration at losing out to Grange under the Duckworth/Lewis method of determining rain affected matches when they entertain leaders Aberdeenshire.
By contrast, Heriot’s benefitted from the D/L in overcoming SMRH, but a tougher task awaits at home to Arbroath.