Batsmen to the fore as Carlton welcome Grange

Carlton opener Hamish Gardiner has been in fine form
Carlton opener Hamish Gardiner has been in fine form
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There could be fireworks at Grange Loan tomorrow when a number of in-form batsman clash as Carlton and Mazars Grange meet in a CSL Eastern Premiership encounter.

Carlton have won six matches out of seven in all competitions – five victories in the league, one in the Scottish Cup and a blip against Edinburgh in the Murgitroyd Masterton Trophy – while Grange are unbeaten in all competitions. The Stockbridge side have won six league matches to sit on top of the table, one Scottish Cup tie and two Murgitroyd Masterton Trophy clashes to date.

As the teams have set off like trains some of their batsmen have, not surprisingly, been enjoying themselves at the crease.

Carlton opener Hamish Gardiner has been flying, including hitting 98 not out on the opening day at Arbroath, and his form has also been good for the Highlanders and Scotland. He has been well backed up by the likes of Preston Mommsen, Fraser Watts – who hit a century eight days ago against Aberdeenshire – and in recent matches Rory McCann.

Although many see Grange opener George Munsey as a short-form specialist, his early season runs for the club, the Highlanders and whilst on loan with counties down south so far this summer must have meant that he was close to a Scotland outing this week against Afghanistan. It was not to be, but he has formed a strong opening partnership with wicketkeeper/batsman Caiden Lang in recent weeks and both are keen to score runs quickly.

It’s not all about the bat, the bowlers have also been in good form – Ali Evans and Chayank Gosain for Carlton and John Blain and Tom Sole for Grange.

Carlton skipper Gordon Drummond has named an unchanged XI while Grange captain Andrew Brock looks set to return following injury.

After last week’s win at Watsonians, Heriot’s make the trip to Arbroath.

Watsonians are visiting Autoecosse Forfarshire with bottom side RH Corstorphine at Aberdeenshire.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh may be going into their Baillie Gifford ESCA Championship match with Holy Cross on the back of two league defeats on the spin, but they are through to the Murgitroyd Masterton Trophy semis for the first time.

On Wednesday evening, in a dramatic climax, they chased down their victory target of 139 in the T20 match at Inverleith against SMRH. Abdul Majeed (24 not out) and Atif Imran (9 not out, including the winning runs) saw them home off the second last ball.

They now face Stuart&Stuart Penicuik in the last four with Grange, who defeated Marchmont on Tuesday evening, taking on Watsonians in the other semi-final.

Edinburgh captain Kashif Hussain said: “The T20 match against SMRH was great. It was a hard run chase, but the guys stuck to their jobs and then Abdul came in and hit some boundaries which gave us a chance towards the end.

“When we hit the winning runs everyone was delighted and to have a chance of reaching the final is something very special for our club.

“Hopefully the midweek result will have given everyone a bit more confidence now as the heads had gone down slightly after two league losses. We are enjoying testing ourselves in the Championship.”

Elsewhere in the Championship, second placed Carlton II travel to Cavalry Park to take on Marchmont with third placed SMRH facing a trip to leaders Glenrothes.

Mazars Grange II entertain Murrayfield DAFS with Penicuik hosting Freuchie.