Carlton wicketkeeper Fraser Boyd praised the side’s battling qualities after they dug deep to defeat Watsonians on Saturday and take another step towards the CSL Eastern Premiership title.
After a pulsating afternoon of cricket at Myreside, it was 7pm when young Cameron Shoebridge bowled Andrew Chalmers to spark celebrations in the visiting ranks as they won by 39 runs.
That margin of victory makes it sound like a comfortable win against their title rivals, but it was nip and tuck all day.
Earlier on, the Watsonians bowlers had put Carlton under a lot of pressure, the top order batsmen struggling as they fell to 71-7 batting first.
At the point, Watsonians would have felt on top, but Shoebridge (18 runs), Boyd (36), Chayank Gosain (22) and Calum Everett (11 not out) helped hoist their side up to 162 all out from their 50 overs. For the hosts, Alec Sim had led the way with 4-32.
With Ali Evans playing as a batsman only due to a side injury, South African Mario Olivier knew he had to lead the attack and the seam bowler did not disappoint. He got the wickets of Watsonians openers Andrew Learmonth and Ben O’Connell to put the hosts on 6-2.
Watsonians captain Ewan Chalmers, their key man in any run chase, was then bowled by an absolute beauty by the same man and the hosts were in trouble.
Andrew Chalmers did stick in for 44 and Andrew Fraser-Harris made 21, but Carlton were on top and Olivier ended up with four wickets, Gordon Drummond three and Shoebridge two.
After the match Boyd, who took three catches, said: “This is a really big win for us. These low scoring, tight victories are the ones that can make all the difference when it comes to the end of the season and we are delighted with the fighting spirit we showed.
“For me personally, it has not been the best of seasons, so I was delighted to contribute some crucial runs near the end. Myself and the other guys lower down the order knew we had plenty of overs left so we just tried to bat to the end of the innings. We rotated the strike well and to get to 162 was a bonus.
“Then, the bowlers did a great job and Mario was almost unplayable early on.
“We are now top with three weeks to go and we have to stay focused on the job in hand.”
Mazars Grange kept up their title hopes with a one-wicket win over Heriot’s.
Batting first at Raeburn Place, Heriot’s made 223 all out with Peter Ross leading the way with 69. Chris Sole celebrated his Scotland call-up with 5-73. After a rain delay, Grange needed 216 in 46 overs. They got there by the skin of their teeth, Preston Mommsen with 50.
Meanhwile, SMRH suffered their first Bailie Gifford ESCA Championship loss of 2016. Edinburgh beat them by 56 runs while second-placed RH Corstorphine defeated Kelso by seven wickets to keep the pressure on.