Carlton skipper praises quiet destroyer Ahmad as Grand Final is won

The jubilant Carlton squad celebrate their Grand Final victory with the trophy. Image courtesy of Cricket Scotland

The jubilant Carlton squad celebrate their Grand Final victory with the trophy. Image courtesy of Cricket Scotland

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Carlton skipper Steve Gilmour praised the performance of the ever reliable Omar Ahmad as the Grange Loan men won the Grand Final against Clydesdale on Saturday.

The 114-run victory on their home ground rounded off an amazing double-winning summer for the CSL Eastern Premiership champions.

And although other players may grab the headlines week in, week out Gilmour reserved special mention for seam bowler Ahmad.

He has been at the club for a number of years and goes about his job quietly, but effectively.

And at the weekend he took two key wickets in two balls to set Carlton on their way to a brilliant victory.

Chasing Carlton’s 282-5 Clydesdale knew their big players were going to have to score the bulk of the runs if they had any chance of taking the national title back to the west.

However, those hopes were dashed early on when, already struggling having lost two wickets, Ahmad took two scalps in two balls.

Firstly he had Scotland cap Richie Berrington caught at second slip by Gordon Drummond and then the pair repeated the trick when, with the very next ball, Ahmad got the wicket of another Scotland cap Con de Lange.

From that moment on Carlton were in control and in the end Clydesdale could only make 168 all out and the celebrations began.

It was also fitting that Drummond took the two catches as the former Scotland skipper looks set to retire from the sport.

Carlton’s Hugo Southwell hit a superb 85 from just 54 balls with Fraser Watts making 73 and Rory McCann 65 as a daunting total was set.

The key to the innings was keeping wickets in hand and they scored 100 runs from the final 10 overs of the 50.

A delighted Gilmour said: “When Omar got the two key wickets one after the other we knew we had one hand on the trophy and then we just had to see the job through from there.

“Omar has been a very consistent performer for the club for some time now and I was pleased for him that he was able to play a big part in this match.

“He sometimes doesn’t get the wickets that his bowling deserves, but he is very accurate and never gives away many runs.

“As well as getting Berrington and De Lange out he also got the wicket of their captain Majid Haq to round off a great day for him.

“Our fielders backed up the bowlers well and it was great that it ended with Mario Olivier getting a run out with a direct throw.

“He has been a brilliant overseas player for us and he brings so much energy to the cricket pitch. That has rubbed off on others and although he heads off to South Africa this week we hope to see him back at Grange Loan at some stage in the future.

“With the bat I thought the guys did a great job. Fraser and Rory are both experienced guys and they paced their innings well while Hugo is a talented player and he played some cracking shots towards the end.

“We always felt that 282 would be enough and thankfully for us we got things finished before the rain came.

“I just want to thank all of the players for the effort they have put in and it is certainly a season that will not be forgotten at Grange Loan in a while.”

Meanwhile, SMRH secured their place in the Premiership for 2017 when they defeated Meigle in a promotion play-off match at Freuchie.

Batting first Meigle never really got going against the Baillie Gifford ESCA Championship winners.

Brad Moses took four wickets and Elliot Ruthven, who has played for Scotland ‘A’ this summer, three as SMRH bowled out their opponents for just 116.

Early on SMRH’s reply did not go well before Moses steadied the ship with 24.

The experienced Greg Bissett then took control, hitting a patient 42 not out off 85 balls batting number five.

He was well supported by Elliot Ruthven with 21 and skipper Greg Ruthven then made 10 not out as they won by three wickets.