Dewald NEL and James Easton put together a crucial partnership in dramatic circumstances to ensure that Watsonians recorded their second home win in a row over Capital rivals in the Cricket Scotland Eastern Premier Division on Saturday.
Last weekend at Myreside, the home side had managed to chase down a large total set by them by Heriot’s in the last over with only one wicket remaining – and there were more thrills this weekend.
Against Carlton it was a much lower scoring affair, but nevertheless tense, with former Scotland man Nel finishing on 47 not out and Easton, batting down the order due to injury, seeing their side home by three wickets.
Carlton went into this one looking to bounce back from league defeat to Stoneywood-Dyce, but fresh from a midweek Twenty20 Masterton Trophy win over RH Corstorphine.
They lost young prospect Kyle Macpherson early on his debut and before the 25 over drinks interval overseas amateur Michael Herdman and Scotland skipper Gordon Drummond had fallen, both lbw to Stuart Chalmers and pro Jean Symes respectively.
Captain Fraser Watts was holding things together though on 44 not out and at 85-3 the visitors were still well placed to go on and make over 200 which would have been a good score on a green Myreside wicket.
However, ‘Sonians had other ideas and with spinner Symes bowling at one end and teenage seamer Pete Legget at the other they began to create real pressure.
Ex-Carlton player Fraser Boyd took a good catch in the deep off Symes’ bowling to get rid of Umair Mohammed and when Toby Bailey was out to the South African soon after the innings stood at 114-5.
Macpherson’s brother Ruairi followed moments later to Legget and when Watts was out for 65 the Carlton innings was subsiding on 132-7.
A flurry of boundaries and some trademark sweep shots from Jamie Kerr saw him post 31, but he got little support from the tail and when Scotland under-19 captain Paddy Sadler got him and then ‘Cheeky’ Gosain out the innings was closed on a below par 158 all out.
Carlton knew they would have to get early wickets in Watsonians’ reply to have a chance in this one and the match was evenly poised when the hosts were reduced to 69-4 after 20 overs.
Captain Chalmers, Symes and Craig Wright had all fallen during a fiery opening spell by John Hutton with Herdman accounting for Boyd.
With Easton unsure as to whether he could bat due to a hamstring injury Watsonians were in a spot of bother and when Andy Hislop fell they had struggled to 90-5 at drinks.
Vice-captain Ewan Chalmers was 25 not out at that stage and was key, but a terrible mix-up saw Andy Learmonth run out and then Chalmers himself was bowled by Drummond for 32.
That meant it was 98-7 and Nel and Easton, in some pain and with Hislop running for him, were at the wicket.
Nel used up one of his lives when he was dropped off the bowling of young spinner Gosain and they took things on to 124-7 off 40 overs. They kept going and a boundary from Nel clinched the win in the 47th over off the bowling of Mohammed and he and Easton (18 not out) had saved their side and kept up ‘Sonians good form.
Elsewhere in the division on Saturday there were wins for Grange and Heriot’s.
A fine 85 from Gregor Maiden helped Grange post 245-7 batting first against Forfarshire in Stockbridge.
And the home bowlers were then on form to dismiss the men from Broughty Ferry for 138, seamer Raj Routray picking up five scalps.
At Goldenacre, Heriot’s saw off Aberdeenshire by 65-runs, their 197-5 built on 84 not out by the in-form Cam Farrell. All the bowlers then did well as the visitors were all out for 132.
In the Eastern First Division Brayden Tracey hit yet another century as SMRH thumped Edinburgh Accies by 180-runs to go top.
In a low-scoring match West Lothian defeated RH Corstorphine by 13-runs at Boghall with 146 playing 133.
Penicuik and Fauldhouse lost to Falkland and Freuchie respectively.