Delighted Carlton cricket skipper Fraser Watts acknowledged his team’s ability to “win ugly” after Aberdeenshire became their first scalp of the season in the East Premier Division.
It was third-time lucky for Carlton and, not only did they overcome the Dons in a low-scoring encounter at Grange Loan, but also the weather.
Within 20 minutes of ’Shire’s Tony McKenna being last man dismissed in a total of 64 chasing 138, a steady drizzle set in which might have put paid to a finish outwith the Duckworth/Lewis calculation.
Proceedings concluded just before 6pm and, referring to the dearth of runs partly brought about by Omar Ahmad’s 5-13 off 8.2 overs in an four-pronged seam attack reflecting conditions in which the ball swung around, Watts said: “I thought we batted quite well although we only got 138.
“We dug in quite well on a track that helped the bowlers up front. In the second half, it flattened out a little bit but we stuck to the task and bowled very well. It was not a nice looking win, a case of winning ugly, in fact.
“But it was good to get over the line in a fighting win because in the last couple of weeks we have lost two tight games.
“It could have gone wrong but we came through.”
Initially, it appeared ’Shire skipper Tyler Buchan had won an important toss to insert Carlton, who had Steve Gilmour (0), Preston Mommsen (3) and Gordon Drummond (6) back in the pavilion with 26 on the board.
“The wicket was a bit green and hard so it suited the bowlers down to the ground,” said Watts, adding: “We got through the initial burst of Tyler Buchan and Chris West and, if we had got a few guys to stay in, could have got 180 or 190 but we lost three quick wickets.”
At the other end, Watts held Carlton together until reaching 28 when he was dissatisfied at being given out caught behind down the leg side. To his credit, he addressed the situation afterwards, remarking: “These things happen. I didn’t think I was out but have got to respect the umpire’s decision – which I didn’t – which was a bit stupid. I’ll learn from that.”
Customary good humour was restored by Umair Mohammad’s knock of 35 and later largely by Ahmad, who, along with John Hutton (2-24), stood on a ‘hat-trick’ towards the end of the innings.
Gordon Drummond (1-8 off six overs) was especially economical but the day belonged to Ahmad of whom the skipper said: “Omar did what he does best which is swing the ball away late. He gets guys driving and then they miss it.
“We have lost two games but I’m sure a lot of teams will beat each other in this league. So we are not out of it.”
Whereas Carlton had painstakingly compiled their target in 47 overs, the reply was all over in 29.2 with only opener Graham Tomlinson (22) and Kenny Reid (23) making double figures with the rot setting in when Michael Herdman had Ed Savile caught behind by Jamie Kerr to leave the visitors on 37-2 in the 15th.
Elsewhere, it was a sad weekend for Barclays Wealth Grange whose club steward, Margaret McCullim, passed away.
On the pitch, Neil McCallum’s men overcame a stern test at Arbroath where they defeated the Lichties by seven wickets.
Stu Davidson had 3-28 and there were two wickets apiece for Andrew Brock, Gregor Maiden and McCallum as the hosts were all out for 177 with a ball remaining of their innings.
Spearheading a charge that keeps Grange in joint top and completed with eight spare overs, were Maiden (41), McCallum (32), Simon Smith (35) and Stuart Moffat (31).
Joining Grange in setting the pace on 100 per cent are Watsonians, who won by 120 runs at Stoneywood-Dyce, where skipper Stuart Chalmers scored 88 supported by namesake Ewan Chalmers (64) and Craig Wright (40).
Chalmers then claimed three wickets as did Mike Legget with home resistance ending on 94.
Completing a Capital clean sweep were Heriot’s whose second successive win, over Forfarshire at Forthill, owed much to half centuries from Qasim Ashraf and David Ross.
A visiting total of 228-8 seemed under threat when Forfarshire reached 75 without loss but Heriot’s held their nerve and sit a respectable fourth in the eight-team table ahead of an eagerly-awaited Goldenacre derby with Grange while Carlton and Watsonians visit, respectively, Forfarshire and Arbroath.