Cricket: Grange coming to the boil nicely

George Munsey took 4-20. Pic: Neil Hanna
George Munsey took 4-20. Pic: Neil Hanna
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George Munsey led the way as clinical Mazars Grange went joint-top of the Eastern cricket Premiership with a seven-wicket demolition of Carlton at Raeburn Place.

Put into bat on a drying wicket, Carlton were undone by the accuracy of Grange attack, as all five home bowlers claimed at least one wicket.

At the heart of the demolition was 21-year-old Munsey, whose 4-20 haul off 10.5 overs included Scotland captains Preston Mommsen and Gordon Drummond.

There were some mild murmurings in the visiting camp that the light had initially been murky, but as conditions improved, the last six Carlton wickets fell for just 13 runs.

Indeed, only Drummond (24) offered serious resistance.

Despite dismissing their Capital neighbours for a mere 77, Grange skipper Neil McCallum admitted some apprehension at the change of innings.

“Chasing low totals can bring a pressure of its own, so it was good to get over the line,” said McCallum, who had particular praise for Anul Pillai, top scorer for the second successive week with an unbeaten 28 when opening.

“Anul just drops anchor and allows the rest of the guys to play their shots. He played well and was very effective.”

Most effective was Ryan Flannigan with a brisk 22 off 19 balls, including a six and two boundaries, while opener Munsey did not intend hanging about but was soon caught behind off Tom Freshwater.

With the cloud hanging low after a damp morning, it appeared a good toss to win.

McCallum said: “The ball did jag around a little bit, but we managed to bowl pretty tidily.“

In fact, Grange conceded a paltry eight extras throughout, while not only did young Tom Sole claim a scalp from his only over, it proved to be a wicket maiden.

“Overall we managed to put them under a bit of pressure on what was actually a pretty good deck. That showed the lines that we bowled were good as was the discipline in bowling them out for a total as low 77 in 35 overs.”

Worryingly for Carlton, this derby coincided with the return of international batsmen Fraser Watts and Preston Mommsen, both of whom had been missing in recent weeks.

By comparison, Grange were without under-19 cap Chris Sole, while Zander Muir and Henry Edwards are still at university down south.

“We’re only going to get stronger” said McCallum. “It’s coming together well because alongside older heads such as myself, Gregor Maiden and Simon Smith are a group of younger players.”

Elsewhere the return of Greig Bissett and Kyle McCallum, who top scored with 28 and 37 respectively, helped SMRH put behind them the horror showing a week previously when Forfarshire needed just six overs to overhaul a meagre total.

But defending 176 at Aberdeenshire was always a big ask and another century for South African Chris Venske – his second of the season - did for the Capital side with 16 overs remaining.

SMRH became the only team still to post a win when, at the fourth time of asking, Watsonians got their campaign up and running with skipper Euan Chalmers making 95 and taking four wickets as Falkland were put to the sword at Myreside.

However, the win was achieved at a cost with all-rounder Stuart Chalmers later tweeting: “Thanks to everyone who wished me well; broken cheekbone was the outcome.”

SMRH and Watsonians now face a crucial meeting at Inverleith on Saturday.

Having overcome Aberdeenshire earlier this month, Heriot’s travelled to Stoneywood Dyce but failed to complete a “Dons double”.

James Hearn was out for four as Heriot’s fell six runs short of the hosts’ 131.