Carlton will give an Eastern Premier Division debut to 28-year-old Ireland internationalist Rory McCann when they bid to consolidate their newly-acquired place at the head of the table when visiting Barclays Grange tomorrow.
McCann, who is head of junior sport at Merchiston Castle School, takes over from Rob Thornton in the only change from the side which was relieved to scrap past basement side SMRH with the aid of a wide bowled to their tail-end partnership last weekend!
Belfast-born McCann says: “School duties have meant only being able to play a couple of Scottish Cup matches and a T20 but I am staying in Edinburgh for the summer and look forward to playing a first match in white kit this weekend.
“Realistically my Ireland ambitions are over as you have to be available to train three or four times a week in what amounts to a county-type set-up. But I’ve had highlights including the T20 World Cup qualifiers and playing alongside the likes of Paul Stirling and Boyd Rankin who is becoming involved with England.”
McCann also crossed swords with Scotland in 2010 and connections with several of that Scotland team helped steer him towards Carlton.
That latest premiership victory saw Carlton leapfrog Arbroath while Barclays Grange were plunging to defeat at Aberdeenshire.
The following day Grange found redemption against those same opponents to reach the cup quarter-finals but club spokesman Bob Frazer said: “We’re going with the same team but if we play like we did on Saturday we have no chance – if we play as we did on Sunday we have every chance. Pressure cricket for sure!”
Heriot’s enjoyed a double success last weekend by beating Stoneywood/Dyce in the Premiership and East Kilbride in the second-tier Cricket Scotland Trophy.
After dropping out of the main knock-out event after suffering two late sectional defeats and going down heavily to Grange in the Masterton Trophy final skipper Steve Knox is delighted that “the ship has been steadied”. The win over Stoneywood Dyce was particularly vital as it gave us a bit of breathing space ahead of them, SMRH and Watsonians who are only going to get better.”
Indeed, Watsonians set a cat among the pigeons by overpowering Arbroath last weekend.
Heriot’s make two changes with Richard Cummine and Alex Anderson, a right-arm seamer, replacing Ben Wilkinson and Andre van Niekerk.
Key figure for Heriot’s could be Mark Watt, top wicket taker in the league who has been starring for Scotland under-17s this week while preparing to turn out for the under-19s next week.
Watsonians should be well focused for their Myreside clash with SMRH after hosting one-time pro and subsequent Australian captain Kim Hughes on a visit back to the Capital.
However, SMRH gave Carlton a fright and in marking his return from Heriot’s, ex-Scotland seamer Craig MacKellar took 5-37 which is the best bowling return in this Premiership.