Teenage batsman/keeper Matt Angelini and experienced seam bowler Raj Routray were today emerging as potentially key performers as Mazars Grange geared up to try and complete a hat-trick of wins against city rivals Carlton in the East Cricket Premiership at Raeburn Place tomorrow.
While the hosts have recovered from an opening day defeat to sweep all before them culminating in victory at leaders Falkland, the visitors have stumbled twice in the league and had to rely on 17-year-old Ruari Macpherson digging them out of a hole to defeat Stoneywood Dyce last weekend.
The momentum is with Grange – and not just because of those latest results, says vice-captain, Andrew Brock.
“This is always our toughest and most eagerly awaited fixture but we have beaten Carlton on the last two occasions,” said Brock, adding: “In the only 2013 league fixture between the clubs due to rain we posted 220 and Carlton opened with a half century stand.
“Raj Routray stepped in with four wickets to render them 60-4 and put Carlton behind the clock when the Duckworth/Lewis method resolved a rain affected match.
“Later, we overcame them in the Scottish Cup Final.”
Compared to last week’s line-up Grange welcome back Simon Smith while Tom Sole, captain of the Merchiston Castle School XI, takes over from his unavailable older brother, Chris. Smith is the Scotland fitness and conditioning coach who has played 12 first class internationals and will keep wicket.
But such was Angelini’s performance with the bat – he made an unbeaten 18 on debut to get Grange over the line at Falkland – he retains his place.
“Matt is in his final year at Stewart’s Melville College but has played all his youth cricket with Grange,” said Brock. “He can only learn from playing alongside someone like Simon and is a real prospect.
“Carlton have a few youngsters themselves, though, and the likely return of Preston Mommsen and Fraser Watts will make them particularly dangerous.”
SMRH face a daunting trip to Aberdeenshire on the back of being skittled for 69 at home to Forfarshire who then knocked off the runs in six overs for a ten-wicket win. However, the return of South African Kyle McCallum and vice captain Greg Bissett will add more backbone to the side.
Watsonians succumbed to Aberdeenshire last week despite five wickets from captain Ewan Chalmers but the following day in the Scottish Cup they won at Dundee High minus Chalmers, Dewald Nel and James Easton,
All return at home to Falkland tomorrow but Gus Fraser-Harris is absent and replaced by 16-year-old league debutant, Andrew Cockburn.
“Safyaan Sharif (12 league wickets so far and an early century) is the big danger for us,” admits skipper Chalmers.
Heriot’s take the road north to face Stoneywood Dyce.
Championship ties include Holy Cross, fresh from chasing down Livingston’s 99 run total with three balls to spare in a midweek Masterton Trophy tie, at home to Murrayfield/DAFS while RH Corstorphine, with Cam Leader out on his own as top league run maker so far, visit West Lothian.