Carlton’s Arun Pillai believes the side has refocused quickly after last week’s agonising Citylets Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Arbroath with a big league match against Forfarshire coming up tomorrow.
The Grange Loan men looked like they were heading for the cup final last Sunday when they needed 17 runs off the last three overs against the Lochlands outfit.
However, the key wickets of Mario Olivier and Ali Evans fell and the tail could not see the job through as they lost by nine runs.
Earlier in the innings Pillai, who is in his first season at Carlton after four years at Mazars Grange, scored 46 runs.
He said: “Losing on Sunday was tough to take and the dressing room was a very quiet place afterwards.
“We looked like we were heading into the final, but cricket matches can change very quickly and credit to Arbroath for keeping the pressure on and going through.
“As a group it hurt us because we really wanted to be in next month’s final. It was not to be though and we are still in a good position sitting in second place in the CSL Eastern Premiership. We have some big games coming up, starting with Forfarshire, and we must stay focused and give ourselves the best chance of finishing top.”
Pillai, 31, was brought up in India, but the software developer has been working in Scotland since late 2011. He won the top flight with Grange last summer and is hoping to do the same with Steve Gilmour’s men.
“I enjoyed my time at Grange and the guys there were good to me, but I was keen to play more regular first XI cricket and I have managed to do that at Carlton,” the man who opens the batting and occasionally bowls spin explained.
“There is a good mixture between older and younger players at Carlton and I have had a great time being part of this team in recent months. With six matches left there is still a lot to play for with probably four club’s in the mix to finish top so it is going to be an exciting time.”
Carlton’s league match at Glenrothes was postponed last week and third placed Forfarshire will test them and it should be a cracking contest at Grange Loan.
The home bowlers are well aware they will need to stop batsmen Craig Wallace, who scored 176 not out last week, and Graeme Beghin if they are to come out on top come tomorrow evening.
Meanwhile, leaders Watsonians have strengthened their batting line-up as they head to Falkland. Captain Ewan Chalmers has brought Andrew Fraser-Harris into the side in place of youngster Olly Brown.
Grange are in fourth place and look set to be boosted by the return of ex-Scotland man John Blain for the trip to Aberdeenshire.
Seam bowler Blain, who coaches the side, has not featured in the league this summer yet due to work commitments.
However, he is back in the mix for the trip to Mannofield.
Heriot’s are also on the road, captain Keith Morton coming back into the XI in place of Sean Weeraratna to take on Stoneywood-Dyce.
Baillie Gifford ESCA Championship leaders SMRH will have to do without Australian Tom Beaton for the rest of the campaign.
He has returned home to prepare for the season over there, but captain Greg Ruthven has backed others to step up.
Ahead of the match with Carlton II, he said: “We are having a good season, it has been a team effort and I expect that to continue as we have some tough matches coming up.”