Carlton hailed as they claim Eastern Premiership crown

Carlton's players toast their title success
Carlton's players toast their title success
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Carlton president Andy Macpherson and captain Steve Gilmour have paid tribute to the players who helped the Grange Loan club clinch the CSL Eastern Premiership title at the weekend.

The Edinburgh side travelled to Mannofield to play Aberdeenshire, but heavy overnight rain meant that the ground was struggling to be ready.

After numerous inspections at around 2pm the umpires decided that no play was going to be possible and – as a result – that meant that Carlton had clinched top spot.

It is the first time since they won the Scottish National Cricket League in 2011 that Carlton have topped their division and they celebrated in style as a result.

Macpherson, whose sons Kyle and Ruairi are amongst the 18 players who have played for the first XI to date this summer, said: “I am so proud of this group of players.

“When we lost key players like Preston Mommsen, Hamish Gardiner and Tom Freshwater over the winter people thought that would hit us hard, but Steve Gilmour and the guys had great belief and some of the cricket they have played in recent months has been superb.

“What has been good is that everyone has chipped in at various times. The experienced guys who have been there and done that in the past are crucial for us, but teenagers like Tom Simpson, Calum Everett and Cameron Shoebridge have stepped up to the mark when required and that has been great.

“We have a junior section that is growing all the time at the club and to be able to see these young guys contribute to a title win in a very competitive league will spur the kids coming through and show them that if they work hard then in a few years it could be them.

“I must also pay credit to Steve, who has captained the side very well and made some key decisions which have turned matches.”

Gilmour and the team arrived back at their home ground around 6pm on Saturday with club members there to congratulate them and celebrate.

Before the party began, the skipper said: “I think the key to our success this year has been the fact that we never got ahead of ourselves or got carried away.

“In previous year we have known we have had a good squad, but have faltered at key points. This time we have just taken it game by game and concentrated on playing good cricket.

“After we lost the [Citylets Scottish Cup] semi-final to Arbroath a few weeks ago the heads could have gone down, but the guys bounced back and that tells you all you need to know about the spirit in the team.”

Carlton still have one league match to play against already relegated Stoneywood/Dyce at home this coming weekend.

It is likely they will be formally presented with the trophy then, while on September 3 they will take on West champions Clydesdale at Grange Loan in the Grand Final.

Elsewhere on Saturday, most top flight matches started, but were not completed due to rain.

That included the encounters involving Maazars Grange and Heriot’s while Watsonians are set to finish second after a win at Arbroath.

Batting first at Lochlands, 76 from Mike Carson and 71 from Andrew Chalmers helped the visitors post 247-8.

Rain then played its part, but with Arbroath on 90-5 after 25.1 overs at the conclusion Watsonians won by 55 runs via the Duckworth/Lewis method.

The weather decimated the Baillie Gifford ESCA Championship round 17 fixtures and it means that this coming Saturday SMRH and RH Corstorphine will meet in a title decider at Inverleith.