Carlton lost their opening CSL Eastern Premier Division match to Aberdeenshire on Saturday and were left to rue dropped catches, but one of their most experienced players believes their youngsters will learn from the experience.
Jamie Kerr, who retired from first XI duties at the end of last season, was due to be playing for the second XI at Glenrothes, but with that match called off and Preston Mommsen not fit to play he was called back into the top team.
The 38-year-old does not expect it to be a regular occurrence and Fraser Boyd, who returned to the club over the winter, was keeping wicket. However, it did give him a chance to see the new-look side for 2014 up close and he believes there are positives to take from the 56-run loss at Grange Loan.
He said: “Since I decided that I would not be playing for the first XI again at the end of last season I have kept my hand in by playing for the MCC, being lucky enough to play against Malaysia and Singapore with them in Kuala Lumpur in February and then against Scotland at Lord’s last week.
“With Preston not being able to play and other experienced squad members like Fraser Watts and Rory McCann unavailable I was happy to help out.
“Chris Venske [who went on to make 137 not out for Aberdeenshire] batted well, but we dropped him on 15 and then a couple of other times and he punished us. It showed some of the young players how quality players can hurt you if you give them a second chance and their score of 264-3 was probably too many, although it was a good batting wicket.
“If we had restricted them to 210 or 220 we may have had a better chance. With the bat in reply young Kyle Macpherson did well at the top of the order and when he was batting with captain Gordon Drummond they looked really good.
“Gordon has started the season really well and in practice and on Saturday he has been hitting the ball really hard. He will have been frustrated to get out when he did at the weekend, but we still have lots to build on from this match.”
Macpherson, who opened the batting with his brother Ruari, made 77 while Drummond made 52, but in the end the home side were bowled out for 208 with ten balls of their 50 overs remaining.
Earlier during Aberdeenshire’s innings wickets were taken by Ali Evans, having returned to the club from Derbyshire, Drummond and Omar Ahmad.
Elsewhere in the top flight on the opening day there was an amazing match at Goldenacre with Uli Jooste becoming an instant hero on his debut for Heriot’s.
Things did not look good when they slipped to 48-8 against Autoecosse Forfarshire. Indeed only 12 from Ryan Brown not out and 11 from James Hearn helped them reach 88 all out.
Heriot’s bowlers knew they had to be on the button from ball one and they were, Sean Weeraratna removing Matthew Parker early for two. It then became the Jooste show, the South African taking five wickets for just 18 runs as the visitors were bowled out for 60.
At Myreside Watsonians lost by 48 runs to Stoneywood-Dyce. The visitors made 200-9 batting first and then, despite 72 on debut from Mike Carson, Watsonians were all out for 152.
Mazars Grange lost by 14 runs at Arbroath, but it was encouraging that Henry Philip took four wickets.
SMRH lost out in a rain-affected match at Falkland, 43 from professional Brad Moses being the highlight.
Meanwhile, three local teams got off to winning starts in the Baillie Gifford ESCA Championship. Holy Cross defeated West Lothian, Murrayfield DAFS defeated Mazars Grange II and RH Corstorphine beat Edinburgh South.
Stuart&Stuart Penicuik lostto Freuchie.
Meanwhile, Umair Farooq scored a crucial unbeaten 53 to help lead Edinburgh to an opening day win in Baillie Gifford East One.
At Cavalry Park Marchmont batted first and could only post 118 all out, Will Collier leading the way with 44. Three Edinburgh bowlers took two wickets apiece.
In reply, Edinburgh lost two early wickets with Phil Rees and Pete Maksimczyk taking scalps for the hosts, but Farooq’s half century and 40 from opener Kashif Hussain saw them home by seven wickets.
Most other local clubs in that division saw their first matches blighted by the weather.
In East Two on Sunday, Murrayfield DAFS II did not get the season off to a flyer as they were bundled out for just 44 against Broomhall. The Fife men then knocked off the runs needed with ease to get home by nine wickets.
In East Three Haddington got their season off to a good start by defeating Carlton III.
Batting first at Neilson Park the Edinburgh side struggled, skipper Alex Fedenczuk battling for 28 to top score as they posted 101 all out. Robin Hiley was the pick of the home bowlers with 4-17.
Haddington managed to win by five wickets, Ash Kumar top scoring with 31.
Nadeem Anjum had a fine day for Marchmont II in East Five, scoring 31 with the bat and taking three wickets as they defeated Murrayfield DAFS III by three wickets.