Cricket: Fringe men keep Carlton in title hunt

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Carlton’s stand-in skipper Rory McCann believes some of the players who were part of the thumping CSL Eastern Premiership win over Heriot’s on Saturday have thrown up some selection dilemmas.

Although it was former 
Ireland international McCann and Hamish Gardiner who led the way with centuries in the 230-run victory at Grange Loan, the captain could not fault anyone in his XI as they put in a fine display to stay in the title race.

And with big games in the league against Watsonians and Stoneywood-Dyce and the Scottish Cup semi-final with 
Mazars Grange coming up at home in the next fortnight, there are plenty of players now pushing for places.

Much was made of the fact that Carlton were without 
Gordon Drummond, Preston Mommsen, Ali Evans, Fraser Watts and Steve Gilmour on Saturday, but those who were available stepped up to the plate and took their chance to impress.

After Tom Freshwater and Kyle Macpherson were out for 14 and 17 respectively, Scotland cap Gardiner and McCann came together for a 194-run partnership.

Gardiner made 110 and 
McCann 112 not out, his first century for the club, as they posted a mammoth 309-5 against a Heriot’s attack 
missing Sean Weeraratna, Mark Watt and Ryan Brown.

In their reply, Heriot’s lost David Ross with the score on just two and wickets fell at regular intervals – captain Keith Morton top scoring with 22 not out – as they were 79 all out.

Omar Ahmad took four wickets and Freshwater three and McCann said: “I am really pleased with the performance. The boys batted, bowled and fielded superbly.

“I am happy to have scored some runs myself, but this win was all about the team and 
everyone who stepped in did well. Certainly everyone has shown that they won’t be giving up their spot in the team without a fight as we enter a key period.”

Grange are still top after four wickets from captain Andrew Brock and 41 for Ryan Flannigan saw them defeat bottom side RH Corstorphine by five wickets.

Watsonians lost to Aberdeenshire at Mannofield by 75 runs to leave them second bottom, despite 40 from Andy Hislop.

In the Baillie Gifford ESCA Championship, there were wins for Holy Cross and SMRH, but defeats for Mazars Grange II and Murrayfield DAFS.