Watsonians cricket skipper Ewan Chalmers has admitted that when his team get the upper hand they just don’t know when to stop, a 148-run Eastern Premier victory over Heriot’s at Goldenacre being the latest example.
This was the perfect boost for ’Sonians ahead of three games in four days starting with Thursday’s Murgitroyd Masterton semi-final at Grange followed by a visit to Stoneywood Dyce and a Scottish Cup quarter- final at home to Clydesdale.
“These days, when we get a victory it is often by a good margin,” said Chalmers whose team, in cup and league, have rolled over SMRH by nine wickets and walloped Dundee High by 132 runs, amongst other runaways, including by 57 and 49 runs.
Chalmers added: “It’s a very tight league, though. Aberdeenshire have lost three games and we have lost just one more but they lie second (behind Arbroath), whereas we are still back in sixth.” If this latest win was comprehensive, spare a thought for Chalmers’ counterpart, Cam Farrell.
Run out by a throw from the boundary a week earlier, it was Farrell’s misfortunate this time to see a shot deflected on to his stumps by the hand of bowler Dewald Nel at the non-striker’s end.
With him went any already forlorn chance of home success and a sporting Chalmers admitted: “It was a bit fortunate from our point of view, but we’ll take it.”
Actually, the damage was done much earlier with Watsonians posting a total of 265-5, which was the second highest in the Eastern Premiership this season at that stage.
“Put up a score like that and you don’t tend to lose too many. It was a good toss to win and essentially we batted them out of the game,” said Chalmers, whose own contribution was a notable 81. “What helped me was an opening stand of 69 by openers Andy Learmonth and Mike Carson. That was an ideal platform.”
In fact, Heriot’s had come within 13 runs of chasing down the highest total of the season – 266 by Carlton – so nothing could be taken for granted but Dewald Nel removed Uli Jooste in the first over and Watsonians were on their way.
Just to be sure, spinner Tom Cullen, opening at the other end, had Kevin McLaren and Max Papworth stumped by Andy Hislop and Heriot’s were 8-3 with recent run-makers Steve Knox and Dave Ross unavailable and missing from the line-up.
Teenage prospect Mark Watt, warming up for a Scotland A appearance at Yorkshire 2nds this week, top scored with 24 to add to his brace of wickets, but Watsonians were never going to be denied.
At Carlton, the talk was all about who to award any hypothetical man-of-the match honours after Scotland cap Hamish Gardiner marked his return from a spell down south with a blistering 118 which included a six that cleared the wall and landed on the car of a visiting Forfarshire official.
Not to be outdone, seamer Omar Ahmed, bowling down the slope, returned figures of 7-20 in a massive 159-run victory.
It was the first “7-for” in the league by any bowler this season and Carlton’s total of 272-9 was also unprecedented.
Ahmed said: “I’ve had figures of 7-30 and 6-18 in previous seasons but this was a bit special.
“We had a bad run at the start of this season and Forfarshire were lying second, a good team.
“The pitch was a bit green with some zip in it and that just seemed to suit me.”
Compounding Forfarshire’s woes was the fact that Gardiner was so convinced he was about to be caught in the deep in the 30s that he began to make his way to the pavilion. When the catch was spilled, he then had to hurriedly regain the crease to avoid being run out!
Having waited all season for a league win, SMRH have strung back-to-back victories in overcoming Mazars Grange at Inverleith by five wickets.
The match was a late starter due to school sports on the ground but it was worth the wait so far as SMRH were concerned.
A 46-run stand between Simon Smith (26) and Neil McCallum (63) helped Grange post 183 in batting 46.1 overs.
However, South African pro Brad Moses produced with 4-39 then top scored with an unbeaten 63 as SMRH got home with 14 balls to spare.
Other notable contributions included an opening stand of 33 between Greig Bisset (45) and Cedric English (20).