Teenage batsman Ruari Macpherson dug Carlton out of a hole and put them on course for a 34-run Eastern Premiership cricket victory over Stoneywood Dyce at Grange Loan.
Coming in at 89-7, the 17-year-old struck a career best 1st XI score of 43 not out which helped ease Carlton to a respectable, if attainable, total of 178.
Earlier, Carlton had lost both openers inside eight deliveries and stood 9-3 before Ally Evans contributed to the revival along with skipper Gordon Drummond. Both made 41 in contrasting fashion, with the latter’s coming off just 31 balls.
Praising Ruari, younger of two brothers in the side, Drummond said: “We didn’t really apply ourselves with the bat early doors, me included.
“Fortunately, Ruari showed he has a mature head on his shoulders to gets out us out of a difficult situation and post 178 on a wicket I thought had a 240 run par after winning the toss.
“I’d always bat first at Grange Loan when winning the toss, but we were 60 runs short through missing a couple of experienced batters [Fraser Watts and Preston Mommsen are expected back next week against Grange].
“To get the total up owed a lot to a pretty sound knock from a 17-year-old. I’m going to have a selection headache for next week’s visit to Grange.”
Drummond was less complimentary about a league rule which prevented Hamish Gardiner, one of the star’s of last year’s team and a fellow internationalist, turning out when back for a Scotland trial match 24 hours later. All-rounder Drummond – he and Tom Freshwater both took four wickets – could not suppress frustration that Gardiner had been prevented from turning out due to red tape.
“I’m a bit disappointed that the league would not allow Hamish to play after he left us this season to join a club down south but returned for a Sunday pro-series fixture. One game down south was enough to prevent Hamish turning out and how can you prevent a guy who is trying to play for Scotland having a game beforehand?”
The situation reflects disquiet in the Scottish game about variations in league rules and there were also rumblings around the boundary about international seamer Ally Evans being banned by Cricket Scotland from bowling against Stoneywood Dyce. Drummond, however, was not amongst the objectors. “I understand the decision. Ally wasn’t allowed to bowl because of his workload management. We understand that.”
Listed at No.11 against England ten days ago it was quite a turnaround for Evans to go in at No.3. He looked the part in a highly solid knock.
The Carlton innings closed on a brilliant run out of Chayank Gosein by Michael Leask’s direct hit from the deep.
Leask had been expected to be the key man, but the big hitting all-rounder was, crucially, out for 11 after facing just 13 balls. There was only one stubborn partnership between Henk Conradie, who made 52, and Shaun Coetzer to hold up Carlton, but that was eventually broken and when Gosein held a skier from Jamie King, a well-balanced contest ended.
Elsewhere in the Capital, SMRH’s tussle with Forfarshire ended in mid-afternoon after the Inverleith side were bowled out for 69. It took the visitors only half a dozen overs to knock off the winning total.
Watsonians skipper Ewan Chalmers took five wickets and Gus Fraser Harris marked his return with 64 in defeat at Aberdeenshire where their former bowler, Tony McKenna, had three wickets.
Heriot’s lost by 122 runs at champions Arbroath.
Mazars Grange are joint leaders behind leaders Falkland and Arbroath after a four-wicket win at Falkland. Gregor Maiden claimed four wickets and Arun Pillai top scored with 30.