The second match of pre-season was played against Watsonians in conditions that would not even be expected in the height of summer in Scotland, with temperatures reaching the early twenties, let alone middle of April.
Cheeky and Kyle strolled to the middle to start the innings in beautiful conditions, on a wicket that looked pretty good. The innings started slowly with the Watsonians opening bowlers hitting nice areas and getting the ball to move a little in the air and off the deck. Cheeky was the first wicket to fall being cleaned up by an inswinger to fall without scoring. Strolling to the crease at number 3 was the young Australian Charlie Maxwell, who stuck around for a fair while before he fell for 2 to a shorter delivery that he hit to cover. Coming in at number 4 was the skipper for the day Arun. The next wicket to fall was that of Kyle Macpherson who had stuck around for a while and crunched a couple of cut shots to the boundary.
The loss of Kyle brought the inform man from last weekend to the crease Ali Shah. He again produced a very well-constructed innings for the arrows filled with numerous boundaries. Shortly after Ali came to the crease Carlton lost the wicket of Arun who was caught behind off the bowling of Martin. This brought new Carlton boy Will Hardie, he got off the mark with a cover drive for four and his first Carlton boundary. Hardie and Ali knuckled down and looked to build a partnership to take the arrows to a respectable total. They both continued to rotate the strike pretty well and keep the scoreboard ticking. It was when Watsonains brought on their legspinner and captain Mike Carson that the tempo of the Carlton innings started to increase. Ali Shah really took a liking to his bowling, hitting a couple of boundaries and one massive six off a ‘full bunger’. Ali fell shortly after reaching fifty, and this brought Parker to the crease who quickly got into his work and looked to be in good nick timing the ball very nicely from the off. Hardie and Parker built a nice partnership at a decent lick with the former reaching his maiden fifty for the club in his second outing. Parker and Hardie fell in quick succession with the former crunching a full ball flat to long-on, to end a lovely cameo. With some handy runs form the lower order, Carlton managed to finish on a very respectable 206 after their 45 overs.
It was Evo and Shiv to open up for Carlton and they started excellently with the ball, Evo hitting great areas and extracting some bounce, whereas at the other end skiddy Shiv was getting the ball to tail away from the right handers and into the left. Shiv claimed the first wicket cleaning up Evo’s younger brother without scoring. With no loose balls being bowled in the first powerplay the Watsonians batsmen were really struggling to get the ball away. Evo claimed the second wicket trapping number three batsmen Cockburn in front. Carlton continued to bowl well with Calum Everett coming on and hitting lovely areas, causing some serious problems for Scotland A batsmen Carson.
Carlton’s inning finished on 206 with the top scorers being Ali Shah and Hardie both scoring half-centuries. After some tight spells from the Carlton seamers, it was spinners from both ends with Harry Simpson coming down the hill and Cheeky coming up the hill. Although Carson hit Harry for a couple of boundaries early on in his spell he stuck it out and ended up picking up three wickets. Cheeky did not manage to pick up a wicket but bowled a pretty good spell. Arun replaced Cheeky and picked up the big wicket of Carson trying to launch him into the gardens, but only managing to pick out Charlie who took an absolute ‘specky’ on the boundary. Once Carson was back in the hutch, Watsonians never really had a shout and finished well short of their target.
It was a great run out in the Scottish sunshine at Grange Loan and good prep for the league season that starts this coming Saturday.