This weekend marks the return of league cricket for the senior men’s teams.
On Saturday the First XI will host league newcomers Meigle at Grange Loan, the match is kindly being sponsored by Paul Bailey. Last season Meigle gained promotion to the Eastern Premier League. After topping the SPCU North East Championship, with only 1 loss during the campaign, they then breezed past Gala in the play-off. This season they have been boosted by additions of Tiaan Britts, who averaged 63.17 for Strathmore in league fixtures last year, as well as Scotland U17 cap Adi Hegde who was once a junior at Carlton before his family moved north. Both Gordon Drummond and Annette Aitken-Drummond were products of the Meigle junior section, going on to play for Scotland and winning silverware with the Arrows.
Also on Saturday the Second XI get their ESCA Championship underway against Edinburgh CC at Campbell Park. The same venue will host the First XI next Sunday for their first round Scottish Cup tie. Last season Edinburgh finished in 3rd place, one place above the 2s, however Edinburgh won both ties against the Arrows last year. In the fixture between the two sides at Campbell park the 2s were inserted and struggled to ever get going. They were bowled out for 89 after 36.1 overs with only Ruari Macpherson, Matthew Wells and Mo Nauman reaching double figures. The hosts chased the total down for the loss of only 1 wicket, with Saif Khan picking up the scalp. Both Charlie Buchanan-Smith and David Saul will be making their debuts for the club this Saturday.
The 3rd team will travel to Meadowmill for their fixture against Tranent and Preston Village in ESCA Division 2. Last year TPV won ESCA Division 3 with a 86.47% point percentage to secure promotion. The last meeting between the two sides was in the 2018 ESCA Division 2 campaign. In that game the 3s bowled TPV out for 127 with Mo Nauman and Ben Thurman taking 3 and 2 wickets respectively. The latter then hit 50* in a successful chase with the 3s running out victors by 8 wickets. Both Thurman and Nauman are in the lineup for this weekend’s fixture.
To conclude action on Saturday the 5th XI will travel to the artificial at Roseburn Park to face Murrayfield DAFS’ 4th team. DAFS finished 6th in ESCA Division 7 last year, 4 places above the 5s. The teams met just the once last year due to the number of teams competing in the division. In last year’s match the Arrows were inserted at Cavalry Park and healthy contributions from both the top and lower order helped the side to a defendable total of 189. Despite DAFS losing their first wicket without the scoreboard being troubled, they managed to edge home in the 37th over with a wicket to spare. Robbie Murray was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 8-4-12-2, as well as Stu Dawson picking up 3 for himself.
On Sunday the Women’s First XI will take on the Scottish Students side at Grange Loan in the morning. It is doubtful either side will be at full strength as lots of players will be involved in the start of the Regional Series at Forfarshire. Carlton have 4 players involved in the form of captain Samantha Haggo, vice-captain Charis Scott and youngsters Maisie Maceira and Zaara Dancu.
In the final fixture of the weekend the 4th XI will get their league season underway at Grange Loan versus Melrose on Sunday afternoon. Melrose are new to the league after being relegated from Division 3 in the 2022 season. The sides met twice in 2019 with both teams winning one a piece. Both games that year were played at Melrose’s home ground however Carlton’s “home” fixture was contested on the last day of the season. In that game the 4s were inserted by Melrose and scrambled to 104 for 8 off their allotted overs, largely thanks to 40 from Shaun Smith. In response Melrose were bowled out for 89 in 21.2 overs with Smith picking up 2 wickets, skipper Bob Irvine taking 3 and Isaac Foley returning remarkable figures of 5-3-5-5. Smith will feature in this weekend’s 4th XI lineup.