The final week of competitive matches got underway with the U15s competing in the ECB Vitality T20 National Cup final at Lords against Banstead CC from Surrey. Skipper Ferg Foley won the toss and chose bat first in the scenic surroundings of the Home of Cricket. Shreyas Tekale & Lewis King opened up for the young Arrows and made a positive start before King was caught in the 3rd over with 19 on the board. The skipper fell shortly after but Oli Stones joined Tekale and stabilised things before the opener holed out for 19 in the 6th over. James Stronach came to the middle and he knocked the ball around well before he too was out trying to up the pace to leave Carlton 43 for 4 in the 8th over. Robbie Murray and Stones then put together a useful 29 run partnership before Murray was yorked in the 13th over. Hamish Turner then came to the crease and he and Stones added 21 runs in 4 overs before Stones fell for 28, caught at long on to make it 93 for 6. Hector Murray was bowled at the start of the final over and Turner (20*) and Aadi Khadse got the young Arrows to a score of 107 for 7 from their 20 overs. That score looked a little short of par so the Grange Loan youngsters knew they would need to bowl & field well to be in with a chance of lifting the cup.
Hamish Foley opened the bowling from the Pavilion End and bowled a tight first over. The skipper came on from the Nursery End and struck with his first ball as Stronach took a sharp catch behind. Runs off the bat were hard to come by but a few too many extras were keeping the Surrey boys in the game. Hamish Foley then removed the Banstead skipper at the start of the 5th over to reduce them to 11 for 2. Robbie Murray replaced the skipper and Hector Murray came on for the younger Foley as the Surrey side dug in. Hector Murray broke the deadlock with the final ball of the 9th over to leave Banstead 32 for 3 and the required rate climbing. Josh Cully replaced Robbie Murray from the Nursery End and Tekale came on from the Pavilion End. Banstead needed to up the rate and were able to hit a few big shots to keep the run rate in check. After 16 overs they were 80 for 3, needing another 28 runs off 24 balls and the game was really in the balance. Robbie Murray came back, this time from the Pavilion End and went for 6 off the 17th. The skipper came back and conceded only 4 off the next leaving the Surrey side needing 18 off 2 overs. Murray was bowling full & straight and conceding only singles and the pressure told as Stronach effected a sharp run out of the 4th ball of the penultimate over. More singles left the skipper defending 13 off the last. 4 consecutive singles piled the pressure on Banstead and the dangerous No 5 holed out to Turner. With 9 needed off the last the skipper whistled one past the batter’s outside edge and the young Arrows came out on top to win by 8 runs.
That result made history as the Carlton U15s are the first side from Scotland to win a National Age Group Cup, and what a place to do it! It was a true all round team performance, with all 11 players making important contributions to the win, all loudly cheered on by the traveling Arrows Army.
Also on Saturday the Women’s 2nd XI travelled to East Kilbride to take part in a triangular tournament with the hosts and Galloway. Although the Women’s 2 came up short in both matches there were encouraging performances with the bat from skipper Sarah Beith, Elsie Fraser, Libby Wallace and Holly Sladen.
On Sunday the 1st XI travelled to Stirling to take on Forfarshire in the National T20 Final. Captain Umair Mohammed won the toss and chose to bat first. Tom Simpson and Arun Pillai opened up for the Arrows but a mix up at the start of the 2nd over saw Simpson run out with only 8 on the board. Daniel Da Costa joined Pillai and the pair put on 31 before Da Costa fell for 21. Pillai was next to go for 16 with 56 on the board as Hugo Southwell & Ali Shah looked to consolidate things for Carlton. Shah was next to go, bowled off the last ball of the 12th over with the score on 72. Southwell then fell for 31 in the 16th over to make it 96 for 5. Wickets continued to fall and despite a quick fire 13 from 7 balls from Lewis O’Donnell the Arrows posted a below par looking 129 for 8 from their 20 overs. Forfs got off to a blistering start, adding 56 runs for the first wicket before Ally Evans made the breakthrough in the 6th over. The introduction of Pillai to the attack in the 8th over had immediate impact to make it 70 for 2 and then Angus Beattie got the dangerous opener in the 11th over with 95 on the board. Mohammed came on and struck in his 2nd over to make it 106 for 4 and that soon became 107 for 5 as he took his second of the over to give the Grange Loan side a sniff of an unlikely victory. Pillai then claimed a second and Mohammed got a third to reduce Forfs to 119 for 7, leaving them needing 11 runs from 17 balls. In the end there was to be no fairy-tale recovery for Carlton as Forfarshire hit the winning runs in the 19th over to lift the cup by a winning margin of 3 wickets.