Carlton last night continued the recent dominance of east over west by cruising to a 114-run victory over Clydesdale in the Cricket Scotland Grand Final at Grange Loan.
Following in the footsteps of Watsonians, Arbroath, Aberdeenshire and Grange since the inception of the showpiece finale, the Eastern Premier champions again proved too strong for their Western counterparts in a one-sided encounter in the capital.
Carlton used home conditions to their advantage and dominated from the moment they won the toss and elected to bat, the 282-5 they posted proving more than enough as the home bowlers were just as effective as their batting colleagues. Indeed the contest was virtually decided in the first 11 overs of Clydesdale’s reply during which the Glasgow side lost their top four batsmen.
It was Scotland star Ali Evans and his pace bowling colleague Omar Ahmad who did the damage with two wickets apiece, the former making the breakthrough when he induced a false stroke from Mo Awais and Fraser Watts took the catch at third man.
Fellow opener Carl Huyser lasted little longer before edging the same bowler to the wicket-keeper.
Worse followed when Omar struck with consecutive deliveries. He first found the edge of Richie Berrington’s bat and Gordon Drummond pouched a good catch at slip. Then there was an action replay when Con de Lange departed.
At 29-4, the Titwood side were in tatters and even the dark clouds gathering above failed to come to their aid, the game becoming an official contest when 20 overs of the reply had elapsed.
It was a case of damage limitation, a partnership of 48 in 20 overs between Majid Haq and youngster Angus Guy pushing the required rate up to nine-an-over. Haq’s demise, lbw to Omar for 25, brought Zeeshan Bashir to the middle and his breezy 36 pushed the rate along but Dale were still hopelessly behind. Arun Pillai joined the attack to mop up the tail with four quick wickets but not before 14-year-old Guy had scored his maiden first- team half-century.
While Guy was the Glasgow side’s lone batting success, earlier Carlton had three half-centurions in an innings full of purpose and meaningful partnerships.
Pillai and Watts set them on their way with a stand of 61 before Berrington joined the attack to remove the former. However, a century partnership between Watts and Rory McCann put the capital men firmly in charge.
Former Scotland batsman Watts was Carlton’s most prolific batsman during their successful league campaign and he showed all his class in crafting a fine 73 before falling to de Lange. McCann became the second home batsman to reach 50 before being stumped by Andrew Scobie off Bashir for 65.
However, the final flourish was provided by Hugo Southwell, the former Scotland rugby star who upstaged both his colleagues with a blistering knock. He reached 85 from only 54 balls, clearing the ropes on several occasions, before becoming one of Bashir’s three victims in the final over of the innings as Clydesdale belatedly managed to apply the brakes.
The damage, though, had been done.