SCOTLAND U19 captain Ross McLean played one of the innings of the day as Arbroath launched their Scottish Cup campaign with an emphatic win over Forfarshire at Lochlands on Saturday.
The top-order batsman stroked an accomplished 97 and, while a deserved first century eluded him on this occasion, McLean has been tipped to go on and reach that landmark before long. He shared in a substantial third-wicket stand with overseas amateur Hamish Bartlett, who contributed 77 as the Lochlands side posted a formidable 255-8.
Forfarshire’s reply soon lost its way, especially when Benny McGill accounted for both Matty Parker and Tim Hancock with just 12 runs on the board. Skipper Craig Wallace did offer some resistance, but Shire contrived to lose their last seven wickets for just 35 runs, sliding to a disappointing 110 all out.
There was only delight in the home camp, though, with skipper Marc Petrie enthusing over the exploits of McLean, in particular, and his team in general. “It was great to start the season with such a convincing win. Ross’s innings was brilliant, one of the best I’ve seen in a while. He was very composed and classy and never looked under threat. His partnership with Hamish was what really put us on top.”
Elsewhere, Heriot’s launched the defence of their title with an impressive win over Falkland at Scroggie Park. The Fifers had entertained some hope of creating a shock, but the loss of the toss found their batsmen dealing with the worst of the conditions and a flurry of early wickets put the Goldenacre side in charge.
Falkland at least dug in to reach 120 in the 49th over, but that total was never likely to trouble Heriot’s, who were put on course by 36 from Adam Lockhart-Kraus before Cammy Farrell hit 45no.
Another Edinburgh v Fife encounter went in favour of the capital side as Watsonians saw off a dogged Freuchie at Myreside. Kash Khalil’s half-century ensured Freuchie made a game of it by reaching 161 but ‘Sonians picked up wickets at key times, Craig Wright, Stuart Chalmers and fit-again Dewald Nel all claiming three.
Scotland batsman Ewan Chalmers then showed his class with a composed 93 after the Myreside men had been rocked by the loss of two wickets with the total on just one.
Carlton held a minute’s silence in memory of club stalwart Martin Flynn before opening their Scottish Cup campaign with a performance which would have made their former secretary proud.
Carlton beat city rivals Corstorphine by eight wickets, producing the sort of performance which suggests they will be among the favourites for silverware at the end of the season.
Having put their rivals in to bat, the home bowlers never eased up during a relentless display which saw Saltires skipper Gordon Drummond star with 3-12 before Corstorphine crawled to 127 all out in the last over, with Ruben Hattinghe top-scoring on 34.
Hamish Gardiner, Carlton’s new overseas amateur then took centre stage with a composed innings of 65no. Gardiner is a former Scotland U13 player who emigrated to Australia a decade ago and has since starred in First Grade cricket. The quality of his strokeplay in this innings suggests the Saltires selectors may soon be taking notice.
Meanwhile, Grange were also comfortable winners, returning from Greenock with a six-wicket success. The hosts’ cause was not helped when Saltires batsman Richie Berrington was out for just two, and they could only muster 105 in the face of some tight bowling from Grange.
Berrington gave his side a glimmer of hope with 4-16 to reduce Grange to 55-4, but the visitors suffered no further alarms, thanks largely to Andrew Brock’s unbeaten 35. Imran Adrees produced the bowling display of the day to claim a remarkable six-wicket haul for just seven runs as Drumpellier skittled Weirs for 61.
Callum Leck was another man in the wickets, the Ayr youngster claiming 5-22 as Poloc made just 98 at New Cambusdoon. New Ayr skipper Andi McElnea then scored a half-century to guide his team to an eight-wicket win.
Aberdeenshire were too strong for Stenhousemuir, winning by 116 runs at Mannofield, while, also in the Granite City, Stoneywood-Dyce had a 114-run success at Penicuik’s expense.
Uddingston romped to a 163-run win over Glenrothes after scoring 316-7, Amir Gul hitting 98 and Calum MacLeod 83.