WATSONIANS were last night crowned inaugural champions of the Cricket Scotland Eastern Premier Division without bowling a ball.
The Edinburgh team’s fate was left in the hands of others when their clash with Aberdeenshire was abandoned after Myreside was ruled unplayable.
It meant ’Sonians would be denied their first-ever top-flight title if second-placed Grange managed to beat outgoing SNCL champions Carlton at Grange Loan.
However, Grange were unable to seize their chance, going down by five wickets to spark celebrations across the capital.
Those celebrations were of the non-alcoholic variety for the Watsonians players, who could today complete a remarkable double by winning the Scottish Cup – also for the first time in their history – by beating capital rivals Heriot’s at Titwood.
Skipper Stuart Chalmers said yesterday: “It’s been a nervy last month to the season and that went right down to this afternoon. When our game was off all we could do was wait to hear what was happening at Carlton. Luckily it has gone our way and, although we didn’t play today, I think we have earned the title. We won some really close games early in the season and we’re delighted. But there will be no huge celebrations [yet] because we know we are now going for a league and cup double [today].”
While Watsonians celebrated, Grange were left to rue a missed opportunity after they could muster just 167-8 against Carlton.
Ryan Flannigan, a former Watsonians player, led the way with a battling half-century. However, his 69 came from a painstaking 115 balls and included just one boundary as a slow wicket and outfield took its toll.
It was a measure of how hard the Saltires man had to work that none of his team-mates reached 30 runs.
Omar Ahmad was Carlton’s most successful bowler, dismissing Gregor Maiden with his first delivery and going on to claim a further wicket while conceding just 14 runs from his nine overs.
Grange, though, fought back well in the field and were firmly in contention when Andrew Brock took two wickets in as many balls to reduce the hosts to 84-4 in the 25th over.
However, Preston Mommsen showed his class with a fine unbeaten half-century while former Northants player Toby Bailey contributed 34 to a fifth wicket stand of 68 to put Carlton in control. The home side eventually reached their target with more than three overs to spare, Mommsen hitting the winning run to bring up his 50.
Elsewhere in the east, Saltires prospect Michael Leask scored an astonishing 168 as Stoneywood-Dyce beat relegated Forfarshire in a high-scoring match at Forthill.
Meanwhile, there was jubilation for Dumfries who defied all the odds to win the Western Premier Division at the first time of asking. The Nunholm men went into their clash with West of Scotland knowing victory would be enough. Equally, defeat could have brought both West and Clydesdale into the equation.
However, Dumfries, who have upset more illustrious opponents all season, were impressive winners in the end.
There may have been a few nerves when, having been put into bat, they slumped to 30-3.
However, skipper Josh Geary and Scotland U19 batsman Tom McBride, steadied the ship with a century stand. Geary top-scored with 67 while McBride made 35, their efforts enabling Dumfries to post a challenging total of 196-7.
It proved more than challenging when Alan Davidson claimed 6-30 to send West tumbling to 134 all out.