Fraser Watts puts Carlton back on winning track

Watsonian Kenny Rae carves the ball away as his side struggled to reach 120 against Heriots. Photograph: Ian Rutherford
Watsonian Kenny Rae carves the ball away as his side struggled to reach 120 against Heriots. Photograph: Ian Rutherford
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Fraser Watts turned back the clock with a vintage display of stroke-making as Carlton kick-started their Eastern Premier title defence with a thumping win over Falkland at Grange Loan yesterday.

The champions went into the match on the back of damaging defeats to Glenrothes and Grange but Watts ensured there was to be no further slip-up.

A week after watching his old team-mate Preston Mommsen scoring 156no for Grange against Carlton, Watts eclipsed that effort with a superb 162.

In a match reduced by rain to 44 overs, the former Scotland opening batsman helped Carlton post a daunting 309-7 – too many for the Fifers who were up against it after the loss of early wickets.

The decisive blow was struck when Aussie Michael Herdman bowled Falkland’s Sri Lankan professional Harsha Cooray as the visitors failed to reach triple figures, champions Carlton clinching their first win of the campaign by 227 runs on D/L.

There was another centurion as visitors Arbroath’s got the better of Aberdeenshire at misty Mannofield.

The decisive innings was played by Brendan Ford who, along with Ross McLean gradually blunted Shire’s new-ball attack. The pair were close to a century stand when McLean was first to fall for 34.

His departure saw Arbroath stutter with Hayden Laing’s debut cut short on 19 to be quickly followed by Elton Willemse as the visitors wobbled at 122-3.

However, spectators could just about see through the gloom as Ford continued on his purposeful way to a major knock.

He reached a well-crafted century in the 37th over and, with help from Jack Waller (30), oushed the Lichties towards the 200 mark.

Ford was eventually out for 110 but his effort was enough to ensure a challenging total of 244 was set.

Aberdeenshire looked slight favourites when they needed just 
53 runs from the final ten overs with five wickets in hand.

However, McLean completed a superb all-round performance with four wickets, a haul matched by Calvin Burnett as Arbroath maintained their 100 per cent record with a 43-run victory.

Elsewhere, high-flying Watsonians suffered their first defeat of the season as Heriot’s hit form at Goldenacre.

The home bowlers routed Sonians for just 120 before Heriot’s rather struggled to their target, winning by three wickets, courtesy of some lusty late hitting from Ryan Brown.

Skipper Umair Mohammed’s fighting half-century helped Forfarshire recover from 58-5 to post 168 all out against Grange at Portgower Place.

However, despite the loss of three early wickets, Grange managed to maintain their winning start to the season thanks to an unbroken stand between veteran Neil McCallum and rising star Dylan Budge.

McCallum top-scored with 59no while Budge brought up his half-century and hit the winning runs with a maximum.

There was also a recovery at Gilvenbank where Glenrothes were in trouble on 20-3 before digging deep to reach 144-7 in a 33-over encounter with SMRH.

However, a half-century from South African Shaylen Pillay carried the Inverleith troops to their first victory of the campaign.