EASTERN Premiership pacesetters Grange will square up to their chief title challengers Arbroath in next month’s Scottish Cup final. The Edinburgh side powered past local rivals Carlton in their rain-affected semi-final at Grange Loan, while the Angus outfit staved off the challenge of Poloc at Lochlands.
Aiming for an initial target of 217, Carlton’s pursuit was dealt an early blow when Fraser Watts was bowled off his pads by ex-Scotland squad-mate John Blain.
The second wicket fell at 25 as the prized scalp of Hamish Gardiner was claimed by Raj Routray. Gordon Goudie then pounced to trap Stevie Gilmour in front with the total on 61.
And two tame dismissals in the space of three runs effectively handed the glory to Grange.
A dreadful mix-up resulted in Rory McCann being run out, then Gordon Drummond holed out to a Tom Sole half-tracker.
The weather had the last word and Carlton were 30 adrift of the amended par score when the action was abandoned. Earlier, Grange skipper Andrew Brock won the toss and opted to take first knock and the initial Carlton breakthrough came with the tally on 16 when Ryan Flannigan edged Tom Freshwater to slip.
Caiden Lang and Neil McCallum steadied the nerves with a solid partnership of 77 before the former bottom-edged a Drummond delivery on to his stumps for 34. McCallum followed soon afterwards, given out lbw against Cheeky Gosain immediately after bringing up his half century.
Brock was next to depart, pouched in the deep after mistiming an ambitious shot off Cameron Shoebridge. The dismissal made it 123 for four and put Carlton in control at a crucial stage of the contest. Even worse was to come for Grange when Ian Worth was superbly caught by Shoebridge off Gosain.
Had it not been for a dogged 34 from Tom Sole, the visitors’ effort would have been well below par.
Meanwhile, battling half-centuries by Scotland age-group star Craig Young and South African pro Niel Bredenkamp put Poloc in with a shout of earning victory over Arbroath. But accurate bowling from spin pair Craig Ramsay and Ross McLean arrested the Glasgow club’s momentum.
Requiring 216, the Poloc prospects looked bright as they reached 146 for two in the 40th over. However, the experience of the hosts shone through to bowl them out for 187, the impressive Young top-scoring with 83.