Cricket: Patel hails Grange as they stretch their lead

GRANGE captain Sanjay Patel was delighted with his side's effort in the absence of big-name players as they beat Carlton to extend their lead at the top of the SNCL Premier Division.

The Stockbridge outfit won by 57 runs at Raeburn Place against their Edinburgh rivals to complete the double over the men from Grange Loan.

And, with second-placed Watsonians losing to Forfarshire, the gap at the top has increased as the second half of the season gets underway.

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Patel said: "I thought we played well and was pleased with the effort the guys put in. To get up to 263 on that wicket was above par and we then bowled and fielded pretty well. We knew Carlton were missing a few players, as were we, so everyone had to play their part to put another win on the board."

In the absence of Gregor Maiden, Oli Hairs and Neil McCallum on Scotland duty the other members of the team knew they would be relied on for runs. And batting first against a Carlton team who were also stretched due to international call-ups – and were without Cedric English – Cammy Coles gave Grange a good platform to build on with 55.

Patel and Stuart Moffat both made 37 in the middle order, but the Carlton bowlers were keeping things pretty tight. Omar Ahmad, having his most consistent run in the first XI, bowled ten overs for just 29 runs and spinner Tom Clarke took four wickets. That meant that after 40 overs Grange were on 168-4 with the game delicately poised, but then Stuart Davidson entered the fray and changed the game.

The all-rounder came to the wicket in the 41st over after Moffat was out and proceeded to smash 66 off just 39 balls to take his side to more then 200 and then over 250.

Grange scored 44 off the last two overs, Davidson hitting most of them with team mate Giles Holmes a bystander at the non-strikers end as the ball went to all parts. The bowlers who came in for punishment were Australian Blake Dean and Charles Legget, with a huge six on to the top of the practice nets off Dean the highlight of the last 12 balls.

"It was just superb, but we all know Stuart is capable of that and he does seem to like to score runs against Carlton. His innings changed the game and put us on the front foot," Patel said.

In reply Dean and Ani Majumdar opened the batting for Carlton and they started brightly before the latter was bowled round his legs by Micky Thomas in the fifth over.

Captain for the day Steve Gilmour then followed Majumdar back to the pavilion four overs later and, when Jonny Gray, back at Grange after two years working in South Africa, bowled Dean for 25 with his first ball Carlton were in trouble at 46-3.

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Gray's celebration of the wicket was also worthy of note, the enigmatic character taking off his shirt before running almost to the boundary yelping with delight.

Once things had calmed down again teenager Nick Hunt and Oli Tame set about rebuilding the innings. They progressed things on to 90 before the younger batsman was run out for 23 after looking fairly comfortable on his debut.

Wicketkeeper Jamie Kerr then came and went, bowled by part-time spinner Cammy Coles for five, before Tame and Pietsch shared a 63-run stand.

Carlton were on 166-5 in the 38th over and had begun dragging their way back into things, but when Australian Pietsch became the second silly run out victim for 26 they simply did not have enough batting left.

Englishman Tame showed his potential with 53 before they were eventually bowled out for 206.

For Grange spinner Drew Weir, who has been taking wickets for the second XI, bowled well and was rewarded with the wicket of Tom Clarke, while Hunt looks like someone who will be a good top order batsmen for Carlton in years to come.

In a way it was disappointing that such a big match – first versus third at the start of play - was played with a number of players away on Scotland duty, but it was good to see fringe players getting their chance for both sides.

And these players will have an important part to play over the coming weeks given the number of Scotland matches and other representative duties there are coming up.

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