Hamish Gardiner tipped for Saltires

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NEW Carlton batting star Hamish Gardiner was last night backed to make a Saltires debut sooner rather than later in the wake of the Edinburgh side’s comprehensive victory over CSL Eastern Premiership pacesetters Arbroath.

Gardiner emerged as the man who mattered most at Lochlands as he made an accomplished century which impressed home skipper Marc Petrie.

In tandem with Scotland captain, Preston Mommsen, the Scots-born, Australia-based Gardiner blunted the host attack, the pair racking up a decisive stand of 160. And Petrie had no option but to admire the skills on show.

“Hamish’s innings was chanceless, and thanks to him and Preston, Carlton were able to control their run-chase very efficiently,” said Petrie. “If he continues to tot up the runs and perform in this manner it shouldn’t be long before he plays for the senior Scotland side.”

Petrie added: “From the Arbroath point of view, we have to be disappointed with our performance in the field. Our tally of 236 was a decent one on that surface, but we dropped some catches early on and that ultimately cost us. In addition, our fielding lacked its usual authority and energy.

“We now have to regroup and prepare for the next league match against Grange, when we will be determined to bounce back strongly to make sure we are still at the top of the table come the Scottish Cup break.”

The precious success on hostile territory sealed a great 24 hours for the capital troops – and Gardiner in particular. The previous evening they had celebrated their 150th anniversary with an easy T20 win over Grange, their 23-year-old overseas amateur hitting a quick 55.

Gardiner’s innings of exactly 100 before he was run out at Lochlands lasted 115 balls and included eight boundaries.

Mommsen completed the job with an unbeaten 83 as the visitors won by seven wickets with almost four overs to spare. The Saltires skipper had earlier claimed four wickets while Fraser Burnett top-scored for Arbroath with 69 not out.

It turned out to be a superb weekend for the Edinburgh clubs. Champions Watsonians ended a disastrous run of four defeats with a six-wicket success against Stoneywood-Dyce at Myreside, an unbeaten half-century from skipper Ewan Chalmers taking them past the visitors’ below-par 134.

And Heriot’s dented Aberdeenshire’s title hopes with a 26-run win at Goldenacre. Four Grange men hit half-centuries Neil McCallum top-scoring with 86 no – in an imposing total of 302-2 against SMRH who replied with 207-9.

• In Saturday’s edition of The Scotsman, last week’s Eastern Premier preview appeared instead of this weekend’s preview due to a production error. We apologise for the mistake.