The 51st Citylets Scottish Cup was a prize that had previously been elusive in both Watsonians and Carlton’s considerable trophy cabinet over the years, but on the 20th of August one team would break that hoodoo.
The ground at Mackays Forthill looked in top condition as the players arrived in bright sunshine. Carlton captain Ali Evans won the toss and elected to bat first. He might have been regretting his decision as Andy McKay and Dewald Nel caused havoc with the new pink ball early on.
A wicket for McKay in the first over removed Tom Simpson LBW, before Matt Herdman hit back with a few wonderful cover-drives. He was superbly caught by Ewan Chalmers in the covers.
A procession of wickets then fell as Watsonians looked to take control of the contest. The experienced Fraser Watts kept his head as he made 41 before being bowled. Ali Shah also battled to get to 41, hitting the first 6 of the final in the process. He was dismissed following quick hands from Andy Hislop to remove the bails and stump the batsman.
Ali Evans strode to the wicket with his team in serious trouble 154/8. The captain and Chayank Gosain (30) then produced a vital partnership worth 78, which included some big sixes from Evans to haul his side to 232 from their 50 overs.
Spinner Tom Cullen returned with figures 3/40 but Carlton went into the break grateful of the efforts of their captain to give them a chance.
Michael Carson and Brendon O’Connell opened up for Watsonians and rarely looked troubled early on. Both batsmen pulled and cut to great effect while Carlton searched hard for the breakthrough.
It came when O’Connell pulled a short ball from Evans only to find the hands of Scotland U19s Angus Beattie at deep square-leg to go for 30 with 80 runs on the board.
Ewan Chalmers looked to cut a delivery from Beattie only to feather the ball into the hands of Fraser Boyd standing up to the stumps to go for a duck.
Carson continued to look in good form and he was joined by George Munsey at the crease and was rewarded with a hundred as he nudged the ball back past the bowler for a single.
At this point, Carlton appeared to be going through the motions, dropping a couple of relatively simple chances on the way.
However, the tide would start to turn when Munsey was caught at point and Andrew Chalmers was caught and bowled by Arun Pillai and then followed up by removing Aman Bailwal the very next delivery.
Carlton were now buoyant in the field as Watsonians started to shake. Hislop tried to get things back on track but wickets continued to fall. Dewald Nel picked out Gosain on the long-on boundary and Hislop was out LBW, suddenly the innings was in disarray.
Oliver Brown was caught on the rope by Herdman after making good contact with a Beattie delivery, before Shah and Boyd teamed up to ensure a diving Tom Cullen was short of his ground attempting a second run as Carlton clinched their maiden Scottish Cup final win.
After the match winning captain Ali Evans said, “Firstly, commiserations to Watsonians who played a great game of cricket, sometimes finals don’t live up to the hype, but there is no doubt this one did. I’m incredibly proud of the team’s efforts and we stuck in till the end.”
Cricket Scotland would like to thank all those who attended today’s game and Fofarshire for hosting their first final.