Gary Heatly looks ahead to Saturday’s matches in the Eastern Premier Division…
The match of the day on Saturday in the Eastern Premier Division looks set to be second placed Carlton against top of the table Heriot’s – and Umair Mohammed and Gavin Main could be key for their respective sides.
Carlton have won their last eight league matches and the last team to beat them in the competition was Heriot’s on June 5.
Leaders Heriot’s have won their last eight completed league games and when the Goldenacre men saw off Carlton in early June it was emphatically by 146-runs.
They also thumped them by 10 wickets in the Scottish Cup soon afterwards, but expect this game at Grange Loan to be much closer.
Mohammed, the spinning all-rounder, now 35, turned out for Carlton for a season back in 2012, but then returned to play for his boyhood club ion8 Forfarshire.
Two years ago, in 2019, he led the Forthill men to the Eastern Premier Division title and the National T20 title while they also won the Grand Final.
After that glory, with Mohammed being based in Edinburgh and life in dentistry and with his wife and daughter getting busier, he decided that it was a good time to start playing his cricket in the capital again.
And it looks like re-joining Carlton has been a great move for both him and the club because they won the Masterton T20 Trophy last week and, as mentioned, are going well in the league.
“I loved playing for Forfarshire, but the travelling became too much with my work life getting busier and I also wanted to spend more time with my wife and daughter,” Mohammed said.
“Over the years all of the Edinburgh clubs in the Eastern Premier have been really good and allowed me to use their facilities to train and when it came to moving to a new ‘home’ I was keen to join Carlton because I had played there before and had good friends there like Ali Evans, Fraser Burnett and Omar Ahmad.
“Alongside those guys and others, I am keen to help the exciting crop of young players come through at Carlton – and a number of them are already performing regularly for the first XI.
“Guys like Tom Simpson, Angus Beattie and others have been in-form of late and we have been on a good run in the league while lifting the Masterton Trophy was a nice boost for everyone.
“Heriot’s are a good side with a number of Scotland and regional players in their ranks, but we will just focus on our own job this weekend.”
Meanwhile, seam bowler Main, 26, has made a big impact for Heriot’s this summer.
Alongside the likes of Adrian Neill, Joe Kinghorn-Gray and Elliot Ruthven, Scotland cap Main has given Heriot’s a good start with the ball in many matches in recent months.
And the former Uddingston and Durham man believes now working as an assistant investment manager with the Tilney Group has helped him find a good balance between cricket and other parts of his life too.
“My line manager currently within the company is former Scotland cricketer Douglas Lockhart and his input on the business side of things as I learn my trade has been invaluable while he also understands the sporting commitments I have and helps me balance the two,” Main, who is in the 40-strong wider Scotland squad ahead of the T20 World Cup later in the year, explains.
“I am really enjoying learning new skills in my job while I feel my cricket has benefitted in recent months too and the guys at Heriot’s have all made me feel very welcome.
“Right from the first moment I got involved with the club I could tell there was a good culture and a good bunch of guys and that atmosphere has helped me bowl pretty well, I just try and do my bit for the team.
“This weekend we have a league match against Carlton on Saturdsay and then a Scottish Cup semi-final against Grange on Sunday and, as a player, these are the kind of big matches you want to be involved in at club level.
“Both opponents have some good batters, so I am looking forward to testing myself against them.”
Third placed Forfarshire and fourth placed Gen!us Grange are still in a title race and will want to keep the pressure up on Carlton and Heriot’s.
Forfs are on the road to ninth placed Meigle on Saturday with Grange making the trip to Inverleith to play bottom of the table Stewart’s Melville.
Fifth placed Watsonians – who are away to Clydesdale in a Scottish Cup semi-final on Sunday – welcome RH Corstorphine, in seventh, to Myreside with eighth place Stoneywood Dyce at home to sixth placed Arbroath.
Umair Mohammed is pictured by Gavin Murray while Gavin Main is pictured by Alec Davies
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