CALEY Highlanders yesterday threw the Pro50 Cup wide open with a comfortable win over holders and favourites Eastern Knights at The Grange.
The Knights went into the clash boasting an unbeaten record and needing just one more win to clinch the title.
But they were out-gunned on the day as Caley, set a target of 251, raced to victory with almost eight overs to spare.
This was a team effort from the visitors with contributions throughout the order following the early loss of Chris Venske who was caught behind off Ali Evans.
However, a stand of 73 between Forfarshire duo Craig Wallace and Chris Greaves put the Highlanders on course and they never looked back.
Both scored at better than a run-a-ball, Wallace making 31 while Greaves trumped his team-mate with 46 from only 34 balls with seven boundaries and a maximum.
Both fell to the impressive Cameron Shoebridge but there was no let up from the Caley batsmen, Scotland skipper Kyle Coetzer showing his class with a top score of 53.
His effort was also a rapid affair, taking just 43 balls while he also matched the boundary count of Greaves.
The Knights were given a glimmer of hope when brilliant fielding by Calum MacLeod ran out both Coetzer and Callum Garden, the latter having made 26, to leave the visitors on 169-5.
However, Safyaan Sharif (32) and Scott Cameron (33no) guided their side to the target and, while Sharif became Evans’ second victims, Caley eased to a four-wicket success.
Earlier, MacLeod appeared to have put The Knights in the driving seat with his second century of the competition.
The former Durham batsman had also reached three figures in the corresponding fixture at Forthill and this time he showed all his class to finish unbeaten on 104, having arrived at the crease following the early departure of skipper George Munsey.
MacLeod faced 132 balls and stroked nine boundaries while receiving good support from Nick Farrar (28), Michael Herdman (25) and Mark Watt (50).
However, a flurry of middle order wickets, four of them to Brock Ditchmen who finished with 4-38, undermined the home side’s chances of reaching the 300 tally which at one stage had looked likely.
Instead, MacLeod was left stranded with eleven deliveries of the innings un-used and Caley went into the interval with their tails up.
The Highlanders can stay in contention for the title if they win their final match against the Western Warriors at Forthill next month.