FORFARSHIRE’S surge to championship glory started with a brilliant century by Michael Leask (pictured) – and ended in exactly the same vein.
Despite having clinched the crown a week earlier, there was no let-up in intensity and desire as they crushed Stew-Mel at Inverleith.
Back in the chill of April, Scotland star Leask got the ball rolling by hitting 124 in the prophetic victory over then holders Grange at Raeburn Place and on Saturday, just around the corner, his 128 propelled Forfs to a lofty 309 all out.
After the hosts were dismissed for 177, Leask played down his scoring exploits and insisted the whole campaign had been a team effort, rather than particular contributions from individuals.
He said: “I haven’t been too bothered about my own performances – all I was focussed on was helping the team to win the title and adding something to the team.
“Beating Stew-Mel was hugely satisfying because it was a very poor track and too pass the 300-mark on it was a big feat.
“I suppose it just summed up the positive attitude that all the boys have had through the summer.”
While Leask and Co headed home for their “Champions Party,” his former Scotland squad mate Majid Haq was every bit as elated after making sure of a top-five finish – thanks to a surprise but comprehensive win at the expense of Grange.
Haq stated: “It was a wonderful way to end the season, beating one of the powerhouses of Scottish cricket who had five internationalists in their lineup.
“We are a small club by comparison, so to earn a place in the top half of the table is a significant achievement.”
Youngster Calum Clarkson emerged as the hero with the ball at Barnton, snapping up four for 10 to send Grange hurtling to 82 all out.
Haq and Co held their nerve to complete the win by five wickets. ,And he added: “Calum bowled really well and deserved his reward.
“But for me, Caleb Whitefoord has been the revelation of the season.
“I’m really amazed that he hasn’t been included in any Eastern Knights matches.
“Elliot Foster was also superb, hitting 29 off 20 balls in the chase after we were 20 for three.”
Elsewhere, Heriot’s were confirmed in third place as they claimed the scalp of Stoneywood-Dyce at Peoples Park, thanks mainly to a cheap four-wicket haul for skipper Keith Morton.
Ali Evans struck 91 at Grange Loan to pave the way for Carlton to beat basement boys Aberdeenshire and Arbroath easily won the joust with Watsonians at Myreside, with spinner Craig Ramsay bagging five dismissals.