THE player-coach of dethroned champions Grange has led the tributes to new top dogs Forfarshire and their skipper Umair Mohammed.
Mohammed and his team clinched their first ever top flight title by sweeping aside the challenge of Carlton at Broughty Ferry, and magnanimous Grange chief John Blain insisted the achievement was fully deserved.
The former Scotland World Cup star declared: “I’m truly delighted for Umair and his boys.
“Forfarshire have assembled an excellent group of players at the club with a blend of youth and experience – a healthy balance.
“They have been driven in the right direction both on and off the field for a number of years now and their first league title is rewards for the work that has been done.”
Blain was backed up by Marc Petrie, captain of Shire’s Tayside rivals Arbroath. He stated: “It is a fantastic feat by the best team this season.
“They should be proud of their performances and this success is thoroughly deserved. Umi has led the team fantastically well over the past few seasons and deserves the praise for the way him and his team have acquitted themselves. I’m sure they will have more success in the future.”
Mohammed described the achievement as “incredible” and he warned: “We are not finished yet! This has been an incredible summer so far but there is more to come.
“It’s important to enjoy the moment and we certainly will next weekend when we are presented with the trophy. But we want to keep on proving that we are the best team in the country, not just in the east. We will now prepare for Grand Final day (Saturday 31st August) and the T20 finals.”
Mohammed wouldn’t pick out any individuals in his squad for special praise, saying: “This is a collective effort from everyone at the club. The players merely carry the hard work done by the people behind the scenes during the week in to match days.
“We just want to go out there and make them proud – and I hope we have done that. This victory is for everyone associated with Forfarshire CC.”
Mohammed and Co had shrugged off a shaky start at Forthill to reach 251 for eight, thanks to half centuries by Chris Greaves and Calum Garden – plus 41 from Ryan Watson.
Jack Hogarth then starred with the ball, taking three for 14 as Carlton were shot out for 128.
By then, Grange had long since demolished Watsonians at Myreside.
Blain’s five cheap wickets sent Sonians hurtling to 44 all out – then Oli Hairs (33 not out) carried the visitors past the target in a mere 25 deliveries without loss.
The remainder of the programme was wiped out by the weather.