CSL Eastern Round Up
Former Arbroath skipper Fraser Burnett yesterday sent a “good job, well done” message to absent current captain Marc Petrie in the wake of the home-turf local derby triumph over Forfarshire which boosted their prospects of retaining the Eastern Premiership crown.
And now they brigade will turn their focus to Saturday’s likely decider with pacesetters Aberdeenshire, who also maintained their momentum with a rain-affected success at the hands of SMRH.
Burnett and Co had gone into battle with some trepidation, having lost twice to the Broughty Ferry boys this season.
However, they prodced a solid all-round team performance to ease the trans-Atlantic anxieties of Petrie, who was attending a wedding in Florida.
Surprisingly, Forfarshire elected to bat after winning the toss, but failed to build on a decent start.
Burnett said: “We bowled pretty well and they were without a few of their mainline batsmen.
“Once we got Craig Wallace out fairly cheaply, we efficiently did what we had to do.
“Everyone contributed, with Max Parker and my brother Calvin bowling tidily. Then spinners Craig Ramsay and Ross McLean carried on the good work at the end.
“In the reply, Hamish Bartlett and I managed to put together a strong third wicket-partnership to take us across the line.
“It was the win we needed to set us up for next weekend - it should be a cracker at Mannofield.”
Recalled veteran Graeme Garden and Wallace guided Forfs to 74 before the rot set in.
Their hopes of posting a challenging total evaporated when in-form Wallace scooped McLean into the hands of Ramsay for 35.
Ramsay finished with three for 43 as Shire were curbed to 173 for seven.
Brendan Ford and McLean departed early in the pursuit, however Bartlett (47 not out) and Burnett (42 not out) eased Arbroath to the rain-amended target of 124.
Hayes van der Berg emerged as the Aberdeenshire hero at Inverleith.
The young South African recruit compiled a superb century and - with the help of Harsha Cooray - rescued the Dons in the wake of a shaky start at Inverleith.
Having lost the toss and put in, an upset could have been on the cards when the visitors were reduced to 12 for two in the face of a potent new-ball burst by veterans Cedric English and Craig Mackellar.
But not only did van der Berg and Cooray curb the jitters, their partnership of 141 was to prove a match winning effort.
Old stagers and former Scotland team-mates Fraser Watts and Steve Knox were also in ton-up form for Carlton and Heriot’s respectively.
Watts shrugged off his unbeaten 120 to pay tribute to his bowlers - and Ally Evans in particular - after their nail biting home win against Grange.
He declared: “It was a lively pitch and Ally bowled the quickest spell I have ever seen at Grange Loan - just ask Grange captain Neil McCallum!
“The rain-revised total for Grange had appeared to be in their favour, however we bowled and fielded really well.”
Knox’s 104 was in vain as Stoneywood-Dyce snatched an equally thrilling two-run victory at Goldenacre.
Watsonians also forged a win in the tussle with Falkland at Scroggie Park, which was curtailed by a thunderstorm.
PENICUIK had their “men of Steel” to thank for their drama-packed Eastern Championship victory over Edinburgh South at Kirkhill.
First, Kris Steel batted superbly to make 94 - then younger brother Calum snapped up five cheap wickets to stem the spirited pursuit of the visitors.
Thanks mainly to Kris, the hosts reached 252, only for South star Darryl Hendricks to threaten to snatch the glory as he surged to 123.
But Calum was the man who mattered most in the decisive portion of the contest and Penicuik clung on for the nine-run success.
Kris smiled: “I suppose you could say it was a bit of a family affair and to make it even better, our dad was watching the action.
“It was Calum’s best bowling display for the club.
“He's had numerous three-wicket hauls over the last couple of seasons, so it was great to watch him take five.”
The elements came to the aid of promotion pacesetters Glenrothes as they were in danger of losing their 100 per cent record at the hands of Fife neighbours Freuchie.
Glens had been shot out for only 91, with home bowler Rizwan Akbar grabbing six for 12 in a remarkable spell at Muir Road.
The hosts were 12 for one when play was abandoned.
And Grange edged out Carlton in the battle of the second stringers at Raeburn Place, a measure of revenge for the outcome between the first elevens on the other side of the capital.