CSL Premier Round Up - 14 June
The topsy-turvy nature of this season’s CS Eastern Premier division was demonstrated again yesterday as Aberdeenshire defeated Grange in an extraordinary match at Mannofield.
A week earlier at the same venue the Dons had succumbed to local rivals Stoneywood-Dyce, a result which saw them drop from top to seventh in the table and allowed Grange to move above them in what is becoming a thrilling and thoroughly unpredictable title race.
However, yesterday’s two-wicket win saw ‘Shire move back ahead of the Edinburgh side though not before they had survived a huge scare.
Chasing just 117 for victory, the hosts came out with all guns blazing and had 34 runs on the board after just four overs.
However, they lost their way in spectacular style as Raj Routray found his line and length to pick up five cheap wickets.
The key one was that of Chris Venske who had looked capable of winning the match single-handedly with a hard-hitting 39.
However, when he became one of Routray’s victims the Dons suddenly plunged to 87-7 and looked likely to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory.
Instead, the unheralded Indika Yahathugoda hit a vital 17 with a four and a six before his departure left Fraser Proud and skipper Tyler Buchan to scramble the remaining 14 runs that were still needed to claim a two-wicket win.
It had looked at one stage as if Grange might suffer complete humiliation when, having been sent in to bat, they tumbled to 11-7.
The tone was set off the very first delivery of the match when Buchan clean bowled Arun Pillai.
Buchan went on to take advantage of helpful track and soon had five wickets to his name, having conceded only two runs.
With Hayes van der Berg backing up his captain at the other end to claim two wickets Grange looked in danger of entering the record books for the wrong reason and the all-time low team total in the National League era of 27 was a long way off.
However, Neil McCallum and Simon Smith showed their experience to stave off further immediate damage.
The pair managed to stay together for fourteen overs and, though adding just 21 runs, their defiance halted the mayhem.
McCallum eventually departed for a fighting 24 while Smith added a further 22 with Gregor Maiden.
However, at 54-9 the Edinburgh side needed further resistance to make a game of it and it was provided in a last-wicket stand between Smith and Routray which yielded 62 runs.
Routray’s contribution was a modest 12 but he survived for sixty deliveries – long enough to allow Smith to complete a superb unbeaten half-century.
The former Scotland wicket-keeper faced a marathon 110 balls and hit four boundaries and one six.
Alas, for Grange, his heroics were in vain.
Champions Arbroath were given a run for their money before prevailing by 19 runs against Watsonians at Myreside.
Arbroath now hold top spot on their own after Falkland fell five places following their 34-run defeat to Forfarshire.
A brilliant unbeaten 134 by former Saltires batsman Fraser Watts was the highlight of the Edinburgh derby between Heriot’s and Carlton.
Meanwhile Drumpellier were routed for just 36 at Langloan as East Kilbride recorded the second victory of their maiden season in the Western Union CS Premier division.
Defending a modest 145, the visitors got the start they wanted when they dismissed the first three Drumpellier batsmen for ducks.
It failed to get any better for the Coatbridge side for whom a further four batsmen failed to score.
Indeed only two men reached double figures while pace bowler Syed Shah made merry with figures of 7-17, a devastating spell which included four wickets in four balls.
East Kilbride had found it tough going themselves especially after losing their opening pair for ducks but Moneeb Iqbal and Stewart Kampman launched a spirited recovery with a half-century stand.
South African Peter Bocock continued the good work before new dad Umair Saeed, who missed last week’s game to attend the birth of his daughter, celebrated in style.
Saeed top-scored for his side with a hard-hitting 41 which included a boundary and two mightily struck maximums as the Torrance House men closed on 145-9.
Muhammad Ramzan was the pick of the Drumpellier bowlers, conceding just ten runs from his first ten overs and finishing with 2-35 from fifteen.
Uddingston had Scott McKenzie to thank for their 39-run win over Dumfries, the medium pacer taking 5-43 as the champions successfully defended 149 at Bothwell Castle.
Ayr maintained their unbeaten record with victory over West of Scotland at Cambusdoon.