CSL Round Up - 1 June
Fraser Watts shrugged off the personal glory of his latest century for Carlton and insisted the victory over champions Aberdeenshire was the statistic that mattered.
The efforts of the former Scotland batsman played a huge part in delivering a second defeat on the trot to Shire.
And the home side’s success set them up nicely for this weekend’s much-anticipated capital derby with Grange - also on their own turf.
Many observers reckon the race for the title is already a duel between the capital clubs.
But Watts is much too experienced and streetwise a campaigner to become caught up in such speculative chat.
He said: “It was great to beat Aberdeenshire and the fact that we dominated the contest made it all the more noteworthy.
“Of course it was nice to get some more runs under my belt, but the win was the thing. It is always heartening to contribute to a result like that.
“I don’t believe for a minute that at this stage of the season you can narrow down the list of contenders.
“Aberdeenshire will recover and they will be right up there, as will Arbroath, who have come back strongly after their shaky start.”
Watts confessed to not knowing how many hundreds he has notched in his career with Scotland, Carlton and Greenock.
He chuckled: “I haven’t been counting - but all I do know is that there haven’t been enough!
“My focus is still on doing my best for Carlton, where success is the order of the day.
“Our seconds have won five out of six games in the Championship, while the thirds and fourths have also been racking up impressive victories.”
Watts’ 103 had propelled Carlton to 263, which also featured a fine 63 by Rory McCann.
Spinner Cheeky Gosain then turned the screw, routing the visitors’ middle order to finish with four for 35 as they crashed to 120 all out.
Grange were equally impressive in their demolition job on the other granite city outfit, Stoneywood-Dyce.
John Blain and Neil McCallum shared six cheap wickets as SD skidded to 134 all out, which was never likely to be a challenging target.
Grange wasted no time in completing their pursuit - George Munsey in particular. He plundered a quick and spectacular 67 as they breasted the tape in a mere 12.4 overs.
Heriot’s emerged as victors in the trans-capital affair at Myreside - thanks mainly to Ryan Brown and James Hearn.
Brown bowled beautifully to take six for 62 as Sonians made 236.
Hearn (77 not out) then combined with Mark Watt (34) to blunt the home attack and clinch the five-wicket win.
Ross McLean’s top-notch all-round performance was the prime feature of Arbroath’s triumph at the expense of RH Corstorphine at Inverleith.
First, McLean struck an unbeaten 124 to inspire his side to 256 for six. He was given stout support by Calvin Burnett (45).
He then snapped up three scalps as RHC were shot out for 189.
And at Scroggie Park, Forfarshire bounced back to form to snuff out the challenge of Falkland by 34 runs.
Aman Bailwal (56) and Ryan Watson - 32 against his former team - laid the foundations for a tally of 186 for nine.
Michael Leask and Gordon Black then split a six wicket bag as the Fifers fell short.
Western Union Premier
Drumpellier were written off in some quarters before a ball had been bowled in this fledgling Western Union campaign.
However, with five games played the Coatbridge side are comfortably placed and may now aim for the top half of the table after claiming the scalp of champions Ayr at Langloan on Saturday.
Drumps would be at least one place higher were it not for a five point penalty imposed for failing to submit a score in time a couple of weeks ago.
However, there is a significant gap between themselves and the bottom two and spokesman Gordon Shaw is in little doubt that his team are on the up.
He said: “Beating Ayr is a brilliant win for us.
“We are pleased with the start and just want to keep building on the platform we’ve given ourselves.
“There are a lot of young players at the club who have good potential and will learn from the senior guys.
“As a team we want to keep improving.”
Those younger players can surely only benefit from playing with Drumpellier’s Sri Lankan professional Sudesh Fernando who has already provided some significant contributions and was again a key figure on Saturday.
Fernando batted almost throughout his side’s innings to record a superb 106, his second wicket stand of 81 with South African Louis Venter providing the backbone while Ayr’s bowlers toiled for a breakthrough.
Callum Leck eventually snared Venter for 42 before Graeme McLaren was run out but Fernando’s three-figure score propelled the hosts to a challenging 207.
The champions would have backed themselves for another successful chase following a similar one seven days earlier and they were looking good at 106-2.
However, Fernando claimed the key wicket of fellow overseas star Lenert van Wyk for 18 before McLaren struck three times in one over as Drumps seized the initiative to eventually win by 56 runs.
“Sudesh is in top form at the moment and it was a really classy well-paced innings, added Shaw.
“We were happy with our runs on the board at the interval and then we managed to pick up wickets at the right time.
“Graeme’s three wickets in an over really swung things in our favour.”
If there was joy for Drumpellier, Clydesdale endured a bitter-sweet win over Uddingston at Titwood.
The south-side club welcomed back Majid Haq for the first time this season following suspension but saw their captain’s return cut short when he was struck in the face while attempting to take a difficult slip catch.
Haq, whose side had already reduced Uddingston to 80-8, was helped from the field with blood pouring from a mouth wound and minus a tooth, though the player expects to have the necessary dental repairs carried out in time to play this weekend.
The visitors added just four more runs as Con de Lange and Abdul Sabri each claimed three wickets but Dale were less than convincing in their run-chase, losing seven men before clinching the victory that took them back to the top of the table.
They are just a point ahead of Kelburne whose excellent first season in the top flight continued with an eight-wicket win against West of Scotland.
West skipper Gregg Watson was another player in the wars, being forced off after being struck on the helmet as his side posted a disappointing 104.
Fraser MacDonald (57no) and Brad Williams (33no) then carried Kelburne to victory.
Their Paisley rivals Ferguslie also enjoyed a good day – and youngsters Michael English and Haroon Tahir in particular.
English hit a superb 109 as Ferguslie rattled-up 245 against Renfrew at Meiklriggs before Haroon, a sixteen year-old cousin of Majid Haq and fellow off-spinner, proved that cricketing talent runs in the family with a superb spell of 5-16 to secure an easy 101-run win.
East Kilbride propelled themselves firmly into the title race with a five-wicket win at Dumfries.