Domestic Round Up - Week 14
Cricket Media round up a dramatic days cricket in the fourteenth round of fixtures in the Eastern and Western Divisions.
The two-horse race for the Eastern Premiership crown took a dramatic new twist last night as pacesetters Watsonians suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of old capital rivals Heriot’s.
It was a result that offered fresh hope to chief-chasers Carlton, who brushed aside the challenge of struggling Falkland across the Forth Bridge at Scroggie Park.
Responding to a target of 231, the pressure told as Sonians surrendered wickets at regular intervals as they tried to master a home attack that was nagging rather than devastating and they fell 40 short.
The experience of former Scotland pair Steve Knox and Sean Weeraratna had shone through in the first knock after Heriot’s had won the toss.
Knox anchored the innings with a typically watchful 60, finding the rope eight times during the 107-ball vigil at Goldenacre.
He and Kevin McLaren put on 34 for the opening wicket before the stumps of the latter were smashed by ex-New Zealand Test seamer Andy McKay for 19.
Pro Hayes van der Berg and Peter Ross followed quickly back to the sheds, with Mark Watt helping Knox steady the ship to some degree.
There were further stutters in the face of some frugal Sonians bowling and fielding, before Weeraratna completely changed the complexion of the contest with a display of explosive striking.
He clattered 63 not out from just 38 deliveries - hitting three sixes and six fours.
Brendan O’Connell was the pick of the Watsons bowlers, claiming four for 33, his victims including Knox and Watt.
Watt also contributed in the bowling department, earning three for 45, sharing a six-wicket haul with McLaren. Andrew Chalmers was the top scorer in vain for Watsons, hitting 35.
Arun Pillai was Carlton’s main man with both bat and ball at Grange Loan with a century that took the match comfortably out of Falkland’s reach.
They had been set a revised target of 249, but there was little prospect of them approaching that tally as Omar Ahmad throttled the visiting batters with a wonderfully accurate stint which yielded only 12 runs from 60 balls, four of them coming in the final over.
Pillai then completed a great afternoon’s work by taking four middle order and tail end wickets in quick succession, sending Falkland tumbling to 94 all out.
This was always going to be a transition season for Aberdeenshire as they were forced to regroup in the wake of the departure of several influential front line players, however no-one at Mannofield imagined how insipid a challenge they would mount.
The green shoots of optimism were there for all to see at Gilvenbank yesterday, however, as the Dons demolished Glenrothes in emphatic fashion.
And it was 16 year old Connor Shorten who snatched the limelight by bagging a haul of four cheap wickets.
Conditions were bound to be in favour of the side that bowled first, and the visitors took full advantage by skittling the Fifers for just 65 in the 32nd over.
Aberdeenshire were then on course to reach the target without loss, but a mini-spate of successes for the home attack made the eventual winning margin of five wickets closer than it might have been.
Western Union champions elect Clydesdale suffered yet another rain-related call-off as their tussle with Ayr at New Cambusdoon was washed out.
Ferguslie’s depressing slump continued when they were outgunned by Prestwick at Meikleriggs.
And a trademark hard-hitting half century by Ross Lyons set up a convincing triumph for East Kilbride at Dumfries.