Eastern Premier Review
Eastern Premier Division
Tyler Buchan, the Aberdeenshire captain, had words of praise for one centurion and sympathy for another after his side’s eight-wicket win over Forfarshire at Mannofield.
Buchan’s league leaders had been put on the back foot when Craig Wallace, his Highlanders’ team-mate, stroked 122 as the Forthill men batted first on a flat track.
Wallace, who stroked nine boundaries and a six, was well supported by a resolute 58 from Elliot McCandless before a hard-hitting 31 from Aron Lilly hoisted the visitors’ tally to 239-3.
Without both regular openers, Chris Venske and Callum Howard who are injured, the Dons were forced to launch their chase with a makeshift batting line-up.
However, despite the early loss of Grant Jamieson, Shay Nanthakumaran rose to his new challenge in spectacular style.
With a previous highest score of 40 for the first eleven, expectations could not have been particularly high that Nanthakumaran would emerge as the hero.
Yet that is precisely what happened as he carried his bat for exactly 100no as the Mannofield men won with two overs to spare.
Nanthakumaran provided the backbone his side needed, facing 143 balls and stroking eight boundaries and one six.
His solid occupancy of the crease allowed Harsha Cooray to a adopt a more expansive approach, the Sri Lankan smashing 82no from only 74 deliveries with eight boundaries and two maximums.
Buchan said: “It was a very impressive run chase from the lads.
“Shay only came into the team on Friday as Calum Howard pulled out with a back strain so to come in and bat like he did was incredible.
“His highest first team score was 40 before yesterday, so to get an unbeaten hundred was superb. That's the most fluent I've seen him bat, but it's no surprise as he has been the leading run scorer in the second eleven for the past few years.”
However, Buchan was not without some words of consolation for a Forfarshire side who find themselves second bottom of the table.
“Craig batted very well for 122 and Forfarshire have been hit hard by injuries just like ourselves.
“But I think if they bat like they did today they'll win more games than they lose.”
While the Dons continue to lead the way, champions Arbroath remain hard on their heels after an impressive six-wicket win at Carlton.
Calvin Burnett and Craig Ramsay each claimed three wickets as the capital side were restricted to 167 despite Hamish Gardiner’s defiant 63.
Arbroath lost a couple of early wickets but the day’s third centurion Brendan Ford stroked a superb 114no to secure the win for a side who appear to be hitting form at the right time.
“Consistency has been a problem for us this season,” noted Marc Petrie, the captain.
“But we are finally finding some at an important stage of the season. It was an excellent performance from all our bowlers and we went about the run-chase well after losing two quick wickets.
“Brendan scored a century in the same fixture last season and it was a brilliant innings.”
Elsewhere Falkland showed their strength in depth to complete the double over Stoneywood-Dyce.
Ryan Hepburn and Safyaan Sharif had each claimed five wickets as the Aberdonians were routed for 39 earlier in the season. Neither took part on Saturday but the Fifers still emerged with a 31-run success.
Grange and Heriot’s occupy third and fourth places after claiming D/L wins from their capital derbies at Watsonians and SMRH respectively.