CSL Weekend Round Up
Arbroath again demonstrated their powers of recovery on Saturday with an impressive win over Falkland at Lochlands.
Three times this season the reigning champions have suffered defeat and on each occasion they have bounced back immediately, a trend which suggests they will not give up their title lightly.
This commanding 116-run success, embroidered by centuries from Hamish Bartlett and Fraser Burnett, keeps Arbroath firmly on the tails of leaders Aberdeenshire and skipper Marc Petrie is looking for his men to find consistency as the second half of the season unfolds.
His side’s next two assignments involve tricky trips to the capital to face Carlton and Heriot’s and Petrie said: “We have got to take the momentum from this win into our next game.
“It was a very good performance from us with Hamish and Fraser both batting very well on a tricky pitch to get us an above-par score.
“We were ruthless with our bowling and never gave Falkland a chance although they didn’t show any real desire to put us under pressure and chase the game.”
A total of 265-6 looked a long way off when, having opted to bat, Arbroath lost openers Brendon Ford and Ross McLean early on as Ryan Hepburn and Safy Sharif made good use of the new ball.
However, a double century stand between Bartlett and Burnett completely changed the complexion of the game, the former making exactly 100 while Burnett top-scored with 112.
Burnett’s brother Calvin was the only other home player to reach double figures while Sharif claimed 3-19 from thirteen overs on a day when all Falkland’s other bowlers suffered.
The Fifers’ reply never really got off the ground with McLean dismissing both openers early on en route to figures of 4-20.
Matthew Surry offered the only resistance with 57 but Falkland crawled painfully to 149-7 at the close.
If Arbroath showed the steely intent of champions the same can be said for Aberdeenshire who secured a thrilling last-ball win over Heriot’s at Goldenacre.
The Dons may have felt they had done the hard bit when Harsha Cooray’s 97-ball 102no propelled them to 237-6.
However, half-centuries from Steve Knox and Cammy Farrell kept the capital side in contention and, with James Hearn unbeaten on 48, they needed just two runs from the final delivery to secure a somewhat unlikely win.
Instead, Hayes van der Berg emerged as ‘Shire’s hero by bowling the Heriot’s player.
It was harsh on Heriot’s but memorable for the Mannofield men and particularly teenager Rory Martin whose three wickets included the key one of Farrell.
Forfarshire suffered a third consecutive defeat as Watsonians emerged with a five-wicket win at Myreside.
Liam Gough top-scored with 45 in the visitors total of 214-9 while the ‘Sonians bowlers shared the wickets but Andy Hislop’s 90 proved the crucial contribution.
Alex Rajendran’s unbeaten 66 provided the substance in Carlton’s 208-8 against SMRH at Inverleith, a total which proved good enough for a 49-run victory thanks to the bowling efforts of Fraser Allardice and Chayank Gosain who had four and three wickets respectively.
Grange endured a fruitless journey to Aberdeen where they had reduced Stoneywood-Dyce to 153-9 before the match was washed-out.
Majid Haq, the Clydesdale skipper, admits Ayr are the team to beat in this season’s Western Union but is convinced the Alloway men can still be caught.
Haq’s side recovered from their recent wobble with a resounding derby win over struggling West of Scotland at Titwood.
All eyes were on the south-side following back-to-back defeats to Ayr and Drumpellier and they gave the ideal riposte by dismissing their visitors for just 91 before completing a comprehensive seven-wicket win.
Such a disappointing West total had looked unlikely when they battled their way to 40-1 but Richie Berrington, still on the road back to full match fitness, proved he is getting there with an important three-wicket burst.
Haq himself got in on the act along with Con de Lange, who claimed two scalps each before Mo Ali finished the innings off in style with a hat-trick.
Haroon Sher top-scored with 30 in Dale’s reply while de Lange chipped-in with 25 and Berrington completed a good day with an unbeaten 27.
“It was an important win,” said Haq.
“We needed to put the last two games behind us and get back into contention. Ayr are clear favourites now but we won’t give up.
“Ayr would probably have to lose twice while we win all our games but there is a long way to go and we’ll just take each game as it comes.”
If Clydesdale are back in the title race, West’s miserable season continues as the Partick side remain winless after six straight defeats.
It is a predicament which has Haq sympathising with his old Scotland team-mate John Blain, the West player-coach.
“I feel sorry for Blainy because he’s got a tough job just now. They have had terrible problems with availability and although they were close to full strength against us you can’t expect guys to perform consistently if they’re only playing every three weeks or so.”
Meanwhile, Ayr’s inexorable march continued with an impressive win against reigning champions Uddingston at Bothwell Castle.
Sikander Raza, the Pakistan-born Zimbabwe international, was the star with the bat, hitting a brilliant 86 to follow his century of seven days earlier.
His effort, including four boundaries and three maximums, accounted for more than half his side’s tally of 166 and emphasised what a big loss he will be when he heads off to play for Zimbabwe next week.
Raza was also in the wickets, removing Mo Kamran and the dangerous Sammy Zia, as Uddingston slumped from 48-2 to 120 all out.
Skipper Andi McElnea again demonstrated his happy knack for taking cheap wickets with 3-11.
Renfrew remain firmly in the title race after ending Drumpellier’s recent revival with a 28-run win at King George V Playing Fields.
Ahmed Said, the Pakistani professional, scored a brilliant unbeaten 119 in a total of 241-7 before Muhammad Ramzan looked on course to match that effort.
However, the Drumpellier player-coach fell for 83 while four wickets each for Shahid Abbasi and Kashif Pervez pressed home Renfrew’s advantage.
Dumfries moved into the top four with a workmanlike 91-run win over East Kilbride, Stuart Corbett-Byers top-scoring with 49 and Scott Beveridge claiming four wickets for the Nunholm team.