Arbroath last night moved to within touching distance of the title after holding their nerve to complete a thrilling two-wicket win over Glenrothes at Lochlands while closest challengers Grange fell out of the reckoning to be replaced by Heriot’s who could yet come from behind to take the glory.
Chasing a modest 133, Arbroath looked to be cruising when they reached 50-1 but a flurry of wickets sparked a dose of the jitters as Glens sensed their chance to consolidate a place in the top four. Hayden Laing top-scored for Arbroath with a crucial 32 but Yasser Arafat’s four wickets pushed the home side all the way.
In the end, the Lochlands men scraped over the line to clinch a tense two-wicket win.
On a bowlers’ day, a fine unbeaten 32 from South African Aidan Justus was the standout performance in the Fifers’ total of 132 while Elton Willemse and Craig Ramsay had three wickets each.
Grange’s title bid is over after they slumped to a shock defeat against Aberdeenshire at Portgower Place.
The capital troops put themselves in a strong position after Ryan Flannigan’s 82 helped them post 223-9, though three wickets each for Lesiba Ngoepe and Conor Shorten kept the visitors in contention.
A century opening stand between Ian Kirk, who made 89, and Kenny Reid, who also posted a half-century, then put ‘Shire on course for what was ultimately a four-wicket win.
Heriot’s, though, remain in contention thanks to a convincing seven-wicket win over SMRH at Inverleith where Scotland star Mark Watt was the man-of-the-match with four wickets and 38no.
Meanwhile the dress rehearsal for today’s Scottish Cup final proved a one-sided affair as Watsonians swept aside a youthful Carlton at Myreside.
Having elected to bat, Carlton could muster only 84 runs, Aman Bailwal doing the bulk of the damage with four top order wickets for just 14 including top scorer Rory McCann for 17.
Brendan O’Connell top-scored with 31 as ‘Sonians claimed the psychological edge ahead of today’s showdown at Forthill with a seven-wicket success.
Forfarshire cruised to a nine-wicket win at relegated Falkland, Christian Robertson claiming 4-16 as the hosts were dismissed for 85 before Matty Parker raced to 56no.
THERE was anti-climax in the west where Prestwick’s hopes of a first-ever Premier championship were put on hold after their clash with outgoing champions Clydesdale was abandoned at the halfway stage with the Ayrshire side needing 192 runs to clinch the title.
It had looked like turning into a thrilling contest between the outgoing champs and their likely successors as both sides battled for supremacy.
Having elected to put their rivals in to bat, Prestwick’s bowlers kept it typically tight and got their reward when Paddy Barbour fell for just 7.
However, the visiting batsmen dug in to bring up the 50 in the fifteenth over without further loss.
Con de Lange holed-out in the deep shortly afterwards but Mo Awais went on to score a fine half-century as the outgoing champions showed their mettle.
Dale looked on course for a substantial 200+ total until the loss of three wickets in quick succession set them back, in-form Richie Berrington one of the men to go for 31.
Andrew Scobie staved off a complete collapse with a battling 28 as the visitors reached 191-9 from their 50 overs.
Along the coast at Cambusdoon no play was possible between Ayr and East Kilbride, meaning the visitors have completed just eight of their scheduled seventeen matches and are almost doomed to the drop.
And, it was a similar soggy story elsewhere with none of the scheduled top flight fixtures producing a result.