Domestic Review – Week 8

Cricket Media review the weekend's action in the Eastern and Western Premier Divisions

Lizzie Sleet @CricketScotland
June 19, 2017 6 years

Aberdeenshire skipper Chris Venske admitted to experiencing a cocktail of emotions in the wake of his side’s drama-packed tie with Grange.

It was a case of “what might have been” for him – both in a positive and negative sense.

Century-maker Venske declared: “We could easily have lost it – but maybe we should have won it!”

The outcome halted Grange’s run of victories, while also boosting Shire’s revival.

He explained: “For much of the contest it could have gone either way.

“We batted first and were struggling a bit on 45 for four – so at that point if you had offered me a tie then I would’ve bitten your arm off.

“I was frustrated to get out with nine overs of our innings left because there were still plenty of runs available to me.

“We could have posted a total exceeding 250 rather than the 223 that we did reach.”

In the tense finale, Grange needed five from the last over to snatch the glory – with young Connor Shorten being entrusted to bowl.

He held his nerve in a manner that impressed Venske, who added: “The grit and determination shown by the lads in the closing stages made me a happy captain.

“Connor’s feat in restricting them to four runs in these six balls was special.”

On his own knock of 110, he said: “I was pleased with my knock – but I got out at the worst time.”

Shire coach David Cox added: “Connor was a hero – it was a great way to mark his selection or his call up to the Scotland U19’s.

“The lower order worked well with Chris to build a platform after a horrendous start.

“It was a really galvanised team performance with contributions throughout.

“But the tally of 24 extras that cost us the game, not for the first time this season.

“We should have won, but I’ll take five points and look forward to Heriot’s next weekend.”

Six Grange batsmen got over the 20 mark, however Harris Aslam and Ryan Flannigan top scored with 31 each.

This fact was testament to Shire’s persistence in the field.

Venske himself was no mean performer with the ball, taking two for 31 in 10 overs.

Elsewhere, an understrength Arbroath surrendered their unbeaten record to Glenrothes, while Carlton and Heriot’s emerged victorious in the capital derbies.

Pro Mike Herdman’s ton propelled Carlton to their win against Watsonians at Grange Loan.

And after Glens’ success in the low-scoring battle at Gilvenbank, home star Vasu Reddy said: “Arbroath were without several key men, but it was a great result for us.

“Ben Wilkinson batted beautifully on a tough track and Yaser Arfat was the pick of the bowlers.”

Rory Johnston and Chris Greaves emerged as the Forfarshire stars as they snuffed out the challenge of basement boys Falkland to step up their league revival.

Johnston struck a superb 74 while player-coach Graves hit 58 at Fortill to propel the hosts to 218 for four.

Falkland were never in the hunt and despite a half century by Harsha Coorey, they slid to 140 all out.

A Michael English century helped Ferguslie overcome Greenock to remain league leaders but club captain Jamey Carruthers has little interest in the table.

The Meikleriggs men have achieved what no others have managed this season by staying top on their own for three consecutive weeks and will become title favourites if they beat second placed Uddingston on Saturday.

However, Carruthers said: “I haven’t had the chance to look at the table yet and am not too worried about that at this stage.

“It was another good performance from us but there is still a long way to go I’d suggest.”

Ferguslie had to overcome the early loss of John Allan – one of Julian Hulbert’s four victims – to post an imposing 275-7

Opener English and Riyaad Henry did the bulk of the work with a superb 150-run stand for the second wicket.

Henry, son of former Scotland and South Africa legend Omar, hit some blistering shots in his 72 while English went on to a brilliant 119.

Greenock battled hard in their reply with Aussie Kyle Scrimegour top-scoring on 66 and Hulbert 41.

However, Carruthers picked-up two important wickets while Ferguslie also achieved four sharp run-outs to seal a 50-run success.

Carruthers added: “Michael and Riyaad were excellent from the moment they came together.

“They scored at will and seemed to put every bad ball away. I was pretty happy in the field for the full fifty overs and having four run-outs was great.”

Meanwhile Uddingston are in hot pursuit of the leaders after a clinical all-round display got the better of Dumfries at Nunholm.

The visitors were in deep trouble following the loss of four quick wickets but half-centuries from Ross Lyons (76) and Bryan Clarke (62no) propelled them to what had looked an improbable 201-7.

Uddingston still had to produce the goods in the field to restrict a normally free-scoring home batting line-up and they did so to dismiss Dumfries for just 147, Amir Gul starring with 3-22.

Proud captain Clarke declared: “It was a great team win on a day when we were missing a few regulars.

“We made a poor start but Ross was fantastic. People probably speak more about him hitting sixes but he has far more to offer than that and batted beautifully. It was an easy job for me just working with him.

“All our bowlers were excellent and the spinners got real control.

“We’re still not content with what we’ve done to date and believe we can improve.”

While the top two have opened a slight gap on the chasing pack, Ayr and Prestwick are still firmly in contention after wins at East Kilbride and Clydesdale.

Skipper Andi McElnea was the hero of Ayr’s 71-run success at Torrance House, claiming 5-21 in a low-scoring encounter.

Sachin Chaudhary’s half-century helped Prestwick post 245-9 at Titwood, more than enough for victory against the champions who again suffered in the absence of Con de Lange and Richie Berrington, Fazal Jawad’s 4-28 helping dismiss Dale for 159.

Owais Shah hit 57no as Poloc bounced back to form with an eight-wicket win at bottom-of-the-table Kelburne.

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