Superb Forfarshire beat Grange
David Kelso (CricketMedia Scotland)
THE title race in the Eastern Premiership was blown wide open as Forfarshire produced a superb all-round display to wreck the unbeaten record of Grange on their own turf.
Though the Raeburn Place side remain at the top of the league on run-rate, neighbours Heriot’s demolished Stew-Mel to give notice that they are in no mood to give up their crown.
Rory Johnston was the Forfs batting hero with an unbeaten 113, however Scotland star Michael Leask stressed that the result had been achieved by a strong team-effort.
Johnston occupied the crease for the duration of the innings, steering the Taysiders to 247 for five.
Then the visiting attack kept it tight as they disposed of Grange for 231.
There was drama at the start when host player-coach John Blain was forced off with achilles tendon trouble after bowling just one ball.
He was back in the spotlight for the conclusion, becoming the last man to depart - stumped by Craig Wallace off a Leask wide.
Leask admitted his wayward delivery had been a “smart gamble.”
He said: “I saw Blainy coming down the track and I managed to get it to turn quite sharply, so he was stranded.
“To be truthful, all the bowlers performed extremely well, especially Christian Robertson.
“His accurate spell included three cheap wickets which proved to be pivotal.
“Our ground fielding was not up to standard, but we took our catches when it mattered.”
On Johnson’s knock, Leask added: “Rory produced a really mature innings and provided the platform for others to play around him.”
Records tumbled along the road at Goldenacre where Heriot’s pair Hayes van der Berg (149) and Elnathan Meiri (139 not out) figured in a club record stand of 305.
They propelled Heriot’s to 346 for two before Stew-Mel were mopped up for only 48 - the widest ever winning margin for the “Nails.”
Captain Keith Morton understated the achievement by reflecting: “It was another solid showing in ideal batting conditions.
“The partnership between Hayes and Elnathan was very special.
“I must also credit our opening bowlers Elliot Ruthven and Alex Knapman, who put Stew-Mel on the back foot from the word go.
“The results elsewhere again show how competitive this league is. I think we’ll see more twists and turns as the season reaches it climax.”
It is perhaps fortunate for Stew-Mel that Glenrothes are in such wretched form.
The Fifers are still without a win in the wake of RHC Lions comfortably taking the honours at Gilvenbank
A great knock of 90 from Michael Castle was the prime feature of Carlton’s tense south Edinburgh derby victory over Watsonians at Myreside.
None of the home batsmen were able to pass the 50 mark, and Castle’s effort proved to be the difference between the sides as the visitors scrambled home with just a wicket to spare.
Arbroath’s roller-coaster campaign took another downward lurch as Aberdeenshire completed the league double at Lochlands.
Pro Akshu Merengnage was the chief destroyer with 106 not out.