Saturday saw Heriots claim pole position in the race for the Eastern Premier title after deposing previous leaders Grange with a convincing seven-wicket win at Goldenacre. The eagerly anticipated clash between the traditional capital rivals proved to be a surprisingly one-sided affair as arguably the most potent pace attack in the country had too much punch for Grange.
Having opted to bat, the visitors were soon in trouble as former Durham seamer Gavin Main and Elliot Ruthven claimed a wicket apiece. Main grabbed his second – the prized scalp of Dylan Budge for 5 – with a delivery that ripped through the Scotland batsman’s defences to leave Grange on 27-3.
It set the tone for an innings during which wickets fell at regular intervals, only a defiant seventh-wicket stand of 44 between Gordon Goudie and Charlie Peet briefly holding up the home bowlers. Peet made 20 while Goudie hit five boundaries in his 45-ball 40 but the pair became victims of the excellent Ruthven who finished with 4-32 as Grange were all out for 127 in 40.3 overs, Main weighing-in with 3-33.
Goudie put the visitors back in contention with two quick wickets including in-form Scotland opener Matthew Cross for a first-ball duck as Heriots reeled on 1-2. However, Hayes van der Berg steadied the ship with 36 before falling to Peet while an unbroken stand of 66 between Mark Watt (39no) and Lloyd Brown (42), the latter hitting four boundaries and two maximums, carried the hosts to victory in the 33rd over.
Elsewhere, champions Forfarshire recovered from their league and cup double defeat to Grange with an easy win over Watsonians at Myreside. Rory Johnston top-scored with 91 while Craig Wallace and Callum Garden also hit half-centuries in a total of 307-8. They then made early inroads into the home line-up, Aman Bailwal celebrating his first appearance of the season by claiming the key wicket of big-hitting Scotland star Oli Hairs for just a single, a blow from which ‘Sonians never recovered.
Former Grange player James Dickinson proved to be the difference between RH Corstorphine and Arbroath in a low-scoring encounter at Barnton where the visitors were dismissed for 129, Ross McLean top-scoring with 29. However, Dickinson played the innings of the match – an unbeaten 45 – as Corstorphine sneaked home by three wickets.
Shujaa Khan continued his prolific form, hitting 94 as Carlton maintained their winning run by trouncing Stoneywood-Dyce by 228 runs at People’s Park. Meigle remain bottom of the table after losing to relegation rivals Stewarts Melville by six wickets at Inverleith.
Riyaad Henry stroked his second century of the season as Ferguslie sent Clydesdale tumbling to their first defeat at Titwood. Just as in the east, the top two also clashed in the Western Premier and the visitors took their chance to blow the title race wide open. Henry’s brilliant 108 helped the Paisley side post a solid 246-9 and, despite home skipper Paddy Barbour replying with 60 and Craig Young 61, Dale fell 30 runs short.
Prestwick stepped-up their challenge with a commanding 195-run win at Dumfries where Sachin Chaudhary scored 124 and Majid Haq 87no in the Ayrshire side’s 306-4 before Haq claimed 4-36, the home side slumping to 109 all out.
Bryan Clarke scored 18 from fifty-four balls and Tom Willmott 5 from forty as an unbroken ninth wicket stand carried champions Uddingston to a thrilling win over West of Scotland at Bothwell Castle.
Langside secured their second win of the campaign, beating southside rivals Poloc by 16 runs at Albert Park.
Matthew Tweedie top-scored with 94 as Stirling posted 240-5 at New Williamfield, en route to victory by 61 runs against Greenock.
Dumfries 109 (27.3 overs) S Beveridge 47; M Haq 4-36
Uddingston 198-8 (47.4 overs) M Awais 79; C Dutia 4-25
Greenock 179 (48.1 overs) N Flack 67, S Fischer-Keogh 41; B McMullen 5-16, R Hewage 3-40
Poloc 123 (46.5 overs) M Ali 4-10, Muh Khan 4-24
Clydesdale 217-9 (50 overs) P Barbour 60, C Young 61, H Zaker 4-38
Watsonians 135 (40.2 overs) G Brown 76; S Cameron 3-21
Heriots 129-3 (32.5 overs) L Brown 42*, M Watt 39*
Stewarts Melville 182-4 (43.2 overs) B Wilkinson 62, S Parker 54
Stoneywood-Dyce 69 (29.1 overs) S Gupta 4-15, R McIntyre 3-11
RH Corstorphine 130-7 (48.1 overs) J Dickinson 45*, D Salmond 3-20