SKIPPER Marc Petrie hailed the determination and skills of Hamish Bartlett and Craig Ramsay after his Arbroath side demolished Stoneywood-Dyce to boost their quest to retain the Eastern Premiership crown.
Petrie had labelled the tussle a possible banana skin, particularly if Michael Leask was to fire on all cylinders.
But the Lochlands contest was only going to end in one outcome when the scalp of the Scotland all-rounder was captured cheaply.
Bartlett was the star of the show for Arbroath with the bat, striking a superb century, with the spin of Ramsay earning him a haul of five wickets to rule out a late rally by the Aberdonians.
Petrie said: “It was a very good win against a team who have been building up a lot of confidence.
“Hamish took the responsibility we have been looking for in the top order.
“With the help of Fraser Burnett, he got us well on our way to posting a good score of 270.
“It would have been more than 300 if we hadn’t suffered a mini collapse from numbers five to nine but, fortunately, we also have the know-how down the order.
“Craig Ramsay did a great job in supporting Hamish through to his well-deserved century.
“When Stoneywood went in, the initial damage was done by Max Parker with an excellent opening spell which earned three top-order wickets.
“Then Craig was ruthless and clearly determined to finish the game off – and did so excellently.
“There are still some things we want to improve on going into the second half of the season.
“But it’s a good feeling to be top at this stage with momentum going our way.”
Bartlett and Burnett (62) put on 124 for the third wicket – by far the top partnership of the match.
When Leask became Parker’s third victim with the Stoneywood-Dyce response on 31, the writing was very clearly on the wall.
Ramsay then snatched the spotlight, taking five for 29 to dismiss the visitors for 124.
It was just as clinical at Scroggie Park, where second-placed Aberdeenshire emphasised the current power of cricket in the north east by hammering Falkland.
Chris Venske hit 76 as the Mannofield men cruised to the target of 128 with the loss of only one wicket.
Carlton are the only Edinburgh club in the top half of the league, thanks to their success against an inconsistent Forfarshire, who clearly missed the influence of injured skipper Craig Wallace.
Hamish Gardiner was the destroyer in chief at Grange Loan by whacking 118, guiding the hosts to a daunting 272 for nine.
Omar Ahmad (seven for 20) and Ally Evans (three for 39) then skittled the Broughty Ferry boys for just 113.
Ewan Chalmers kept up his fine form by striking 81 to inspire Watsonians to an emphatic 148-run win against Heriot’s at Goldenacre.
The fragility of Grange was highlighted when their challenge was snuffed out by SMRH at Inverleith.
Brad Moses emerged as the man who mattered for the home side, bagging four wickets and compiling a fine unbeaten 63.