AS Arbroath stepped up their charge towards the Eastern Premiership title, Aberdeenshire claimed a significant victory off the field in their bitter dispute with Cricket Scotland.
The Mannofield club had been threatened with a points deduction if they went ahead with their plan to boycott the rearranged clash with SMRH at Inverleith yesterday. They insisted they had been put in an impossible position by being commanded by the ruling body to fulfil that fixture and the simultaneous Murgitroyd T20 tournament final stages in Glasgow.
Shire officials lobbied for the league match to be put on hold, but SMRH – backed by CS – refused to budge as their ground will be unavailable later in the month because of its seasonal conversion to school rugby pitches. But CS did, belatedly, sympathise with Aberdeenshire’s predicament, telling the club there would be no sanctions against them.
At that stage, Shire were still in contention to become champions – but Arbroath’s demolition job on SMRH at Inverleith on Saturday, coupled with the Dons’ defeat by Watsonians at Myreside, took them out of the running.
That prompted Aberdeenshire skipper Tyler Buchan to focus on the T20 event at Shawholm. And the club opted not to send a below-strength side to meet SMRH, mainly for safety reasons.
They feared the makeshift team, featuring third XI and under-14 players, would be at risk of injury by batting against Premier grade bowlers.
Buchan said: “Cricket Scotland informed us late on Friday that the threat of a points penalty had been withdrawn. They said the match would be declared void – with no points awarded or taken away. The fact that we lost to Watsonians meant we were out of the running for the championship anyway, so we turned our attentions to the Murgitroyd and we were able to fulfil our obligations to them by sending a full-strength squad to Glasgow.
“We are also relieved the possibility of a negative knock-on effect on our local rivals Stoneywood Dyce has been taken out of the equation. We would not wish any side to be relegated as a result of what has been happening. That could have happened if SMRH had been awarded a win or if they had beaten any weakened line-up we had sent there.”
Fraser Burnett, Ben McGill and Hamish Bartlett emerged as the Arbroath heroes. Burnett finished unbeaten two adrift of a century as he propelled them to 264 for six before McGiill and Bartlett shared six wickets, skittling hosts for 90.
Gordon Drummond bagged a fifty to steer second-placed Carlton to success against Heriot’s at Goldenacre. And Grange brushed aside the challenge of Stoneywood-Dyce.
• Falkland are still snapping at the heels of Forfarshire in the First Division (East) promotion race. While Forfarshire’s tussle at Freuchie was rained off, their chief rivals were hammering Penicuik by nine wickets.
At the other end of the table, Dundee HSFP eased their plight by beating Corstorphine.
Western Premier: Uddingston rocking as Dale deliver
A fortnight ago, Uddingston looked to have taken a huge step towards lifting their first CSL Western Premier Division title with victory over Drumpellier.
Two weeks and two defeats later, the Lanarkshire side’s prospects are less promising. They remain top, but only just, after Clydesdale cruised to a convincing eight-wicket win at Bothwell Castle Policies.
Majid Haq, the Dale captain, put the home side in to bat and his decision was vindicated as Uddingston slumped to 13-3.
Mo Afzal removed the in-form Amir Gul in the third over, then bowled Sri Lankan professional Ras Priydarshana for a duck and, five balls later, had Saltires star Calum MacLeod caught behind, also without scoring.
Afzal retired from the attack with figures of 3-7 from six overs but his departure brought Uddingston only temporary respite.
Sammy Zia did figure in a couple of modest partnerships but another mini-collapse undermined the hosts’ chances of
setting a big total.
Haq went on to claim three wickets while Nick Martin’s spirited 18 ensured that Uddingston reached three figures before the final wicket fell on 126.
Clydesdale’s reply suffered an early setback when Anjan Luthra holed out to mid-off to give Ricky Bawa a reward.
When Shoaib Khan followed soon after, Clydesdale were 17-2 and Uddingston’s tails were up.
However, Haq and Safyaan Sharif led the visitors to the target with a half-century apiece, the skipper top-scoring with 59 not out including three boundaries and two maximums.