FRASER Burnett yesterday looked back on Arbroath’s table-top triumph over Aberdeenshire and confessed he still couldn’t believe his side emerged as winners.
The home victory put the Lochlands side firmly on course to land the championship but, for much of an incident-packed contest it was the visitors who had looked destined to steal their pacesetters role.
And Burnett paid tribute to the experienced Greig Peal, who he claimed turned the tide against the Mannofield men by taking two crucial wickets in successive balls – including the scalp of pro Harsha Cooray.
Burnett said: “It was simply an amazing win and, to be honest, I have no idea how we achieved it in the circumstances. I suppose it boiled down to sticking to the task when it mattered most.
“One thing is certain; the result made up for losing to Grange in the Scottish Cup semi-final six days earlier!”
Burnett refused to admit Arbroath are now certainties for the title. He said: “We have a very hard game against SMRH next weekend. We know we will have to step up the standard because for large portions of the Aberdeenshire match we were very average.”
On the influence of Peal, he added: “Without doubt, the pivotal moment was when Greig got rid of Cooray, who played a stupid shot, then trapped Kenny Reid lbw with his next delivery.”
Before Cooray’s dismissal, the Dons had appeared to be in easy street as they stood on 130 for three in reply to Arbroath’s unremarkable 172 all out. The departure of Cooray and Reid sparked a spectacular collapse, with Shire surrendering their last seven wickets for 28 runs.
Calvin Burnett had provided the backbone to the Arbroath knock with 66 before the start of Aberdeenshire’s pursuit was marked by controversy.
Chris Venske was clearly run out by Fraser Burnett but the appeal was rejected. The batsman only trudged off in the wake of intervention by the umpire at the other end.
Elsewhere, Carlton triumphed in an Edinburgh derby against Watsonians to keep alive their glory hopes at Grange Loan.
Scotland skipper Preston Mommsen (69) and predecessor Gordon Drummond (41) guided Carlton to 230 for eight.
Mommsen then dominated with the ball with a five-for as ’Sonians were shot out for 194.
Grange completed one of their easiest-ever wins against neighbours Heriot’s at Raeburn Place, skittling them for 105 and reaching the target at the cost of only one wicket.
And SMRH inflicted a fresh dose of misery on Stoneywood-Dyce at Inverleith.