STONEYWOOD-DYCE may have won only two league matches during the campaign – but they did it when it mattered.
That was the view of all-rounder Michael Leask as he looked back on his side’s remarkable Eastern Premiership act of survival. SD were long odds to snatch the victory they needed on Saturday against Carlton on enemy territory to remain in the top flight.
But they pulled off one of the shock results of the season to send SMRH hurtling down to the First Division. Their only other win was on the opening day of the summer.
Scotland star Leask admitted he was thrilled and relieved in equal measure, saying: “This proves why we are in this division.”
Leask emerged as one of the prime stars of the Grange Loan upset. Hamish Gardiner (89) and Kyle Macpherson (60) had propelled the hosts to a lofty 251 for nine and even the most diehard SD followers offered little hope of their side mounting a meaningful challenge.
But Leask smashed a superb 88 to carry the Aberdonians to the finish line with more than six overs and five wickets in hand.
He was given stout support by Ally Gill (64) and Jan Stander (36) but it was the bowling of Elton Willemse that impressed Leask most.
He added: “He was top drawer to take four scalps and there was tight stuff from Henk Conradie.
“Then Ally and George Ninan got our reply off to the perfect start, with Jan keeping up the momentum. When I went to the crease we were slightly behind the rate and thankfully I was able to hit my straps right away and hustled the game back in our favour.”
It was party time at Lochlands, where Arbroath were presented with the championship trophy. And there was no letting up on the field as they easily completed the league double over Grange.
Craig Ramsay laid the foundations for Arbroath’s win thanks to a cheap four-wicket haul, curbing Grange to 139. Then Hamish Bartlett (61 not out) guided them to a five-wicket win in the 26th over.
Ewan Chalmers signed off the season in spectacular fashion by hitting 105 to set up an emphatic 102-run win for Watsonians over Heriot’s at Goldenacre. Dewald Nel was also in great nick with the ball, snapping up five for 24.