DUNDEE HSFP’s hopes of a Scottish Cup giant-killing act were dashed as Grange flexed their muscles at Portgower Place on Saturday.
The cup can be a great leveller, especially in spring, but the Dundonians simply had no answer to a ruthless display which suggests the Edinburgh club will once again be a force to be reckoned with this season.
Certainly Neil McCallum, their captain, had plenty over which to enthuse in the wake of this 262-run victory.
A first century for George Munsey, 83 from Ryan Flannigan and three cheap wickets from Andrew Brock were obvious highlights. However, McCallum was equally impressed with the competitive debut of Chris Sole, son of the former Scotland Grand Slam rugby captain David. Sole has already had representative experience at youth level and McCallum, the former Saltires batsman, would not be surprised if the youngster takes the step up sooner rather than later. Sole claimed three Dundee wickets at a cost of 20 runs and bowled at a pace which took his skipper by surprise.
“We all thought Chris was medium pace but the guys in the slips found themselves taking a step or two back because he was getting the ball through so sharply,” revealed McCallum.
“It was an impressive display and Chris may be a guy that the national selectors want to take a look at.”
Munsey may also fall into that category, a batsman who has improved after spending the winter in New Zealand and who McCallum believes can make a top-order slot his own at Grange.
He did his prospects no harm with a hard-hitting 126, sharing in an opening partnership with Flannigan that took the game away from Dundee.
Josh Edwards, another on the national selectors’ radar, made 30 while McCallum weighed-in with 45 from 29 balls to rub salt in Dundee’s wounds as the total was propelled to 334-4.
The tone of the visitors’ reply was set when Raj Routray had Kenny Kyles caught by Gregor Maiden before a run had been scored and Grange were in no mood to let go of the initiative. Ed Abel Smith and Edwards were also in the wickets before Brock (3-4) and Sole entered the attack to bring Dundee’s reply to an abrupt halt in the 29th over.
McCallum added: “Our guys got a great workout but we know tougher tests lie ahead. It was tough for Dundee but they will be stronger when their overseas guys arrive.”
Indeed, Dundee headed home via Edinburgh Airport where they picked up Australian fast bowler Ben Strachan, while Bhutan international Jigme Singye is due in the country soon.
Elsewhere, the one shock of the day was provided by Drumpellier, who trounced Scottish national champions Watsonians by eight wickets.
Imran Adrees and player-coach Muhammed Ramzan shared nine wickets as last season’s beaten finalists were bundled out for just 55.
Asad Mohammed’s composed 31no made sure of a famous win for the Coatbridge side.
An abundance of low scores among sides batting first emphasised the pitfalls of playing cricket in Scotland in April – especially after such a cold spring.
Poloc made 50, Ferguslie 55, Prestwick 61 and Kelburne 84, meaning there were easy wins for Stoneywood-Dyce, Heriot’s, Carlton and Arbroath. Glenrothres also failed to make triple figures, though their 94 may have been converted into something more substantial had they enjoyed the rub of the green against Aberdeenshire at Mannofield. In the event, no fewer than five lbw verdicts went against them and South African Chris Greaves was left stranded on 48 at the end. Chris Venske, who claimed three of the Fifers’ wickets, then went on to hit an unbeaten 65 as the Dons cruised to an eight-wicket win.
In the same group, Scotland’s Calum MacLeod scored 62 and his young brother Niall 30 in Uddingston’s 64-run success over Stenhousemuir.
New Zealander Fraser Colson marked his Greenock debut with a match-winning 75no against Renfrew after both teams had been kept waiting until mid-afternoon while an umpire fretted over a damp patch on the outfield.
Saltires star Moneeb Iqbal scored 44 and claimed three wickets as Weirs beat Freuchie, while Scott McElnea took 4-30 in Ayr’s win over Penicuik.
Scott Beveridge had identical figures as Dumfries bounced back from their surprise defeat to Ferguslie by beating Falkland at Nunholm. Glasgow’s big two – Clydesdale and West of Scotland – had wins at the expense of capital duo SMRH and Corstorphine, while Matty Parker’s 46 helped Forfarshire edge out Stirling by two wickets at Forthill.