Frontrunners Arbroath and Grange maintained their unbeaten records to set themselves up for an intriguing head-to-head on Saturday – which could be seen as an early indicator of where the title may end up.
Grange were in particularly clinical mood as they demolished SMRH at Inverleith, with current skipper Preston Mommsen and his predecessor Andrew Brock emerging as the destroyers-in-chief.
Mommsen warmed up for his Scotland comeback later this week with a superb 110 to propel the visitors to 267 for four in 44 overs.
He was well supported by Dylan Budge (58 not out). Brock then bagged five for 12 to send SMRH hurtling to a miserable 32 all out in the 21st over.
Elliot Ruthven top scored with 11 – featuring a six and a four.
Remarkably, in such a low tally, only one duck was recorded, while no fewer than six batsmen were dismissed with two runs to their names.
SMRH scorer Neil Leitch put on a brave face, quipping: “At least it wasn’t our worst batting display of the season – we were all out for 25 against Carlton in the Scottish Cup.”
Stand-in skipper Ross McLean emerged as the main man as Arbroath squeezed out Watsonians to earn revenge for their cup defeat.
McLean hit a solid 90 to lay the foundations of their 241 for seven.
Then his frugal display of spin bowling pegged back the capital brigade just as George Munsey threatened to snatch the glory.
McLean and Co made sure of the ten-run win after Munsey perished at the hands of Brendon Ford for 93.
The stirring revival of champions Carlton was stepped up with a comprehensive 116-run victory over Heriot’s at Grange Loan.
Half-centuries from Al Shah and Fraser Watts proved crucial for the home troops, whose attack then prevented a single Heriot’s batsman from passing the 20-mark.
Aberdeenshire may have halted the rot to kick-start their Eastern Premiership campaign, but there was no sense of jubilation from skipper Chris Venske.
The Mannofield men battled their way to home-turf success in a weather-blighted tussle with basement boys Falkland.
However, Venske insisted the result did not represent a total revival.
After their first win since the opening day of the season, the captain insisted: “It was far from the best game of cricket we’ve played.
“There were a lot of mistakes all round.
“Fielding, we gave them 25 too many, and on the batting front we played far too many poor shots.
“Thankfully, we got across the line and achieved what we came out to do and get the ten points. In truth, we made a meal of it along the way.”
It was former Aberdeenshire pro Harsha Cooray who threatened to hog the limelight after the Fifers surprisingly opted to bat first.
His dogged 84 enabled them to reach 175 for nine in their 50 overs.
The hosts were then challenged to pass the revised target off 142, which they did with six wickets down.
Calum Martin held his nerve to steer Aberdeenshire past the winning post with 20 not out.
Forfarshire picked up their first league win of the season at the expense of Glenrothes in another rain-affected fixture at Gilvenbank.
Captain Safyaan Shariff struck 69 to guide Glens to 202 for seven, Umair Mohammed snapping up four of their scalps.
Forfs lost wickets on a regular basis, but they dug deep to pass the amended target.