Stoneywood-Dyce skipper Shaun Coetzer has endured a string of frustrating weekends since the start of the club’s transitional season – but none more so that their latest defeat at the hands of fellow strugglers Falkland.
The narrow two-wicket loss on a challenging track at Scroggie Park leaves Coetzer and Co with a massive battle in the second half of the campaign to remain in the top flight.
He said: “It was disappointing that we couldn’t get over the line – we had our chances to close them out, but couldn’t make the most of them on what I rate a poor surface, to say the least.
“We played some unwise shots, then compounded the issue by bowling 27 wides, which effectively cost us the game, with all bowlers affected.
“Credit to Andrew McLaren, who made it look like a completely different wicket as he made an excellent half century.
“It was a great innings on any track, but on that one it was extra special.
“Our total of 120 would probably equate to more than 270 on the types of wickets we have been accustomed to. From the bowling point of view, Matt Brown bowled well. After his first over, he was consistent and caused a lot of trouble, taking the pace off to just above a spinner’s pace.”
Wicketkeeper McLaren’s gutsy knock came to an end when his stumps were shattered by Scotland all-rounder Safyaan Sharif, leaving the Fifers needing 125.
And with the response on 40 for five, the picture had looked optimistic for SD – only for the hosts to scramble to the target with nine balls left.
Falkland bowler Ryan Hepburn stated: “It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win and that is all that mattered. The track was tricky, but it was the same for both teams, and credit to the ground staff for working so hard to get the match on.”
Arbroath’s revival hit the buffers at Myreside when they were snuffed out by Watsonians, who jumped to the top of the table – thanks to Forfarshire’s stumble at home to Heriot’s.
An unbeaten century by pro Graeme Beghin propelled the Broughty Ferry boys to 262 for six, only for Mark Watt (61 not out), Peter Ross (49) and Hayes van der Berg (47) to steer the visitors to a surprise success.
Beghin was in no mood to celebrate his latest ton, insisting Heriot’s were worthy winners.
He added: “The basics let us down and our lack of training because of the weather shone through.
“Heriot’s were very strong on the day and deserved the points. I also have to pay tribute to the Forfs management and army of volunteers who spent so much time and effort sweeping water off the square to allow us to play 99 overs of cricket.”
Arbroath batsman Fraser Burnett was impressed with the talent in the Watsonians line-up but insisted it was too early to label them favourites to land the title. Burnett said: “They are a good side, with Andy Mackay a very strong bowler up top.
“We were a bit unlucky, balls chipping up just past fielders and decisions not going our way.
“I think it will be close at the end of the season. Several teams are very evenly balanced.
“I think I would still tip Grange to come good, especially when coach John Blain starts playing more regularly – plus, they have a very strong batting line up.”
Ewan Chalmers (91) and Ben O’Connell (71) inspired Sonians to reach 271, Calvin Burnett and Craig Ramsay sharing seven scalps. Fraser (45) and brother Calvin (35) top scored for Arbroath, but they slid to 181 all out – Ben O’Connell bagging a five-for.
Aberdeenshire’s woes deepened as they crashed to Carlton at Grange Loan.
Fraser Watts (54) guided the capital men home by six wickets.