Cricket: Watsonians clinical in defeat of the Dons

CAPITAL clubs hold down the top three places in Scottish cricket's premiership today with Watsonians and Carlton jointly trailing Grange.

For the Myresiders, maintaining a challenge meant producing a clinical performance to dismiss Aberdeenshire for 90 runs in just over 23 overs.

But for Kiwi pro Tim Weston there was still a bit of "grinding" to be done before the target was achieved in the 19th over.

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Weston, from New Plymouth, was 23 not out as Watsonians chased down the total with six wickets remaining. He said: "Sometimes chasing a total like that can be more nervy than chasing, say, 200.

"If guys lack the necessary intent and forget to play their shots, before you know it you can lose two or three quick wickets and it all builds into a nervous situation. We said 'be positive because there are 50 overs to get the runs' and so it was just a matter of grinding it out."

After a solid opening stand between Michael Parlane (16) and Shaun Coetzer (12), the Dons were dramatically taken apart by the in-swing of Steve Paige and Stuart Chalmers' out-swing deliveries.

Surprisingly given the oppressive conditions, Aberdeenshire opted to bat.

Weston added: "It was certainly in our favour that some cloud cover came over and helped make the ball swing."

Watsonians sensibly stuck with their seam attack throughout and in becoming only the second premiership bowler to take six wickets in an innings this season, Paige was indebted to some sharp fielding with all six catches being snapped up behind the stumps either by keeper Euan Stubbs or in the slips.

"It is always important for sides to bowl well in pairs and that's exactly what we did," said Weston. "There is always going to be somebody that gets the wickets but at the other end is also somebody doing a lot of work also.

"We had that early on through the combination of left-armer Mike Legget combining superbly with Paddy Saddler.

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"Then there was Paigey's in-swing and Stuart Chalmers' out-swing at opposite ends.

"I don't think there were any demons in the wicket. But, confronted by that pair – and especially the way Steve was getting the ball to swing late – it's difficult for any side to get the ball away."

At one stage Paige dismissed Kevin Reid and Chris Burnett to stand on a hat-trick during his eventual spell of 6-20 from just 6.3 overs while Paddy Saddler also came within a wicket of a notable treble when he had Shaun Coetzer and Matthew Cross out to successive balls.

It was, ultimately, a tame surrender by Aberdeenshire with wickets falling steadily.

In the Watsonians reply, James Easton claimed three of the 18 boundaries hit throughout the match as an opening stand of 25 with Ryan Flannigan signalled the home intent not to hang about.

When Flannigan departed for seven, Weston arrived and contributed another fluent knock in being joined by first Ewan Chalmers and then namesake Stuart Chalmers before Craig Wright arrived to seal the victory.

"We now have momentum and in many ways it is refreshing for me to come across as a pro and find myself playing with lads who devote themselves to a couple of two-and-a-half-hour training sessions as well as a weekend match," said Weston.

"As a pro, you can find yourself in a bubble removed from the reality of club cricket."

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A qualified PE teacher who turned 28 yesterday, Weston hopes to return home this winter and step up a quest for representative honours based on his experiences of different conditions and having already captained Central Districts.

Weston, who is averaging 205 from his last three innings, said: "Once you have momentum like we have there is still a need to keep working hard and preparing mentally.

"So much the better if you can do it while having the type of fun we are. It's every player's dream to represent his country and I'm no different.

"I've tried to organise myself that I have a teaching degree behind me to fall back on.

"Having succeeded there I can hopefully benefit from being more relaxed about fulfilling my obligations in the knowledge that it isn't make-or-break for me career-wise in the sense I have to succeed for a livelihood.

"The whole experience here in Scotland, including taking on a type of cricketing responsibility which is new to me, can hopefully pay dividends.

"In a relatively small country like New Zealand, if a batsman is putting runs on the board it usually isn't long before somebody takes a look but you have to get those runs first.

"At home, cricket is the main summer sport whereas here I will meet people who don't know we are playing. But the right structures are being put in place and consequently good players like Watsonians' Ewan Chalmers and Paddy Saddler are coming through."

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Meanwhile, the main challengers to leaders Grange are likely to emerge on Saturday when Carlton and Watsonians clash at Grange Loan.