Cricket: Fielding excellence boosts Grange

PACESETTERS Grange held off champions Aberdeenshire and the elements to further boost their quest to capture the Eastern Premiership crown.

Michael Yellowlees during RH Corstorphines innings against Heriots. Picture: Toby Williams
Michael Yellowlees during RH Corstorphines innings against Heriots. Picture: Toby Williams

In a Mannofield contest which was frustratingly punctuated by rain interruptions, the Edinburgh outfit deserved their success. And their satisfaction was enhanced by the fact that it was achieved in spite of the absence of player-coach John Blain.

Aberdeenshire suffered at the hands of a superb fielding display by Grange, who pulled off no fewer than four run outs during the hosts’ attempt to reach the amended target of 129.

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Victorious skipper Andrew Brock declared: “The last two weeks have been huge for us. To go to Carlton and Aberdeenshire and come away with wins has been fantastic, but we know the job isn’t even half done.

“We want to keep on setting high standards for ourselves and make the other teams chase us.

“When we went out after the last rain break, our fielding was top-notch – the best of the year.

“The scorecard doesn’t show the great stops and throws from the deep that put the pressure on to instigate the risky runs. I couldn’t have asked for more from the boys.”

Meanwhile, Calvin Burnett cited “togetherness and teamwork” as the key qualities behind Arbroath’s decisive triumph over Forfarshire in the big Angus derby at Forthill.

Shire had come out on top in the pre-season friendly between the neighbours, but the Lochlands troops got it right when it really mattered to remain among the leading pack in the race for the Eastern Premiership crown.

And in a line-up featuring a selection of high-achievers over the past few weeks, it was Burnett jnr’s turn to snatch the limelight.

He struck a superb unbeaten 92 in less than perfect conditions to lay the foundations for the triumph.

Then Craig Ramsay and Elton Willemse did the business with the ball to put a seal on the emphatic 143-run winning margin.

Burnett, who outgunned brother Fraser (50), said: “It really was a massive result for us, especially on their turf. The lads just know how to work in an atmosphere of togetherness and good teamwork always enhances your chances.

“I was delighted with my own performance as well. It was certainly my best knock of the season.

“Craig bowled another excellent spell, with Elton contributing handsomely – that is what killed the game.

“We were clinical and professional.”

The efforts of the Burnett siblings propelled Arbroath to 275 for six, before Ramsay (four for 41) and Willemse (three for 25) ruled out any prospect of a rally by the hosts.

In fact, no Forfarshire batsman was able to break through the 30-barrier as they crumbled to 132 all out.

It was also a wretched day for Falkland, who were routed to the tune of ten wickets by Carlton at Scroggie Park.

Only one man made it to double figures in the total of 52, as the visiting pacemen Ally Evans and Tom Freshwater ran riot with combined figures of six for 28 off 15.1 overs.

Freshwater then donned the pads to complete the slaughter in tandem with Hamish Gardiner, the pair taking only 48 deliveries to reach the target.

It was another weekend of misery for Watsonians and RH Corstorphine at the wrong end of the table.

New Heriot’s captain Keith Morton boasted a haul of six for 18 to keep RHC to 163 at Goldenacre.

Then Kevin McLaren, fit again after a serious knee injury, struck 54 not out to guide the home team to victory by five wickets.

And Sonians came a cropper at the hands of Stoneywood-Dyce at Peoples Park as they slid to 166 all out in response to 219 for nine.