Cricket: Petrie plays down prospect of Arbroath ending on top

ARBROATH skipper Marc Petrie has scoffed at suggestions that his side are now hot favourites to land the Eastern Premiership honours.

Granges John Blain defends a delivery from Carltons Alasdair Evans at Raeburn Place. Picture: Ian Georgeson

He delivered his cautious verdict immediately after leading them to the top of the table with only two matches left in the campaign, though he admitted he could not have written a more pleasing script.

While Arbroath were demolishing Heriot’s at Goldenacre, previous pacesetters Grange were being slapped down by capital rivals Carlton at Raeburn Place.

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The captain said: “It was an excellent Saturday for us, but the job is far from being over.

“We have extremely tough matches to deal with against Forfarshire and Watsonians and there is scope for plenty to happen over the next fortnight.

“Lots of hard work is still required if we are to be in with a shout and nothing will be taken for granted.”

On the victory over Heriot’s, Petrie stated: “Brendon Ford and Jack Waller gave us the ideal platform by hitting half- centuries.

“Then a fine stand by Fraser Burnett and Harris Carnegie against a good spin attack enabled us to reach 245 for eight.

“Our opening bowlers – Brendon and Matthew Hurst – hit their marks immediately, as they have been doing over the past few weeks, and the momentum was carried on by the rest of the attack.”

The hosts were bundled out for 79, with Waller and Hurst each snapping up three scalps.

Heriot’s captain Keith Morton said: “Arbroath’s fate is in their hands now, so they would have to be favourites.

“They have a great continuity spirit which other sides lack. I think that has played a big part in getting them into this position.”

Along the road, the decisive moments came at the launch of Carlton’s response to a tally of 140.

Grange’s hopes were effectively ended when Fraser Watts and Roy McCloy smashed 33 from the first three overs sent down by John Blain and Raj Rotary.

The grit and experience of Watts (42 not out) shone through as he remained at the crease until victory was achieved – Scotland skipper Preston Mommsen completing a brisk unbeaten 50.

Forfarshire skipper Craig Wallace bounced back to prime batting form by whacking 128 against Watsonians. But his effort wasn’t enough to stave off a high-scoring defeat at Myreside.

Matthew Parker chipped in with 60 as Shire cruised to 284 for seven before Andrew Chalmers (83 not out) and Andrew Fraser-Harris (82) stole the limelight with a stand of 148.

Elsewhere, the absence of newly wed skipper Safyaan Sharif was barely noticed when Falkland routed Stoneywood-Dyce at Scroggie Park – thanks mainly to a remarkable spell of seven for 13 by Ben Strachan.

And at Inverleith, a hat-trick from Harsha Cooray was the highlight of Aberdeenshire’s expected win against whipping- boys RH Corstorphine.