Champions Heriot’s suffered their first defeat of the campaign as neighbours Grange grabbed pole position in the Eastern Premier title race yesterday.
The two capital rivals had home advantage in their quest to make it five straight wins and, while Grange made no mistake against Carlton, Heriot’s went down by three wickets to a resurgent Aberdeenshire at Goldenacre.
Only Peter Ross showed the necessary resolve for the home side with a battling half-century as ’Shire’s bowlers restricted the hosts to 206-8, Hirupam Doley leading the way with 3-38. Sri Lankan Akshu Merengnage and Craig Knight then both stroked 53 to secure a win that keeps the Mannofield men firmly in contention.
Grange took advantage to justify their status as title favourites with a commanding 72-run win over Carlton at Portgower Place.
They suffered an early setback when Gordon Goudie fell to his old Scotland team-mate Ali Evans but a century stand between Nick Farrar and Dylan Budge put Grange firmly in control.
Farrar, pictured, made 50 before former Durham youngster Budge showed his class with a superb century while cameos by Preston Mommsen and Neil McCallum hoisted the hosts’ tally to 249-8, despite 4-41 by Evans.
That effort was trumped by home spinner Andrew Brock who claimed a match-winning 6-26 while former Grange man Arun Pillai top-scored for Carlton with 38.
Forfarshire were eight-wicket winners in the Tayside derby at Lochlands where Scotland duo Michael Leask (66no) and Craig Wallace (47no) made light work of the run-chase after Christian Robertson’s devastating 5-20 had restricted Arbroath to 180.
Three RH Corstorphine players hit half-centuries in a total of 289-6 against Stewart’s Melville at Inverleith before Callum Dutia (5-14) and Majid Haq (3-12) spun the visitors to a huge 203-run win.
StewMel remain winless as do Glenrothes who went down as Watsonians broke their duck at Myreside.
Safyaan Sharif hit the game’s top score of 78 as the Fifers posted 230-8 but Mike Carson and Ewan Chalmers responded with 71 and 67 as ’Sonians eased home with six wickets in hand.
THE season may only be five weeks old but already Ferguslie have the look of Western Premier champions after brushing aside Poloc to extend their winning start to the campaign.
They did it the hard way in the Meikleriggs sunshine where, after electing to bat, they lost their first three batsmen with only 20 runs on the board.
However, former Saltires star Omer Hussain led the recovery with an 85-ball half-century before Taimoor Ahmad top-scored with 69.
Ahmad, who defected from Ferguslie to spend last season with yesterday’s visitors, was firmly back in the affections of home fans with yesterday’s display.
Not only did his runs help post a healthy 246-8, he then went on to claim 3-19 as the Paisley team triumphed by 104 runs.
Elsewhere, champions Prestwick flexed their muscles to end the three-game winning run of second top West of Scotland at Henry Thow Oval.
West never recovered from the loss of three early wickets and were bundled out for 107 as Sachin Chaudhary, the league’s leading wicket-taker, added another four to his haul.
Fazal Jawad’s 54 then helped Prestwick cruise home by six wickets with plenty overs in hand.
Uddingston remain poised to launch their own challenge after Mo Awais and Ross Lyons each claimed three wickets in a comfortable 103-run success against winless Dumfries at Bothwell Castle.
Scotland coach Grant Bradburn’s son Tom top-scored with 36 and claimed three wickets as Stirling dug deep to win their second game of the campaign at the expense of Ayr at New Williamfield while Greenock fell ten runs short in a high-scoring thriller at Clydesdale.