Kevin McLaren hits crucial knock despite injury

KEVIN McLaren told yesterday how he batted through the pain barrier to help Heriot’s surge to their first Premiership success of the season.

Corstorphines Kevin Meier is bowled during his sides dramatic collapse against Carlton. Picture: Andrew OBrien
Corstorphines Kevin Meier is bowled during his sides dramatic collapse against Carlton. Picture: Andrew OBrien

The former Scotland squad man collapsed in agony at the Goldenacre crease after sustaining a dislocated kneecap.

McLaren refused to depart from the middle – and bravely ignored the acute discomfort to claim a crucial half-century in the demolition job on Stoneywood-Dyce.

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He said: “I swivelled in an attempt to pull a short ball, only for my studs to stick in the turf and my back leg just folded under me. I was on 49 at the time, so I opted to stay put – and hit the next delivery for six!

“I then limped my way to a single, but the pain was getting worse and I skied the following one and was caught.”

Sean Weeraratna also smashed a quickfire unbeaten 50 to propel Heriot’s to 284-8 before the northerners were disposed of for only 139. New captain Keith Morton was the chief destroyer with the ball, mopping up the tail to end with five for 45.

Falkland also put an opening-day loss behind them as they snuffed out the challenge of Watsonians at Myreside. But spokesman Ryan Hepburn believes curbs imposed on skipper and opening bowler Safyaan Sharif could have scuppered the chances of the Fifers.

Hepburn revealed Scotland chiefs had ordered the paceman to bowl only six overs to avoid any fitness worries ahead of the regional Pro Series.

He said: “I suppose the positive aspect was that we proved we can finish off teams without him. But you pick a line-up every week assuming your top players are able to fully perform. These restrictions just don’t make sense.

“The 13-over rule was brought in to have our best bowlers running in for longer spells – but then they stop them doing this.

“The majority of clubs asked to go back to ten overs, yet it was the national performance coaches insisted on keeping it at 13. We got the job done, and credit is due to Craig Hepburn, who hit 30 not out to get us over the line after a last-minute call-up from the seconds.”

Sonians stumbled to 145 all out, with Falkland scraping the win by two wickets. Champions Aberdeenshire were indebted to Kenny Reid as they overcame a major dose of the jitters before snuffing out the challenge of Forfarshire.

The visitors had been on course to snatch a shock win thanks to some excellent cricket from the Sweeney clan. But the resolute Reid halted the rot to steer the Dons over the line by three wickets. First, a brilliant catch at mid-off by Dale Sweeney accounted for the hosts’ prolific overseas ace Hayes van den Berg for only one as they chased 150.

Then brother Liam snapped up three middle-order wickets in quick succession to leave the home side toiling. However, Reid (49 not out) held his nerve to complete the comeback.

Grange’s George Munsey delivered a nudge to the Scotland selectors by striking a fine century to inflict a second defeat in succession on Arbroath.

Munsey’s 107 inspired Grange towards a tally of 293 for seven, in which Neil McCallum (62) also starred. Had it not been for a gutsy 93 by Arbroath opener Ross McLean, the gulf would have been even greater.

Carlton again underlined their title credentials by demolishing capital rivals RH Corstorphine, a superb spell of bowling by Omar Ahmad sending the visitors hurtling to 59 all out.

He claimed four wickets at a cost of only five runs in 5.3 overs. Overseas import Roy McCloy also played his part with three for 16. Hamish Gardiner spearheaded the response with 40 not out as Carlton cruised to another notable success in less than 12 overs.