Stoneywood-Dyce see of Watsonians to silence doubters

Carlton's Arun Pillai hits out on his way to 50 in the win over Stewart's Melville at Grange Loan. Picture: Neil Hanna.
Carlton's Arun Pillai hits out on his way to 50 in the win over Stewart's Melville at Grange Loan. Picture: Neil Hanna.
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Many observers were fearful about the future of Stoneywood-Dyce in the wake of their relegation from the top flight a couple of seasons ago.

But it would appear that the doubters were wrong – certainly if the first two weeks of the season are any yardstick.

On opening day they claimed the away day scalp of Carlton, then on Saturday – to prove that result was no flash in the pan – they saw off the challenge of Watsonians at Peoples Park.

No-one was more satisfied than former Scotland all-rounder Jan Stander, pictured, the club’s playing president.

Stander said: “We are really happy to be in this position. We produced a disciplined bowling performance in tough conditions to gain the upper hand.

“The batting was not so good – several of us, including me, got a start and then failed to build on it. But it is very encouraging to get wins under our belt when we are not playing to our potential.

“We have worked hard on and off the field over the past two winters and it is great to see the younger players stepping up with a mix of experienced heads to guide them.

“We will go into every match with self belief but remain grounded. The campaign is at a very early stage and we have lots to improve upon.”

Sonians had failed to recover from the early loss of Andy Learmonth and Andy Hislop as they reached 154 for eight.

Stander and Co passed the target mark with eight balls and three wickets to spare.

Also not getting carried away following two wins out of two is Forfarshire skipper Umair Mohammed, whose all-round skills came to the fore as they earned local derby glory over Arbroath at Lochlands.

Mohammed chuckled: “It seems there is a bit left in the old tank!

“It was a fantastic victory over our local rivals on a difficult pitch. We managed to grind out a total in excess of 200 and then the bowlers played their part.

“But most importantly, we held on to some very hard catches at crucial moments.”

Mohammed added: “Yes, we are delighted with the start we have made, but it is far too soon to think about where we might be at the tail end of the season. The old cliche rings true and we will just take one game at a time.”

The visitors were in early bother as Craig Wallace and Chris Greaves departed cheaply. But Michael Leask (49) and Mohammed (52) provided the backbone of the innings of 226 for eight. Youngster Daniel Salmond was the pick of the home attack as he took three for 19 off seven overs.

Arbroath were moving nicely at 71 for one, only for Hayden Laing (24) and Matty Parker to perish in quickfire order.

Mohammed proceeded to rip out the middle order with five for 26 – sending the hosts hurtling to 136 all out.

Dylan Budge’s 86 was the highlight of Grange’s 64-run success over Aberdeenshire at Mannofield .

Heriot’s also remain unbeaten, thanks to their 26-run victory against RH Corstorphine at Barnton, despite another accomplished half century by Elliot Foster.

And it was one-way traffic at Grange Loan, where Carlton demolished Stewart’s Melville by 186 runs. Scotland seamer Ali Evans grabbed four for 19 as the visitors slid to 98 all out.