Tom Sole drives Grange closer to Premiership title

GRANGE skipper Andrew Brock hailed the complete performance of his side as they snuffed out the challenge of Forfarshire to take another stride towards the Eastern Premiership crown.

John Blain took vital early wicket. Picture: Contributed

But he also picked out young Tom Sole for special mention in the wake of an all-round display that must have attracted the attention of the Scotland selectors.

First, Sole thumped a quickfire 82 not out at Raeburn Place to propel the hosts to a lofty 288 for five.

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He then shrugged off the tricky bowling conditions to bag a five-wicket haul, sending the Broughty Ferry troops slithering to 171 all out.

Brock said: “It was definitely one of our more complete group performances, with Tom leading the way. All the batsmen did a good job to set up a difficult target and Soley was just brilliant in the final ten overs.

“Some of the shots he played were absolutely outstanding during that crucial period.

“His work with the ball was equally impressive, especially with a wet ball to deal with.

“He thoroughly deserved his five wickets – a top performance from a serious talent.”

While Sole snatched the glory, Brock stressed the importance of the early strike by John Blain that accounted for his former Saltires mate Ryan Watson, who had been seeking his third century in four league outings.

The captain added: “Blainy was delighted with that one. Ryan had been in terrific form, so it was great to get the ball rolling in that manner.

“In terms of winning the title, our destiny is in our own hands. The lads know that, if we win our next four matches, we will come out on top. The equation is very simple.”

Arbroath underlined their status as the chief challengers as they clinically completed the campaign double over champions Aberdeenshire. While most observers reckon the competition is now a clear-cut two-horse race, Arbroath skipper Marc Petrie reckons there is still plenty of scope for some twists and turns in the final month.

He said: “It is too early to narrow it down because Carlton can’t be ruled out. They still have to face Grange and we all have other tough encounters in store.

“In our position, we must focus on ourselves and control the controllable, while also hoping things go our way elsewhere towards the end of August.” Yet again, it was Fraser Burnett who emerged as the man who mattered most against the Dons at Lochlands.

Burnett struck a fine 68 and figured in the decisive stand with Elton Willemse (49 not out) as Arbroath reached the target of 167 with seven wickets and a pile of overs to spare.

Petrie said: “Fraser continued his habit of scoring runs against Aberdeenshire – and long may it continue.

“But a lot of credit must also go to the bowling attack because they kept it very tight and offered them nothing.”

Carlton kept their hopes alive with a demolition job on Stoneywood-Dyce at Grange Loan.

Tom Freshwater was the spearhead with remarkable figures of seven for eight from ten overs as the Northerners were skittled for 74.

The home outfit required only 6.3 overs to complete the eight-wicket rout.

Falklands wavering form took another upward surge in their tense three-run success over Heriot’s at Goldenacre.

And RH Corstorphine remain winless following their 94-run hammering at the hands of Watsonians at Myreside.