Watsonians closer to title as Carlton overcome Forfarshire

Watsonians have all but secured the title as the Eastern Premier campaign heads towards its final month of action.

Forfarshire captain Craig Wallace dives for the crease on his way to scoring 46, as the ball evades Carlton wicketkeeper Rory McCann. Picture: Toby Williams
Forfarshire captain Craig Wallace dives for the crease on his way to scoring 46, as the ball evades Carlton wicketkeeper Rory McCann. Picture: Toby Williams

That was the widespread verdict in the wake of events at the weekend, particularly from Falkland, the team who were thrashed by the apparent champions elect, and Carlton, the only side that can realistically maintain a challenge.

While Watsonians were running riot at Scroggie Park, Forfarshire’s bid to keep up with the top two was dented as they crashed to Carlton in the capital.

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Victorious veteran batsman Fraser Watts said: “It was a good solid win against a strong Shire line-up, but I honestly can’t see Watsonians throwing it away now.

“The title is theirs to lose – however, if they do show signs of slipping up in August, we will be ready to capitalise.

“We have a few very tough games during the run-in and we will be without a few frontline stars, but we won’t be happy sitting back and settling for the runners-up slot.

“The big bonus this season for us has been the number of home-grown lads who have made a big impression by contributing regularly.

“Cheeky Gosain was brilliant again at the weekend and Calum Everett has proved his worth every time he has played. If we do achieve something special this summer, it will be down to teamwork.”

Gosain snatched the key wicket of Forfarshire captain Craig Wallace for 46, while Ali Evans got rid of player-coach Graeme Beghin for a duck as they were shot out for 191.

Rory McCann then led the chase with 67, paving the way for the hosts to cruise to glory with more than ten overs and five wickets to spare.

Former New Zealand Test seamer Andy McKay was again in stunning form for Watsonians in Fife.

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The visitors had a far from easy first knock, posting a tally of 183 for nine, but McKay ran riot after the tea break, claiming five cheap scalps as Falkland collapsed to 36 all out.

Host stalwart Ryan Hepburn said: “Our performance was an embarrassment – yet again our batting was simply not good enough. We had Sonians on the ropes after we took five wickets, but they knuckled down and batted with real intent to finish with a decent total.

“Sonians are a very good all-round squad with a great team spirit. They fight for each other, playing no-fear cricket and backing themselves. I am sure they can go on to win the league.”

Arbroath returned to winning ways in the competition by demolishing Glenrothes at Lochlands.

Robbie Wright was the only Glens man to pass the 30-mark as they limped to 163, with Craig Ramsay taking four for 44.

The Fifers made an 
early breakthrough to send Ross McLean packing, but there were no further breakthroughs as Arbroath captain Marc Petrie (73 not out) and Fraser Burnett (70), completed the pursuit in the 26th over.

Stoneywood-Dyce skipper Shaun Coetzer insisted his strugglers will not give up their battle against relegation, in spite of another morale-busting defeat, their 11th on the trot.

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Kevin McLaren emerged as the destroyer-in-chief at Peoples Park, his urgent 86 propelling Heriot’s to 256 for six in only 28 overs.

Pro Breyden Stepien (68) made the Edinburgh outfit briefly toil for their 91-run success, but the depth of support was just not there.

Coetzer said: “We have to believe that we can make a change and win a game, otherwise there is no point in playing.

“We understand that it has been the consistency of our performance throughout games which has cost us.

“We have generally showed through about 20 or 30 overs each game that we can compete but then let things slip out of our hands by either missing a couple of half chances or making bad decisions through shot selection.”

Heriot’s ace McLaren said: “It was a bit of a mismatch in truth. However, with the game being reduced to 28 overs, things can level out.

“Hayes van der Berg and I managed to make a century stand and it looked at one stage as if we’d get 280 off our 28, but we lost a few wickets in clusters.”