Scottish club cricket returns and Forfarshire launch the defence of their title with a commanding win over Arbroath

Scott Cameron led from the front as Forfarshire launched the defence of their Eastern Premier title with a commanding seven-wicket win over Arbroath.

Chris Aitchison keeps his eye on the ball batting for Heriot's against RH Corstorphine. Picture: John Devlin

The derby encounter at Forthill was the focal point as competitive domestic cricket made a welcome return and the champions showed they may again be the team to beat.

After dismissing Arbroath for just 107, the Broughty Ferry team were in trouble on 2-2 with both openers failing to score.

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There were still jitters in the home changing room when former Scotland skipper Ryan Watson presented Daniel Salmond with his second wicket by pulling a short delivery straight to mid-wicket, leaving Shire wobbling on 31-3.

However, Cameron, appointed captain 14 months ago though only now getting the chance to lead the side, announced his arrival with a boundary as he and the impressive Rory Johnston effected repairs.

Johnston, who survived a couple of half-chances, initially outscored his partner on his way to 41no but Cameron soon warmed to his task, moving to his half-century with a straight six off Craig Ramsay before finishing the match with another boundary off the next delivery to remain unbeaten on 54 and complete his side’s victory in the 27th over.

Earlier, Cameron had made the breakthrough when Darryl Sinclair flashed at a wide delivery and was caught in the covers. It was clearly tough going for the Arbroath batsmen, Jack Plomer taking 24 deliveries to get off the mark, though toughing it out doggedly to go on and make 22. The visitors’ innings, though, was regularly punctuated by the fall of wickets with skipper Marc Petrie’s 25 the top score while Graeme Black was the pick of the Forfarshire bowlers with 5-18.

Elsewhere, Meigle’s keenly anticipated debut in the top flight quickly turned sour as they slumped to 20-5 in the ninth over of their meeting with Stoneywood-Dyce at People’s Park. They were unable to turn things around, crawling to 67 all out before the Aberdonians completed a seven-wicket success.

Heriot’s are among sides expected to challenge for the title but, without their Scotland trio of Matthew Cross, Gavin Main and Adrian Neill, they slipped to defeat against RH Corstorphine in a last-over thriller at Goldenacre.

Ryan Brown top-scored with 36 in Heriot’s’ total of 133, Ally Sadler, James Dickinson and Calum Clarkson each claiming three wickets.

Elliot Ruthven then struck three times to put Corstorphine on the back foot and when Lloyd Brown trumped that tally with 4-25 Heriot’s were firmly in control.

But the visitors’ middle and lower order men dug deep, Caleb Whitefoord the hero with 24no as they won by two wickets.

Grange are another team with the look of potential champions and Jack Jarvis, one of the club’s many talented youngsters, impressed during his side’s win at Carlton. Grange posted 184 before dismissing the Grange Loan side for 134.

Andrew Chalmers hit the season’s first century, a brilliant 84-ball 104 with 1 boundaries and five sixes as Watsonians made 280 at Myreside before dismissing local rivals Stewart’s Melville for 97.