GIFT OF BAT HAS EASTON HITTING OUT IN FINE STYLE

Big wicket: The early wicket of George Munsey gave Watsonians encouragement. Picture: Jane Barlow

Big wicket: The early wicket of George Munsey gave Watsonians encouragement. Picture: Jane Barlow

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Normally it is the bride and groom who receive wedding presents but in-form batsman James Easton is revelling in a gift from honeymooning Watsonian colleague, Dewald Nel.

The 32-year-old was unbeaten for the third successive innings as he continued to make hay with a bat presented to him by Saltires star Nel.

“Everything just seems to have clicked for me and the team,” said Easton following Sonians’ three-wicket victory over Barclays Grange at Raeburn Place in which he played the anchor innings of 55 not out.

“Dewald was kind enough to give me the use of a bat that was originally meant for him and things have gone really well,” he added with a degree of understatement.

In fact, Easton notched 22 not out in a win over Arbroath when the East Premiership emerged from a series of Scottish Cup ties three weeks ago. Following 
up he smacked a career best 103 not out against SMRH nine days ago while the latest win at Grange had a special resonance.

“Earlier this season, in a Murgitroyd Masterton twenty:20 tie I was run out at Grange without scoring.

“So, it was good to return and show what I could do helped enormously by Andrew Chalmers (27) who played a key innings as well.”

In fact, the Chalmers-Easton pairing had put on 90 the previous week and the 40 partnership against Grange was no less vital in a low scoring game where the hosts had been bundled out for 155 after winning the toss.

Within that 40 partnership was an over from the otherwise consistent Chris Sole which yielded 13 runs including a Chalmers six – a real turning point in the proceedings.

“Andrew is really proving his ability after overcoming injuries and one difference in my own game is the way I am successfully battling my brain in order to remain disciplined,” laughed Easton who has long been recognised as a major talent capable of exceedingly quick runs.

Whereas last week’s century came off 99 balls, Easton’s 50 required 102 but, again, had to be seen in the context of a greenish wicket where the ball was inclined to seam around.

That partially explained why Grange struggled to develop any momentum, only Gregor Maiden (38) really resisting.

However, Stuart Chalmers weighed in with the first three wickets and newcomer Brendan O’Connell, who pitched up unannounced at his neighbourhood club a few weeks ago on moving to Edinburgh, claimed a brace in continuing to prove a useful acquisition.

“Getting George Munsey early really gave us encouragement. We’ve noted how he has been among the runs recently,” said Easton, whose knock was chanceless but who credited Josh Edwards as a major threat in the home attack. “Keeping Grange to under 200 was our initial target so to be chasing 155 was a bit of a bonus.”

The winning tally was achieved with two overs to spare and appropriately came from an Easton boundary, his fourth in all.

Although this was a fifth straight win for the Myresiders, Easton knows it has come too late with three games remaining. “Realistically we have paid the price for an indifferent start partly caused by injuries,” he said.

“However, with third place Carlton awaiting us on Saturday and second place Aberdeenshire at home the following weekend we could have a major say in the destination of the title we won last year.”

Leaders Arbroath are now solid favourites and elsewhere Carlton lost in the final over to an Aberdeenshire side who chased down 222 while Heriot’s were too strong for SMRH at Inverleith.

Adam Lockhart-Krause (74), Cam Farrell (55) and Richard Cummine (47 no) piled on the pressure as Heriot’s reached 292-4.

In the reply captain Greg Bisset had a half century but that wasn’t nearly enough, spinner Keith Morton helping himself to four wickets for Heriot’s.

In the First Division RH Corstorphine beat Glenrothes by eight wickets while Penicuik lost at Dundee High.