Mazars Grange and Heriot’s had their opponents in a spin on Saturday as the CSL Eastern Premier Division title chasers both recorded victories to maintain their battle for silverware.
After the respective victories over RH Corstorphine and Glenrothes, Grange hold a slender advantage over Heriot’s at the summit with three weeks of the regular season remaining.
This coming weekend Grange host Arbroath while Heriot’s make the trip to Myreside to take on Watsonians.
Then on August 18 the two top sides will meet at Goldenacre, just 24 hours before they play again in the Citylets Scottish Cup final in Paisley.
However, in sport you can never look too far ahead and all Heriot’s knew at the weekend just gone was that they could not afford to slip up against a team in Glenrothes who are fighting for their lives against relegation.
And the Goldenacre men left nothing to chance, stand-in skipper Hayes van der Berg winning the toss on home turf and bowling first.
From the off, led by good spells by Van der Berg and James Hearn, Heriot’s had too much quality for the bedraggled Fifers. By the time the spinners Michael Shean and Ryan Brown got involved the visitors were in real trouble and, amazingly, the latter finished up with figures of 5-1 as Glenrothes were bowled out for just 50.
Elnathan Meiri then hit 30 not out in reply as Heriot’s won by 10 wickets.
The game may not have been the test the Heriot’s players wanted with tougher matches to come, but at this stage victories are all that matter.
Reflecting on the game which was over by 3pm, Van der Berg said: “I was really pleased with the attitude the guys showed.
“Despite Glenrothes being bottom, they still possess some dangerous players, but the way we bowled up top set the tone.
“I am pleased for Ryan Brown getting five wickets because last year when we won the league and this year again he has been one of our most consistent performers. He often gets two or three wickets, but has been unlucky at times not to take five so this performance should give him confidence heading into the run-in.
“We know we have a big double header with Grange coming up in the league and cup, but we are certainly not looking any further than the Watsonians game.”
Grange were presented with a tougher test by mid-table Corstorphine and again it was spin bowling that helped them to triumph at Portgower Place.
Batting first the league leaders got off to a solid start thanks to half centuries from Ryan Flannigan (58) and skipper Preston Mommsen (69).
That took their total up to 140 before Dylan Budge weighed in with 45 and Neil McCallum made 32 as they finished on 226-8. The visitors bowled well, Majid Haq the pick of them with figures of 1-22 from 10 overs.
Experienced seamers Stuart Davidson and John Blain kept things tight up top in Corstorphine’s reply, taking three wickets between them to leave the visitors 25-3.
From there Eastern Knights captain Andrew Brock and teenager Charlie Peet took control, the spin duo taking 4-14 and 3-7 respectively as the men from East Barnton Avenue were 79 all out.
The way Stewart’s Melville College pupil Peet has adapted to playing senior cricket this summer has been a major positive.
Meanwhile, Stewart’s Melville now face a big game against Glenrothes this coming weekend after the second bottom side lost at home to Carlton.
Rory McCann’s 90, a 79 from Arun Pillai and four wickets from Shiv Gupta led the way for Carlton in the 173 run win.
Watsonians are safe after a victory at Arbroath.
Half centuries from skipper Ewan Chalmers and Andy Hislop along with three wickets from Olly Brown got them over the line.