Grange and Heriot’s see title hopes dented as Watsonians prevail

Andy McKay scored just 11 with the bat but was the star with the ball, taking 4-12
Andy McKay scored just 11 with the bat but was the star with the ball, taking 4-12
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Watsonians captain Dewald Nel has praised the way his side bounced back from a poor batting display to defeat Mazars Grange in the CSL Eastern Premiership on Saturday.

The dramatic result in a low scoring and rain hit encounter at Myreside is a big blow to Grange’s title challenge.

Fellow title hopefuls Heriot’s were also defeated at Glenrothes and Arbroath’s win over Tayside Group Forfarshire means Arbroath are in the driving seat to finish top.

With Ewan Chalmers unavailable former Scotland seamer Nel was in charge of Watsonians for the derby and they batted first.

Things did not start well for them, Andrew Fraser-Harris falling to Gordon Goudie for five.

James Tapper then got into the action to have Mike Carson caught for 15 by Andrew Brock and when Greg Brown went Sonians were wobbling on 27-3.

George Munsey and Aman Bailwal put together a 20-run partnership, but they fell to John Blain, who was making his first appearance of the summer, and Brock respectively.

Young Matthew Brian was the next batsman out and although Nel dug in for 18 and Andy McKay 11 the home side limped to 97 all out in less than 34 overs.

The four bowlers used by Grange – Goudie, Tapper, Brock and Blain – all took wickets with Brock leading the way with 4-22 and 38-year-old Blain taking three scalps.

Watsonians knew they needed early wickets if they were to have any chance of winning the game – and they got them.

Opening bowlers McKay and Bailwal blew away the visiting top order and when captain Preston Mommsen was out for 12, caught behind by wicketkeeper George Munsey off McKay, they were 39-7.

Then the rain came and play was postponed for a couple of hours.

When they did get back out to the pitch it was after 7pm and Grange needed a revised 93 to win.

However, the Watsonians bowlers stayed on top and bowled them all out for 64 to win by 28 runs via DLS.

McKay was the star with 4-12 to put him on 22 league wickets for the summer and Nel said: “We knew that 97 was not a great total, but what I said to the guys at the interval was ‘we have 97 runs on the board and they have 0, so let’s put the pressure on from ball one and see what happens’.

“And I cannot fault the way the guys bowled, we didn’t give Grange any easy runs and then, after the long rain delay, we came back well and finished things off.”

In Fife, Heriot’s captain Mark Watt marked his 21st birthday with 5-40 as the visitors restricted the hosts to 174-9 from their 50 overs. But in reply Heriot’s could only make 115-9 as they lost by 50 overs via DLS.

A superb century by Shaylen Pillay helped SMRH to defeat Falkland and they now look likely to stay up in the top flight.

Batting first at Inverleith, the 123 not out from South African Pillay allowed the hosts to post 219-7.

In a rain-hit reply Falkland made 62-3 as SMRH defeated the bottom side by 22 runs via DLS. SMRH captain Greg Ruthven said: “Shaylen batted very well and when we got their pro [Harsha Cooray] out I felt we were in a good position to go on and win.

“It has been a while since we won and I have been out, so it was just good to be out there with the lads and get that winning feeling back again.”

Carlton’s bowlers were on fire at Mannofield to defeat Aberdeenshire. The Grange Loan men bowled their opponents out for just 44, Ruari Macpherson taking 3-2.

In reply Carlton got home with seven wickets to spare.

Bailiie Gifford ESCA Championship leaders RH Corstorphine bowled out Gala for just 16 in an easy win.