Wicketkeeper Hislop’s 90 crucial in Watsonians win

Harsha Cooray of Aberdeenshire sneaks a shot through against Heriot's. Pic: Steven Scott Taylor
Harsha Cooray of Aberdeenshire sneaks a shot through against Heriot's. Pic: Steven Scott Taylor
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Andy Hislop hit his highest score for Watsonians as the Myresiders chased down a 214-target with more than three overs to spare against Forfarshire in the Eastern Premier Division.

Wicketkeeper Hislop shared a 99-run opening partnership with Andy Learmonth (38) before going on to make an impressive 90, finally falling to a catch four runs short of victory.

What made the innings more remarkable was the fact that Hislop had been averaging just six per match this season.

If Dutch football manager Louis van Gaal’s decision to substitute his goalkeeper prior to a World Cup penalty shoot-out success was a big call, then so, too, was Sonian skipper Ewan Chalmers’ move in promoting Hislop up from middle order.

“Having someone like Andy Hislop stay at the crease for a long period was exactly what we needed,” said a delighted Chalmers, adding: “It isn’t too often a side can chase down over 200 so we have to be pleased.

“In our last two matches, I won the toss and opted to bat which didn’t really come off so, on this occasion, I thought I’d try something different helped by a bit of cloud cover assistance for our bowlers when we got underway.”

None of the visiting Forfarshire batsmen were able to really drop anchor with Chalmers, Dewald Nel, Fraser Sands and Tom Cullen all grabbing a couple of wickets.

“Once we got the start we needed, it was all about maintaining momentum and I was pleased we were able to do that,” added Chalmers. Hislop’s glory knock on his home pitch included 12 fours before he departed, leaving James Easton to hit the winning runs.

Chalmers’ own credentials as an all-rounder were further boosted by another substantial knock of 38 going in at No.4 and, for Watsonians, it was revenge for defeat by the same opponents on Tayside earlier this campaign.

At Inverleith, Carlton completed a double over SMRH when teenager Fraser Allardice returned from Oxford University to weave some magic in tandem with fellow spinner Chayank Gosein. Allardice had four wickets and Gosein three in drawing praise from club captain Fraser Watts.

“It was quite a low, slow wicket with runs hard to come by,” said Watts, adding: “So, when we posted 208, I reckoned that was better than par.

“Within that, Hamish Gardiner batted well for 37 before being caught behind but, at the core of our innings, Alex Rajendran batted extremely well for 68 not out.”

In the SMRH reply, pro Brad Moses maintained recent form with a knock of 47 supported by Cedric English’s 31 but the hosts were always well behind the clock.

There was drama at Goldenacre where Heriot’s went down off the last ball to leaders Aberdeenshire.

Seeking a seasonal double over the Dons, Heriot’s finished a run short, agony compounded by Harsha Cooray completing a century off the final ball of the visitors’ innings with a six to post a challenging 237 total.

In the reply, David Ross batted well for 29 before falling to spin and there were particularly solid contributions from Steve Knox (63) and Cam Farrell (57) before huge responsibility rested on young James Hearn with Mark Watt also playing a notable role.

Requiring eight off the final over, Watt immediately got Hearn on strike with a single and a boundary and two followed.

Only a single was required to tie but, in the event, Hearn was bowled for 48 by Hayes van der Berg to groans of despair from a packed Goldenacre pavilion balcony.

Mazars Grange were thwarted by rain as they looked set for victory at Stoneywood Dyce in a match where Scotland star Michael Leask hit 88 of the home side’s 153-9 before being given out in unusual fashion for “obstructing the field” when umpire Peter Redhead deemed he had prevented bowler Tom Sole running him out going for a second.

It was a particularly frustrating afternoon for Grange seamer Raj Routray, who claimed the first five wickets to fall in returning figures of 5-35.

There will be an early opportunity for Grange to ease frustrations when they head for Grange Loan on Friday and a meeting with Carlton in the annual Murgitroyd Masterton twenty:20 final.

Carlton have injury worries with international pair Ally Evans and Preston Mommsen both missing the win at SMRH.