Burnett believes National League doomed to failure
David Kelso (CricketMedia Scotland)
Arbroath captain Fraser Burnett believes the newly revamped national league set-up is doomed to failure if bosses insist on keeping automatic promotion and relegation between divisions.
Burnett issued his verdict after the Lochlands men halted their slide by demolishing Scottish Cup opponents SMRH, who are among the leading contenders to jump to the East zone top flight. The skipper reckons the ease of Arbroath's triumph simply underlined the gulf in standard. His argument was, however, diluted by the fact that their local rivals Forfarshire were gunned down by Stenhousemuir from the second tier of the West section.
In one of only three cup ties to survive the latest downpours, Burnett's boys recovered from a shaky start to reach 235 before skittling the Edinburgh men for 67.
He said: "We were delighted with the result - it was a huge confidence boost following our poor run in the league. But it also showed up the big difference in standard between the divisions. My view is that there should certainly not be automatic promotion and relegation and at the very least there should be a play-off featuring the bottom side in the Premier section and the top team in the First Division.
"This may sound like a plea of desperation because we happen to be that team at the foot at the moment, but I know we will be safe come the end of the season in a couple of months' time. If the officials keep this system, I think it would be the same small clutch of clubs that would be jumping up and down every year because the gulf IS massive."
Arbroath had been in some bother when they slumped to 51-5 after fifteen overs, Australian Brayden Tracey claiming three quick and cheap wickets. But a solid stand of 108 between Calvin Burnett and Greg Peal launched the revival.
Rising Saltires star Burnett top-scored with 71, including ten boundaries, while Peal chipped-in with 67. The latter also shared in a late stand of 48 with Benny McGill as Arbroath propelled their total to 235 before being all out in the penultimate over. Peal then completed a fine all-round performance, claiming three scalps for just five runs.
Thanks to their shock home turf win, Stenhousemuir need just one more win to secure their place in the last eight. They were set a revised target of 114 from 25 overs and got home with five balls and six wickets to spare.
Stoneywood-Dyce’s hopes of reaching the quarter-finals received a severe jolt when they suffered a surprise defeat to Corstorphine at Peoples Park. The Edinburgh side went into the clash without a win but managed to restrict the Aberdonians to just 105 in 39 overs. It could have been even bleaker for them as they lost their first five men for the same number of runs.
Willie Anderson fought a lone battle for Stoneywood with a battling 46 while Ruben Hattingh and Sulamain Malik gave the visitors the edge with four and three wickets respectively. South African Hattingh then showed equal prowess with the bat, posting an unbeaten 51 as Corstorphine cruised to a five-wicket success.