Grange timing title charge to perfection
David Kelso (CricketMedia Scotland)
GRANGE would appear to have timed their surge to perfection with only three rounds of fixtures left in the race for the Eastern Premier crown.
While they were snuffing out the challenge of Forfarshire at Broughty Ferry, chief title rivals Watsonians were being downed by south Edinburgh rivals Carlton.
But despite taking over at the head of the table, albeit on run-rate, cautious skipper Neil McCallum refused to look too far ahead.
The former Scotland World Cup batsman said: "Carlton did us a massive favour by beating Sonians, but we have to remember that we will have to face them in a couple of weeks and they could inflict the same damage on us!
"Of course we are delighted to be where we are at this stage of the campaign, however a lot can happen before the end of August. There are no easy games in this league."
McCallum led from the front at Forthill, striking a superb unbeaten 77 to pave the way for the emphatic eight-wicket success.
Earlier, Gregor Maiden had snapped up three Tayside scalps as they were curbed to 187 for nine, Scott Galloway offering the most stubborn home resistance with 54.
Grange appeared to be in cruise control throughout their reply and Sanjay Patel (53 not out) ensured there would be no late rally from Shire.
Maiden (37) completed a fine all-round showing, though McCallum stressed: "It was a complete team display - that has been typical of our efforts throughout the season when the weather has permitted."
Arbroath's revival was halted as Stoneywood-Dyce bounced back to peak form at Lochlands.
Michael Leask 57) and Elton Willemse (34) worked hard to carry SD to 214 for for eight, which should not have been too daunting a target for the Lichties.
But Scotland seamer Gordon Goudie (four for 28) and Willemse (three for 25) sparked a major collapse which resulted in Arbroath crumbling to defeat by 130 runs.
Preston Mommsen and ex-Forfarshire ace Umair Mohammed emerged as the host heroes in Carlton's 41-run triumph at Grange Loan.
Mommsen thumped 84 to guide them to 207 for nine before Mohammed's four wicket haul sent shaky Sonians slipping to 166 all out.
Ewan Chalmers was their leading light with 45.
The roller-coaster season of Heriot's took another downward lurch when they crashed to Aberdeenshire at Mannofield.
Neil MacRae made a watchful 80 not out to inspire the home brigade to 190 for nine in damp and testing conditions.
Then the Goldenacre men were undone by Chris West, whose four wickets helped to dismiss them for 139.