Aberdeenshire’s season of woe in the Eastern Premier continued in Edinburgh, where the Mannofield side suffered their seventh defeat to leave them well adrift at the bottom of the division.
The Mannofield side’s cause was not helped by two of the other struggling sides winning their games.
The most damaging one was Arbroath United’s narrow one-run win at the expense of leaders Forfarshire at Broughty Ferry, leaving Stewart’s Melville and Shire the two most threatened by relegation, while Stoneywood-Dyce all but secured their place in the top fight at Watsonians with a six-wicket win.
Despite the nine wicket thrashing by Grange, one of the sides to benefit from Forfarshire’s defeat, Shire captain Kenny Reid remained upbeat.
He said: “It was a hard day at the office and we met Scotland player Olly Hairs in top form.
“His three wickets for only 17, combined with his 87 was the difference between the sides. We acquitted ourselves well when we batted, and at 103 for three, looked to be on target for 250, only to be reduced to 171 all out when Grange’s spinners came. We’re not done yet, we have seven games left in which to save our season, including next week’s home game with Arbroath.”
After winning the toss, Shire elected to bat and despite losing the early wicket of David Gamblen, Reid and Craig Knight took the score to 64 before the skipper was bowled by Gordon Goudie, a former favourite at Stoneywood-Dyce, for 27. Chris Venske came in hoping to build on the respectable start, only to fall for four, leaving Knight and club Solo Nqweni to hold the fort.
Knight top-scored with 43, and Nqweni hung around for a patient 33. Hairs led the home reply, taking the score to 110 of which the opener scored 87 before being caught by Nqweni off Calum Mackaness, but by this time the game was effectively over as a contest.
Shire were unable to improve on their poor performance on Saturday in Edinburgh yesterday, crashing out of the Scottish Cup to Carlton after being bowled out for 107 when chasing the home side’s 314 for the loss of five wickets.
Reid said: “After being set such a big target, we decided to try and break the back of it quickly, and got out playing shots we would not normally play.”
Craig Drummond top scored with 19 on a day, weekend, and perhaps a season to forget for the Mannofield club.