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Cricket: Next two matches ‘do-or-die’ for Stoneywood-Dyce after they crumble to seventh straight defeat

Lennard Bester in action for Stoneywood Dyce
Lennard Bester in action for Stoneywood-Dyce.

Stoneywood-Dyce faded to a seventh consecutive Eastern Premier defeat in Edinburgh.

The loss was made all the more disappointing after the visitors restricted high-flying Grange to 210, before slumping to 111 all out.

The Peoples Park side’s new captain Lennard Bester thinks Stoneywood-Dyce missed a golden opportunity to secure a rare victory on the road.

Bester, who took over the reigns from Jamie King earlier in the week, was bitterly disappointed in his team’s lowly total.

He said: “It was a terrible batting performance after a reasonable fielding effort, although we gave away too many extras.

“It was another bad day for a team which aspires to be and should be in the top half of the top Scottish league. We have lost our focus.

“We seem to be overawed by reputations when we meet good teams. We need to focus more on our own abilities.

“The next two games against Watsonians at home and Stewart’s Melville away are now do-or-die affairs.

“We have targeted these games as must-wins, especially after Arbroath United won today.”

Bester won the toss and his decision to give the Edinburgh side first use of the Grange track seemed vindicated after Garreth Womarns took the first of his four wickets, but two half-century stands took the home total to 121, both involving opener Chris Greaves, who went to top score with 79 valuable runs.

Wolmarans was the pick of the visiting bowling attack – his four for 21 helping restrict the capital side to 210.

The Aberdeen side’s reply was all too predictable, though, finding themselves three down for only 14 runs, including the valuable wicket of Wolmarans.

He was bowled for one by former Peoples Park and Scotland player Gordon Goudie, who – like his bowling colleagues – did not need to be at his best as the visitors found various ways to get themselves out.

Bester vainly attempted to rescue the situation, hitting one six in his 15-ball stay for 15 runs, only matched by King’s late, but equally short stay at the wicket.

While the north-east’s only premier side are unlikely to be relegated – for that to happen, Arbroath would need to win their remaining five games – it is a highly frustrating situation for a club who have done so much in recent years to promote the game in the area, including providing Scotland with numerous players.

Three sides go stride-for-stride in top-flight promotion hunt

In the meantime, the race to replace the relegated side in the Eastern Premier is heating up, after the three hopefuls – Aberdeenshire, Huntly and Meigle – all won in the North East Championship.

Shire were runaway eight-wicket winners in Dundee. where they bowled Dundee High for a mere 52, of which 31 were extras, before knocking off the required runs for the loss of two wickets in only the eighth over.

Kenny Reid, the Shire captain, said: “We again kept our focus. but it’s still one game at a time, while we work hard at training.”

Huntly were were in sparkling form at Castle Park where they racked 249 from their allocation of 45 overs before dismissing Kinloch for 138.

Jack Mitchell, the Huntly captain, welcomed the opportunity of a good workout before next Saturday’s vital game at Mannofield – where they meet Shire – saying: “It’s great to still be in contention for promotion.

“We batted particularly well on a difficult wicket. Sam Cocunits batted superbly for his 99. while Hammad Hussain was in great form with the ball, taking four for 40. Barry Newlands’ three for 28 was equally impressive.

“Next week’s game is a must-win game for us.”

Mitchell made his own telling contribution of 27 in an opening stand of 46 to launch his side’s victory.

Meigle were comfortable five-wicket winners against Freuchie, bowling the Fifers out for 152 before easing home in the 35th over.

Elsewhere, Gordonians remain in fourth place after scoring 222 all out and then bowling 2nd Arbroath United out for 148.

Knight Riders out of Grade One title fight

In the NE Grades, Inverurie upset the applecart in Grade One, effectively reducing the title chase to a two-horse race after their dramatic last-ball win over Knight Riders at Kellands Park. This leaves leaders Crescent and Bon Accord, who both won, to scrap it out in the remaining five weekends.

Knight Riders failed in the last ball of the 40 aside over match to chase down Inverurie’s total of 228, 78 of which was scored by the in-form Trevor Norval.

Crescent were comfortable six-wicket victors over Gordonians after dismissing the Countesswells visitors for 151.

Bon Accord were similarly convincing winners at Groats Road, where they amassed 280 for eight before bowling out 2nd Knight Riders for 134.