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Centurion hayes puts dons in title box seat

HAYES van der Berg emerged as the Aberdeenshire hero as they took another stride towards the Eastern Premiership crown with success against stubborn basement boys SMRH.

The young South African recruit compiled a superb century and, with the help of Harsha Cooray, rescued the Dons in the wake of a shaky start at Inverleith.

Having lost the toss and put in, an upset could have been on the cards when the visitors were reduced to 12 for two in the face of a potent new-ball burst by veterans Cedric English and Craig Mackellar.

But not only did van der Berg and Cooray curb the jitters, their partnership of 141 was to prove a match-winning effort.

Cooray was run out by Brad Moses for 70, made from only 74 balls. However, van der Berg maintained the momentum to reach 109, featuring 10 boundaries. Aberdeenshire's total of 287 for seven left the home troops with a lofty task, but as long as English and Moses were together at the crease they had a fighting chance.

After they perished in quick succession for 41 and 57 respectively, however, it was always going to be an uphill battle for the capital outfit.

They refused to buckle and Greg Ruthven put up further stiff resistance with a half century, but Shire eventually held out for a 35-run win.

Chief chasers Arbroath not only beat Tayside rivals Forfarshire, but also the weather at Lochlands to remain on the heels of Aberdeenshire.

The Broughty Ferry brigade had made the short jaunt up the Angus coast in confident mood, having triumphed in the first league meeting between the sides back in May.

However, in terms of the scoreboard it was the hosts who were in the right place at the right time when the curtain came down early.

Forfarshire posted a tally of 173 for five before Arbroath's 124 for two from 36 overs earned them the points under the Duckworth-Lewis method.

In a tense climax to the Edinburgh derby, Grange failed to whack the 14 runs they needed off the final over at Carlton.

And in the Eastern Championship, the elements came to the aid of promotion pacesetters Glenrothes as they were in danger of losing their 100% record at the hands of Fife neighbours Freuchie.

Glens had been shot out for only 91, with home bowler Rizwan Akbar grabbing six for 12 in a remarkable spell at Muir Road.

The hosts were 12 for one when play was abandoned.

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