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Ton-up Nanthakumaran eclipses rival centurion to give Aberdeenshire victory

ABERDEENSHIRE produced an accomplished run-chase to remain top of the Eastern Premier division as a century from Scotland star Craig Wallace proved in vain for Forfarshire at Mannofield.

The Dons went into this fixture without top scorer Chris Venske who suffered a broken hand last week and it was his replacement, Shy Nanthakumaran, who proved the hero. The experienced wicketkeeper/batsman enjoyed his day in the sun with a brilliant century as the Granite City side chased 240 for the loss of just two wickets. Nanthakumaran finished unbeaten on 100, having carried his bat for 143 balls, hitting eight boundaries and a six.

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He had crucial support from Sri Lankan Harsha Cooray whose rapid 82no allowed the Dons to win with 12 balls to spare.

Having elected to bat, Forfarshire suffered a setback when Matty Parker was caught behind by Nanthakumaran off Hayes van der Berg in the second over. However, a stand of 155 between Wallace and Elliot McCandless put the visitors on course for a substantial total. McCandless was particularly watchful at first, taking 22 deliveries to score his first run as van der Berg and Tyler Buchan kept things tight. Runs began to flow with Wallace hoisting a six over the ropes to loosen the stranglehold which the home bowlers had enjoyed.

Both players reached half-centuries with McCandless eventually departing for a well-crafted 58 from 104 balls.His resolute effort provided the platform for Australian Aron Lilly to open out with a hard-hitting 31 including four boundaries and a maximum. Lilly eventually lost his wicket but Wallace remained unbeaten throughout his side's innings. His 122 came from 163 deliveries and included nine fours as well as that early six but his day was to end in disappointment.

Meanwhile, Arbroath remain hard on Aberdeenshire's heels after Brendon Ford was another of the day's centurions. He probably travelled to Grange Loan to face Carlton in confident mood after reaching three figures in the corresponding fixture last season.

History was to repeat itself as Arbroath recovered from a poor start to prevail by six wickets. Needing 168, they slumped to 19-2 following the loss of Ross McLean and Hamish Bartlett but Ford got his head down to spearhead the chase with 114no.

Earlier, Hamish Gardiner top-scored for Carlton with a battling 63 but the capital side were unable to build the partnerships which would have allowed them to post a winning total.

In an extraordinary game at Titwood, champions Uddingston proved they won't relinquish their Western title without a fight while also putting a severe dent in Clydesdale's aspirations. Chasing a target of just 144, Dale were cruising on 58-0 before Uddingston produced a remarkable fightback to reduce their hosts to 81-5. However, Sam Page and Lyle Hill added 51 for the sixth wicket before a second astonishing collapse handed victory to the visitors. At 132-5 Clydesdale needed just 12 more runs for a crucial win but they fell four runs short. New Zealander Matt McEwan was the Uddingston hero with 6-21 while Ricky Bawa claimed 3-39. Earlier Gautham Rai top-scored with 39 but the visitors' total of 143-9 didn't look enough.

Renfrew's title hopes also suffered a setback with a heavy defeat at East Kilbride.

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