The mighty are fallen: Former giants Greenock all out for 59

THE shifting balance of power in the SNCL was underlined at Myreside yesterday when fallen giants Greenock lurched to a new low, allowing born-again Watsonians to step up their glory quest.

A handful of seasons ago, the Glenpark troops were far and away the strongest side in the country, while Sonians commuted between the Premier and First Divisions.

The exodus of top stars has left Greenock in something of a crisis, albeit they opted not to engage a pro.

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And the recruitment drive by Watsons has clearly paid dividends as they emerge as the chief challengers to Grange for the title.

The Renfrewshire strugglers were skittled out for just 59, with Stuart Chalmers ripping the heart out of their battling line-up.

He grabbed five for 26 in an innings that lasted only 18.5 overs.

The outcome was a formality, though the fact that it took Sonians a mere 8.3 overs simply accentuated the gulf. Ryan Flannigan led the reply with an unbeaten 32.

A delighted Flannigan said: "Job done - and I can't recall ever being involved in a match that was over by 3.30pm!"

The handover of the captaincy from Gowtham Rai to pro Ally Gray has worked wonders for Dunfermline.

He began his reign with a win against Forfarshire and last night the Knights were celebrating a surprise victory over Carlton.

Gray led the charge with 128, inspiring the Fifers to 256 for seven. Then rookie seamer Safyaan Shariff grabbed three scalps as the capital side slid to a 140-run hammering.

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Arbroath surged to the top of the First Division after previous pacesetters Heriot's crashed to Stirling County, despite a hat-trick by Sean Weeraratna.

Josh Edwards and Phil Rees shared an eight-wicket haul to make sure of County's emphatic 83-run success.

In the Second Division, Weirs became the latest victims of the Jon Kent show.

The former Saltires star from South Africa whacked a brilliant unbeaten 125 to set up the 116-run triumph for SMRH.

He then finished the job by scooping four cheap wickets, sending the Glasgow side hurtling to 116 all out in reply to 232 for six.

Dumfries took another stride towards the championship by easily overcoming Kelburne.

Former Scotland rugby star Stuart Moffat hit 96 as Grange staved off the challenge of West to retain their place at the head of the table. Elsewhere, an unbeaten 49 from Ayaz Gul enabled Uddingston to edge out Clydesdale.

And Forfarshire's challenge was effectively ended when they lost narrowly to Aberdeenshire at Mannofield.