Cricket Scotland’s U18 Club Championship Finals’ Day took place at Titwood (Clydesdale CC) on Sunday 2nd September. There were two semi-finals and a final – and, at the end of the day’s play, it was Clydesdale CC who emerged victorious, to secure the trophy for a third year in row!
The first semi-final was a low scoring, tense contest. Grange CC batted first, with their early progresses being checked by Junaid Rauf who took three wickets (3/18) – all falling to reserve sweeps. Grange were 42/5 off 10 overs. However, the sixth wicket partnership between Jack Pearson (27) and Michael Hay-Smith (28) added 48 – and took Grange up to 115/8 off their 20 overs.
In reply, with David Sturgess (45) and Angus Guy at the crease, Clydesdale looked to be in total control at 90/1 off 14 overs. Hay-Smith then continued his fine individual effort by taking 3 quick wickets (3/14) and, with Ali Docherty (2/14) providing good support, Clydesdale suddenly needed 10 off the final over to win.
The tension built as this became 5 to win or 4 to tie off the final delivery. Guy held his nerve, to strike a one-bounce four and secure a Clydesdale win by losing fewer wickets – with both teams deserving a lot of credit for producing a highly entertaining match. Clydesdale 115/6, Guy 40*.
The second semi-final featured Poloc CC (who had won an early morning quarter-final tie against Carlton CC, at Shawholm, thanks to 89* from Abdullah Malik) and Forfarshire CC. Batting first, Poloc looked to be quite well set at 26/0 off 4 overs – but they had no answer to the spin of Fergus Duncan (4/16) and James Sim (2/20) and the promising start provided by Amaan Ramzan (35) didn’t lead to a big total. Poloc 90/9 off their 18 overs.
In reply, all four Forfarshire top order batters made double figures (Calum Garden 10, Lewis Robinson 21, Sim 32* and Duncan 18*) as they timed their chase perfectly to win, by 8-wickets, with an over to spare.
Clydesdale skipper Zain Ashraf won the toss in the final and elected to field first. Once again, Forfarshire openers Garden and Robinson looked to be setting their side up well. However, Taha Khan’s first delivery saw a short delivery pulled straight to the safe hands of Sturgess at fine leg and Rauf struck in the next over too – to leave Forfarshire 33/2, with both openers gone. The Clydesdale change bowlers then went on to bowl with good control – with Daniel Cairns (3/13) and Faizan Rauf (2/5) being the pick of the attack. Forfarshire 81/8 off their 20 overs.
Once again, the Clydesdale chase was based around Guy and Sturgess – and, this time, both would be there at the end. It was a very professional batting effort from the pair – Guy finishing 36* (off 26) and Sturgess 33* (off 25). Clydesdale 84/1, in 11.2 overs – and 2018 Club Championship winners.
Thanks must go to Clydesdale CC for hosting and especially to their groundsman Cyril McLatchie for having the pitch and outfield looking so good so late in a busy season, to umpires Neil Cauldwell and Ian Marland who stood in all three matches, to all those who came to spectate and support on the day and to all the players for efforts on the day. Congratulations to Clydesdale CC on their victory