Carlton and Clydesdale win East and West Premier

20 Aug

Clydesdale and Carlton were crowned champions of their respective leagues yesterday but neither side had the opportunity to take to the field after rain had the decisive say. 

Joy was mixed with frustration for Majid Haq, the Clydesdale captain, who wanted the chance to seal a successful defence of the Western Premier championship in front of home fans at Titwood. 

However, when his team’s encounter with Prestwick was abandoned in mid-morning, Haq & Co had an anxious wait to discover whether East Kilbride – the only side with a chance of denying them the title – would play against Ayr at Cambusdoon. 

It was only when that match was called-off in mid-afternoon that the celebrations could begin. 

Haq said: “We would rather have played and won the title in style but conditions were dreadful. 

“It’s a fantastic achievement to retain the title because it is never easy when you are defending champions. 

“We started with a brilliant win against East Kilbride which set the standards and, although we had a couple of blips, we came back strongly. 

“We have only played two of our last seven scheduled matches which is very frustrating but the two we did play we were excellent and, for me, the win against Ferguslie a few weeks ago was basically the title decider.”

Haq, whose side will attempt to complete the double in today’s Scottish Cup final against Arbroath, added: “I think there is still a lot in the tank.

“I’m sure this side will continue to improve and I’m very hopeful that we can keep on winning the Western Premier.” 

Officials may question the timing of the call-off two hours before the scheduled start but Haq added: “After all Friday’s rain and more on Saturday morning the ground was never going to be fit for play. 

“It would have taken our entire squad to mop all the water from the covers and then there was another heavy downpour between 12 o’clock and one so there was no way we could have played.

“The sensible decision was taken.” 

Meanwhile Carlton travelled to Aberdeenshire more in hope of a game than expectation given that a combination of wet weather and drainage issues had seen the Dons play only two of their eight matches at Mannofield before yesterday. 

And, despite sunny skies in the Granite City, ‘Shire’s final home game of the season also bit the dust to leave Carlton in an unassailable position at the top of the Eastern Premier table. 

The Grange Loan side had been expected to struggle this season following the loss of Preston Mommsen to rivals Grange and Hamish Gardner who moved south. 

However, a trouncing of reigning champions Grange early in the season instilled belief in Stevie Gilmour’s close-knit troops. 

They lost just twice  – to Forfarshire and Arbroath – and went on to complete the double over Grange before carving-out a potentially title-clinching victory by beating closest-challengers and long-time leaders Watsonians earlier this month. 

Player-coach Gilmour declared: “The guys should be really proud of this - it’s been awesome to have our home-grown players contributing so much. 

“We’ve prepared well each week, made simple plans and executed them well. 

“Our balance of experience and younger guys has also been a factor.”

By Cricket Media

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