Clydesdale win U18 Scottish Cup
Titwood (Clydesdale CC) was the venue for the semi-finals and final in the 2016 Cricket Scotland U18 Club Championship, on Sunday 28th August.
It was dry day, which became sunnier as it progressed and on which the healthy crowd was treated to some very good cricket – as the country’s oldest youth age group took the opportunity to showcase their skills.
The first semi-final saw Clydesdale CC win the toss and elect to bat first. Opener, and Scotland U15 captain Angus Guy, scored a magnificent 106* (off 70 deliveries, including 9 fours and 1 six) to lead his side to 172/2 from their 20 overs. He was given good support from Zain Ashraf, who contributed 47*. In reply, SMRH CC were restricted to 83/7 – with four batters reaching double figures and Forbes Bell producing the shot of the day with a straight drive for six over long off, during his 23*.
The second semi-final was contested by Aberdeenshire CC and Grange CC. Batting first, Grange scored 142/5 from their overs – with openers James Hillis (39) and Scott Blain (38) doing much off the hard work, to set up the good total, early in the innings. In reply, Aberdeenshire looked to be well in the contest in the early overs – but the introduction of spin slowed the run-rate and led to wickets falling consistently. In particular, Grange captain James Dickinson (4/13) ensured his team would progress to the final – Aberdeenshire 80 all out.
Clydesdale elected to bat first in the final – and an excellent opening partnership of 75 between Zaighum Ahmad and Guy built a strong base for their innings. Guy was first out, for 34, with the score on 75, in the 11th over. Ahmad then reached a deserved half-century, before being caught for 58. Skipper Kallum Dhami (17), Ashraf (21) and Gregor Anderson (16) batted with positive intent and aggressive running, to keep the scoreboard ticking over effectively - as only 9 dot balls were bowled in the final 10 overs. Clydesdale 151/6. In reply, Grange were always just behind the required rate but for the most part also just enough in touch that one or two big overs would have made them favourites. Their early effort was also hampered by a truly outstanding one-handed, diving catch from Dhami to see Hillis depart for 15 – with the same fielder going on to claim another diving catch a run out later in the innings! However, while Dickinson was at the crease it provided Grange with a calming influence – and someone who could rotate the strike and challenge the boundary fielders, with a succession of very well-paced shots and well-run twos. The Clydesdale bowlers stuck to their task and the middle overs seam bowling off Owain Taylor and Dhami starved the batters of precious boundaries. The re-introduction of Ahmad into the attack for the 16th over then led to the telling blow being struck and in some style too – a triple wicket maiden! Despite James Stuart (14* off 12 deliveries) and Dickinson completing his excellent day’s work with a much-deserved half-century 56* (off 47 deliveries), Grange would finish 131/8, with Ahmad finishing with 4/15. Clydesdale 20-run winners and the 2016 U18 National Club Champions.
Overall, it was great day of cricket and tremendous credit must go to all the players for their efforts on the day. Thanks, too, must go to Clydesdale CC for hosting the day (and particularly to groundsman Cyril McLatchie for preparing a good wicket and having the outfield in such good condition), to the umpires, to the coaches and officials and to all those who came to spectate and support on the day.