CSL Round Up 18 July 2015
Ferguslie claimed the Paisley derby bragging rights after a thrilling win over Kelburne at Whitehaugh on Saturday.
In a match which proved that it does not require a barrow-load of runs nor even perfect playing conditions to produce gripping entertainment the men from Meikleriggs prevailed in the tightest of finishes.
Hard work by the Kelburne groundsman and his many assistants meant that the umpires were able to deem the pitch fit for play after a short delay.
Ferguslie captain Gregor Preston-Jones’ decision to field first was soon vindicated as the home batsmen struggled for runs.
However, they were at least steady in moving to 44-2 from twenty overs before a dramatic collapse saw them lose their last eight wickets for just another 44.
The man who did most to cause the damage was Hamza Tahir, Ferguslie’s talented young left-arm spinner, who claimed 5-24.
If Ferguslie thought the game was in the bag, they were quickly forced to re-assess as bowlers continued to dominate after the break.
Indeed, Kelburne even looked favourites to pull off a remarkable win when they reduced their local rivals to 78-9, Zeeshan Bashir trumping Tahir with a six-wicket haul.
However, Ferguslie found an unlikely hero in No8 batsman Fraser Proud who calmly saw his side over the line with an unbeaten 16, a win which keeps the Meikleriggs side on the fringes of the title race while putting another dent in Kelburne’s hopes following last week’s defeat at Dumfries.
“It was an amazing victory to say the least,” admitted Preston-Jones.
“It was a real thriller and Hamza turned it for us with his five wickets. We still thought 88 would be tough to chase but we thought it would be more comfortable than a one-wicket victory!
“I’ve got to credit Fraser Proud and the lower order for scrambling us over the line.
“I'm not sure it changes much in the title race with us. For us to be in contention we would have to win all our remaining games which I do believe is possible but we also need other results to go our way.
“Hopefully this win can kick-start our season and provide us with the momentum to go on a winning streak.”
Preston-Jones also paid tribute to the work put in by Kelburne to get the game on.
“The ground was very wet in the morning but credit has to be given to everyone at Kelburne who came down to help get the ground playable - an absolutely superb effort.
“By the time we started playing it was more than satisfactory.”
Despite the disappointment, Kelburne captain Qasim Sheikh declared: “It was a great game of cricket that had everyone on the edge of their seats.
“88 from us was never good enough from us considering we had a nice platform but we came out believing that anything was possible and clearly it was.
“I’m proud of the boys’ efforts in the field.”
If runs were at a premium in Paisley that is rarely the case at Ayr and it proved so again – at least for the reigning champions who compiled 257-5 against Dumfries at Cambusdoon.
The prolific South African Lenert van Wyk was the home hero again with a superb 125 while Dougie Johnstone lent strong support with 47.
Dumfries were unable to match these efforts, slipping to 85 all out as van Wyk continued his heroics with 3-29 though he was upstaged in the bowling department by Heynrych Nel who had 3-14.
Uddingston’s somewhat extreme efforts to get their game played – which resulted in a dramatic conflagration in the middle of their Bothwell Castle wicket – paid dividends when they won by 24 runs against Drumpellier.
The match between leaders Clydesdale and West of Scotland at Titwood was cancelled due to a waterlogged ground as was East Kilbride’s clash with Renfrew.
Grange may have taken a significant step closer to becoming Eastern Premier champions on Saturday but John Blain, their player-coach, is counting no chickens.
Blain claimed four wickets as his team fought back from a sticky start at Scroggie Park to beat a plucky Falkland outfit by 37 runs.
A the same time closest challengers Arbroath suffered frustration when their encounter with Stoneywood-Dyce at Peoples Park was cancelled due to an unfit pitch.
The day got even better for Grange when third top Carlton were upset by derby rivals Watsonians at Grange Loan.
However, despite seeing his side consolidate their position at the top, Blain is taking nothing for granted and is wary of the threat still posed by Arbroath in particular.
The former Scotland bowler said: “Saturday’s win was important but it is only another win.
“People will say we are strong favourites especially with what happened elsewhere but there is a lot of cricket still to be played.
“Arbroath are a team I admire a lot and there is no way they are out of it. They have a strong batting line-up who might prosper on good wickets in the second half of the season.
“They also have a good team ethic and will keep fighting to the end.
“I think Carlton have been harder hit by international call-offs but they are still in it too and will be stronger when they get their big players back.”
Grange were given a testing examination in difficult conditions at a Scroggie Park which had been lashed by wind and rain during the previous twenty-four hours.
The visitors certainly found the going tough when they slumped to 40-5 and 60-7 as Ryan Hepburn spearheaded the Falkland attack to claim 5-37.
Ryan Flannigan and Ian Worth were the top Grange batsmen with 30 and 28 but the last-wicket partnership of 30 between Blain and Raj Routray was to prove vital in taking the game out of Falkland’s reach.
Routray compiled 14no while Blain, who had only arrived back in the country the previous evening following a school trip to the Caribbean, was unbeaten on 12 as the visitors posted 141-9.
Blain was then the key bowler in reducing the Falkland innings to tatters with 4-28.
It was to the home side’s credit that they recovered from 61-9 to reach 104 with a late flurry from Yadav Umesh (20) and Hepburn (16no).
Blain added: “Batting was really difficult for both sides and it was important to dig in and get as many runs as possible.
“Falkland made a real game of it as we knew they would because they are the only team to have beaten us in the league this season.”
Elsewhere, Carlton were ultimately punished for failing to bat their full allocation of overs, bowled out for 205 as Dewald Nel and Brendan O’Connell had three wickets each for Watsonians.
Former Scotland batsmen Ewan Chalmers then led his side’s run-chase with an unbeaten 52.
Ryan Watson came agonisingly close to a third consecutive league century as Forfarshire overcame bottom-of-the-table Corstorphine at Forthill.
Watson started his hot streak last month, scoring 116no in the corresponding clash with the Edinburgh side and following-up with exactly 100 against Heriot’s the following week.
However, he was out for 99 on Saturday, though his dismissal did not affect the outcome, Graeme Beghin stealing the limelight with 110no as Forfarshire posted 263-4.
Corstorphine made a real fight of it with Dan Payne producing the innings of the day to hit 125no but three wickets each for the Sweeneys – Dale and Liam – sealed a 24-run win for the Broughty Ferry team.
Aberdeenshire’s clash with Heriot’s was abandoned without a ball bowled.
A superb century from Chris Greaves propelled leaders Glenrothes to their latest ESCA Championship win on Saturday.
The Fifers went into their clash with Holy Cross at Gilvenbank Park boasting eleven straight victories and there was rarely any doubt that it would soon become a round dozen.
South African player-coach Greaves led the way from the start and his opening partnership of 96 with Fred Culley gave Glenrothes an initiative which they never let go though Holy Cross refused to throw in the towel at any stage.
The strong winds made conditions tricky for both sides but Greaves created a storm of his own by smashing the ball to all corners on his way to a brilliant 119.
He was initially out-scored by the hard-hitting Culley who made a rapid 52 before being run out.
An even bigger stand ensued for the hosts as Robbie Wright helped Greaves add 112 for the second wicket before becoming the first of Raja Javed’s three victims.
Wright’s departure sparked a flurry of wickets as the Glens’ batsmen hit out in the closing overs and the visiting bowlers cashed in, Simon McOscar matching Javed’s analysis of 3-43.
However, the home side’s 257-8 looked more than enough and so it proved as Greaves showed his all-round talents to claim 3-18 while Guy Hudson had 3-37 as Holy Cross were dimissed for 99, Owais Mazhar showing some resistance with 31.
SMRH remain in closest pursuit of the leaders, maintaining their challenge with a comfortable 69-run win at Freuchie.
Michael Miller’s 56 was the highlight of the visitors’ 185 while Liam Kelly took four wickets for Freuchie who then slumped to 116 all out as Elliot Ruthven and Brad Moses had three wickets each.
In a low-scoring encounter at Kirkhill, four wickets from Chris Ashforth and 29 unbeaten runs from skipper Matt Foulds proved crucial for Penicuik in their win over Edinburgh CC.
The clash between Marchmont and Grange 2 fell to the weather.