CSL week 7 review
From Cricket Media
West of Scotland kept their title hopes alive with an ultimately hard-fought three-wicket win over Clydesdale at Hamilton Crescent on Saturday.
When the visitors were reduced to 47-7 by a combination of good new-ball bowling and suspect batting, it looked as if this must-win clash would descend into a one-sided romp.
Instead a pair of teenagers showed more mettle than their more senior colleagues and compiled a partnership which almost gave Clydesdale a total they could defend.
Lyle Hill, who later also bowled with pace and aggression, led the way with an unbeaten 46 while Ahmed Chaudhry lent valuable support with 18.
Their efforts earned generous plaudits from West’s player-coach, John Blain, who was relieved his men managed to get over the winning line.
Blain said: “The two young lads showed great responsibility and made a real game of it.
“They stood up to us and it was great to see even if we’d have rather got them out earlier.
“The lad Hill was particularly impressive. He played with a straight bat and compiled his runs very sensibly.”
Dave McNulty (2-20) and Gavin Smith – another talented teenager – put West in charge after the home side had won the toss and elected to field.
McNulty removed Zulfi Shahid and Saltires start Majid Haq while Smith accounted for Safy Sharif before clean bowling both Dale pro Shoaib Khan and former West batsman Anjan Luthra.
Blain bowled Andrew Allan while Mark Gilchrist got the first of his four wickets as the visitors were in danger of humiliation.
Instead, Hill and Chaudhry, both 17, repaired the damage with a stand of 70, the former stroking five attractive boundaries before being left stranded as Gilchrist returned to mop up the tail.
West’s reply was far from straightforward with wickets tumbling at regular intervals.
However, Dougie Lockhart’s 27 proved crucial while the concession of 42 Extras was damaging for Dale in such a low-scoring encounter, West eventually reaching the target with just three wickets in hand.
Blain added: “I’ve seen plenty of young talent coming through in Scotland so there is good cause for optimism.
“As far as the win is concerned, it keeps us in with a chance. When we get our full team out we are a match for anyone.”
The win takes West up to third but Uddingston still lead the way after their fifth straight win – this time at the expense of champions Dumfries at Nunholm.
Chasing just 136, the Bothwell men were on course when Gowtham Rai and Amir Gul put on 59 for the first wicket.
Gul continued his fine form with 35 while Ras Priyadarshana was unbeaten on 44 as Uddingston completed victory with seven wickets and plenty of overs to spare.
Srinivasa Reddy had earlier claimed 3-12 and Scott McKenzie 2-2 as the visitors took charge.
Lanarkshire rivals Drumpellier continued to lead the chase after their 42-run win over Renfrew at Langloan.
Player-coach Muhammad Ramzan proved his worth with both bat and ball, top-scoring with 54 before claiming four wickets.
At the other end of the table Ayr broke their duck and claimed the Irwin Iffla Trophy with a six-wicket D/L victory over Stirling.
After restricting the visitors to 190-9, Ayr came flying out the blocks to seize the initiative, Neil Smith hammering fifteen boundaries in a match-winning 76.
Skipper Marc Petrie was the least surprised individual at Raeburn Place as his Arbroath side shook off the jitters to complete a comprehensive demolition job on Grange.
The success bolstered the title prospects of the Lochlands men - and immediately wiped away the memory of the previous week's fade-out at the hands of Carlton.
And the fortunes of the respective opening batsmen accurately summed up the gulf between the teams.
For Arbroath, Brendan Ford (89) and Ross McLean (64) rattled up 163 before being parted - whereas rivals George Munsey and Ryan Flannigan were both back in the pavilion with only a single on the Grange board.
Looking back on the 74-run success, Petrie said: "It was a great display by the whole team.
"Obviously Brendan and Ross gave us the perfect start - then the bowling and fielding were back to their best to take the game away from Grange.
"It was pleasing to get a result like that against a very powerful side and our aim is now to carry on the same level of momentum into the second half of the campaign."
Petrie added: "The win was even more noteworthy because it was achieved without our former captain Fraser Burnett.
"But it just underlined that we have tremendous strength in depth at the club just now."
Petrie picked out McLean for special mention, stating: "Ross is not only developing well as a batsman, he is always a player I can rely on to take the ball for a few overs.
"He puts it on the spot and forces the opposition batsmen to make mistakes when the pressure is on.
"He is confident in his own ability when things are tight and that is great for me as captain."
Calvin Burnett and Craig Ramsay were the men who mattered most with the ball, sharing seven wickets as Grange slid to 169 all out in response to Arbroath's 243 for three.
Vetran Brian Spence reckons the arrival of Anjum Aslam from Renfrew is proving instrumental in Poloc's improving form.
Spence delivered his verdict after watching the new recruit score a fine century to tee up a richly-deserved Western Zone win at the expense of old rivals Kelburne at Whitehaugh.
"I have been playing against Anjum for years - but I didn't realise how good he was," admitted Spence
"We have now won three matches in a row, including against Clydesdale in the CS40 and his presence has been key.
"He really is a class act. His hundred as outstanding - he was the only batsman to get on top of the bowlers all day."
Nicky Lafferty finished off the job by taking four wickets as Kelburne perished for 140 in reply to 202 for eight.
East Kilbride kept their 100 per cent record with a 28-run win at Ferguslie, prompting captain Hermanjit Singh to observe: "It was another really good team performance.
"We Took all our catches and the lower middle order had to dig in to get us to 168 on a track that was doing a bit."
Weirs and Stenhousemuir were also on the winning trail against Prestwick and Greenock respectively.
Tim Scoular was in red hot bowling form for Forfarshire, who stepped up their East Zone challenge with a crushing win on home turf against Penicuik.
Scoular claimed six for 20 as the visitors crumbled to 70 all out in 24 overs.
Shire then surged to the target in the seventh overt, with Matty Parker and Craig Wallace hitting som lusty blows.
Dundee HSFP halted their bad run with a six-wicket success at the hands of West Lothian at Boghall.
But Freuchie's plight deepened with a hammering from the rising stars of neighbours Glenrothes.