CSL week 9 review
Calum MacLeod claimed six wickets as Uddingston took a huge step towards CSL Western Premier Division glory with an impressive win over derby rivals Drumpellier at Bothwell Castle Policies.
It had been billed as a title decider as the only two unbeaten sides went head-to-head, Uddingston having won all six of their previous matches while Drumps had won four and tied one.
This eight-wicket win, much more comfortable than many had expected, gives the Bothwell side a comfortable cushion though they will take nothing for granted as the season reaches the closing straight.
Given a record of five straight wins at the Bothwell venue, Drumpellier were entitled to go into the match with confidence and their start suggested a team that meant business.
Jarrod Armitage, the young Australian batsman, led the way as runs flowed in the initial overs.
Indeed, Armitage had scored 32 of his side’s first 40 runs before the match literally swung dramatically in Uddingston’s favour.
The ball, which had moved little in the opening overs, suddenly started to swing prodigiously, particularly for MacLeod who claimed the first six wickets as Drumpellier slumped from 44-0 to 66-6 in twelve extraordinary overs.
MacLeod first trapped Chris Keltie in front and then made an even more important breakthrough when he removed Armitage.
The Australian had stroked six boundaries in a fluent 43 before edging one which keeper Bryan Clarke dived to catch.
MacLeod claimed his second lbw victim in former Pakistan Test batsman Muhammad Ramzan before dismissing the Mohammed brothers, Asid and Zaheer, in the same over.
His 6-34 haul – MacLeod’s best return in Scottish domestic competition – was complete when he sent young Abdul Sabri’s stumps cartwheeling.
Rather than capitulating, Drumpellier showed fight, skipper Graeme McLaren digging in before the ninth wicket partnership between Stevie Allison and Ally Rawlinson proved the most productive of the innings.
The pair added 46 runs, Allison finishing unbeaten on 28 as Ricky Bawa returned to the attack to finish things off with two quick wickets.
The efforts of the tail at least meant that Drumpellier had posted 142 but it was the weather that did most to threaten Uddingston’s chances of victory.
Indeed, Uddy had moved to 132-2 when the players were forced from the field with two deliveries still needing to be bowled to constitute a match.
Mercifully for the hosts, the weather relented and the players returned to the field to complete the formalities.
Ras Priyadarshana top-scored with 45 while in-form Ayaz Gul was unbeaten on 29 and MacLeod completed a fine all-round performance - also with 29no.
MacLeod’s bowling effort was eclipsed by his friend and Saltires colleague Majid Haq who claimed best figures of the season – 7-26 – as Clydesdale dismissed Renfrew for 121 at Titwood.
In-form Safy Sharif led the reply with 59no as Clydesdale needed 44.2 overs to knock-off the runs.
West of Scotland must have thought they were cruising after dismissing Ayr for 148 at Hamilton Crescent but Callum Leck’s 6-37 meant the Hamilton Crescent side edged home off the final ball with their final pair at the crease.
Last season’s champions Dumfries proved too strong for struggling Stirling at Nunholm, visitors making just 157 before Griffith before the hosts claimed victory by four wickets despite Nick Farrar’s 5-47.
The Eastern Premier’s top game proved something of a damp squib – certainly for leaders Carlton who went down to fierce rivals Grange.
Neil McCallum’s men were made to work hard for their runs but good contributions from Gregor Maiden and Gordon Goudie allowed them to post a competitive 226-8.
Carlton’s deep batting line-up may have fancied their chances of a successful run-chase but they had slumped to 95-4 – twenty runs below the D/L par –when rain forced the players from the field and gave Grange the victory they desperately needed to stay in title contention.
Carlton’s defeat allowed Arbroath to reclaim pole position with a thumping 174-run win over Heriot’s at Goldenacre.
Fraser Burnett last night shrugged off the century that propelled Arbroath back to the head of the CSL Eastern Premiership and insisted it was only the result that mattered.
The former skipper and spinning all-rounder Ross McLean emerged as the destroyers-in-chief as Heriot's were well and truly humbled on their own turf.
And thanks to Carlton's defeat at the hands of Grange, Burnett and Co returned to pole position with the decisive clutch of August matches looming.
He declared: "Of course it is always a nice feeling when you rattle up some runs, but the important aspect was that I contributed to a winning performance.
"Even though we have our noses in front, the remainder of the competition is going to be a tense time for every team who are still in with a shout.
"No one is going to dash away from the pack and I am sure there will be a lot of twists and turns over the next few weeks.
"Hopefully the situation will bring out the best in the players and that a lot of good and exciting cricket will ensue."
Despite the importance of his effort, Burnett reckoned his unbeaten 106 was not his most accomplished knock of the campaign.
He explained: "I probably batted better against Aberdeenshire up at Mannofield, but I spoiled it by getting out stupidly on 93."
McLean's cheap four-wicket haul completed a memorable week for the youngster, coming hard on the heels of the ton that inspired the Scotland Development Select's thrilling success over Northamptonshire Seconds at Wantage Road.
Burnett added: "Ross is fast becoming a class act.
"He certainly has a bright future ahead with Arbroath - and, I hope, with Scotland."
Burnett and Brendan Ford had pushed the visitors to 276 for six at Goldenacre before the bowlers completed the rout, sending Heriot's careering to 102 all out.
Paceman Alvin Pollard made light of the top order to claim three for 25 - then McLean swept away the tail, bagging four for 17.
Raj Routray had halted the momentum of the visitors, snapping up all four victims for 27.
James Easton hit 103 not out as Watsonians ended on top in the other weather-affected capital derby with SMRH at Myreside.
And at Mannofield, Aberdeenshire easily prevailed in the Granite City tangle with Stoneywood-Dyce.
Again, seamer Daya Singh was the man who mattered most for the home troops with four for 17 as SD were shot out for 124 in pursuit of 223.
Aman Bailwal was instantly in prime form to help Forfarshire boost their Eastern First Division prospects glory - and at the same time effectively end those of Glenrothes in a one-sides encounter at Broughty Ferry.
And experienced team-mate Graeme Garden was quick to label Ballwal's display "awesome."
Garden said: "It was all the more remarkable when you consider he hadn't held a bat or bowled a ball for more than six weeks.
"His 60 not out came from fewer than 30 deliveries and he bowled at a decent pace with lots of swing.
"Big Tim Scoular was also in good nick at the other end and he has now taken 11 wickets in his last two matches at Forthill.
Shire surged to a lofty 299 for three. The platform was laid by Matty Parker (75), Garden (72 not out) and skipper Craig Wallace (60) before the Bailwal fireworks began.
He and Scoular then hogged the limelight with five scalps each as the Fifers crumbled to 48 all out - a massive losing margin of 251 runs.
Elsewhere in the East Zone, Falkland set up next weekend's showdown with Forfarshire by thumping West Lothian at Boghall, while half centuries by Alan Wallace and Robbie Birrell were the highlights of Freuchie's basement battle victory over Dundee HSFP.
In the West, Prestwick were the latest team to feel the power of East Kilbride, who maintained their 100 per cent record at the top.
Peter Bocock struck 67 not out as they cruised to an eight-wicket win.
Their only challengers, Stenhousemuir, were also in Easy Street against Poloc, while Ferguslie and Kelburne outshone Greenock and Weirs respectively.