CSL Western Premier - Week 1
Andi McElnea, the Ayr captain, expressed his delight after his side launched their title defence with a comprehensive six-wicket win over East Kilbride at Cambusdoon.
Needing 200 for victory after McElnea’s brother Scott had starred with the ball, Ayr had excellent showings from opener Neil Smith and new professional Lenart van Wyk as they knocked off the runs with five overs to spare.
“It was a great result and a great way to get the season up and running because we knew a winning start would be important against a good East Kilbride team,” said McElnea.
“They (EK) played a good game of cricket and I can see them being in the mix this season so that makes the win all the more pleasing.”
After winning the toss and electing to bowl, McElnea got the start he wanted when his brother struck three early blows to reduce the visitors to 38-3.
The seam bowler’s haul included the important wicket of East Kilbride opener Harmanjit Singh who has been in excellent form during pre-season.
However, Ayr did not have it all their own way as the men from Torrance House responded with a 77-run partnership between Moneeb Iqbal and Fred Klaassen.
Iqbal, the Saltires all-rounder, dug in for a fighting 31 without hitting a single boundary while the New Zealander Klaassen was more expansive going on to top score with an unbeaten 86.
The Dutch passport-holding 22 year-old faced 106 balls, hitting eight boundaries and one maximum while skipper Josh Johnson stroked 24 to propel his side to 199-8, McElnea ending with 4-49
Neil Smith got the Ayr reply off to a bright start with a run-a-ball 48 before offering a return catch to former Saltires spinner Ross Lyons while Neil Logan was more circumspect in contributing 30.
However, it was left to the South African van Wyk to spearhead the run-chase with an ultimately match-winning 79no with eleven fours.
McElnea added: “Van Wyk was superb. He was very composed throughout his innings.
“We look a solid batting unit and I’m very excited at the fact we still have three players to come into yesterday's team.
“Scott was again lethal with the new ball with his three early wickets.”
Clydesdale are most pundits’ picks to provide the sternest challenge to Ayr and they showed why with a clinical win against Ferguslie at Meikleriggs.
The Paisley side represented a potential banana skin on their return to the top flight but, in Richie Berrington, Dale had the game’s match-winner.
Berrington repelled a potent Ferguslie attack for whom Jamie Carruthers and Hamza Tahir shared seven wickets, to score 83 of his team’s 238 runs.
In reply the Paisley team had slumped to 93-7 with Mo Ali taking 3-10 before the rain arrived for Clydesdale to be declared winners by 135 runs on D/L.
If one Paisley team endured defeat another celebrated success on their return to the top flight, Kelburne beating Renfrew by 33 runs in another rain-affected clash at King George V Playing Fields.
Omer Hussain, the former Saltires batsman, top-scored with 39 of his team’s 218 and, while Ahmad Said was unbeaten on 66 when the rain arrived, Renfrew were behind the rate.
Drumpellier came out on top in the battle of last season’s bottom two, the Coatbridge side cruising to an eight-wicket win after dismissing West of Scotland for just 109 at Langloan.
Dumfries, boosted by a century from Scott Beveridge, enjoyed a thumping 170-run over Uddingston at Nunholm but their joy was tempered when they suffered a five-point deduction for failing to submit their score to WDCU officials by the appointed hour.