Uddingston are crowned CSL Western Champions
From Cricket Media: Willie Dick
Uddingston last night survived a dose of pre-title nerves before ultimately sealing the Western Premier championship with a tense two-wicket victory over outgoing champions Dumfries at Bothwell Castle.
The Lanarkshire side went into the final day level on points with Clydesdale who secured their own win over West of Scotland at Titwood.
However, Uddingston’s superior net run-rate proved decisive though they needed to recover from a disastrous start in pursuit of their 210 target, slumping to 44-4.
Amir Gul, who had been called into the Reivers T20 squad earlier in the day, was first to go when he offered a sharp return catch to Chris McCutcheon.
The same bowler had Gautham Rai caught in the slips as the home batsmen struggled.
Their problems intensified when Sri Lankan professional Ras Priyadarshana was trapped in front by Peter Lojszczyk who then had Sammy Zia caught behind next ball.
However, Calum MacLeod has proved himself a man for a crisis at both club and international level this season and, together with Vasu Reddy, he got Uddingston’s wavering title push back on course.
MacLeod moved through the gears on his way to a 74-ball half-century which included seven boundaries.
Reddy, too, looked in the mood in a 93-run partnership but, having stroked four boundaries in his 28, he chased a wide one to give Lojszczyk his third wicket and Dumfries renewed hope.
As long as MacLeod was still in the middle, though, Uddingston continued to look like champions-elect and the Scotland man warmed to his task, reverse-sweeping Scott Beveridge for four as the runs flowed from his bat.
There was, though, another twist as MacLeod was eventually out, lbw to McCutcheon for 90, with his team needing just 23 runs from the final ten overs.
Scott McKenzie and Nick Martin (23) went in quick succession as the tension rose but skipper Bryan Clarke stroked the winning runs with five overs to spare.
Earlier Dumfries made a steady start as Uddingston were forced to wait for their wickets.
The home side did not help their own cause with a couple of dropped catches and Pat Druce and Todd Griffith were happy to cash in.
Griffith in particular was severe on any wayward bowling that came his way and the pair brought up the fifty in fifteen overs.
They had advanced to 74 when Druce was trapped in front by MacLeod for 27 to spark a mini-collapse that brought the title hopefuls right back into it.
MacLeod, never far from the action, took a sharp catch at slip as Amir Gul removed Marcus Richardson.
The Saltires and former Warwickshire all-rounder struck twice more, trapping the dangerous Griffith front – though the batsman may have nicked it – before bowling Chris Bellwood with a ball that moved off the pitch.
Griffith’s 41 came from 55 deliveries and included seven boundaries but the flurry of wickets left Dumfries were on 86-4 and in need of repairs.
They were provided initially by Tom McBride who went on to top-score with 42, adding 50 with Andrew Dawson who became the third lbw victim of the innings, falling to Reddy.
McBride’s innings meanwhile was brought to an end when MacLeod held onto a skied shot off McKenzie.
Again Uddingston could smell blood but again Dumfries showed resilience as Beveridge with 38no and Lojszczyk (18no) added 49 as the visitors closed on 209.
Clydesdale had to be content with the runners-up prize, despite bowling out West for 107 after making a modest 145 themselves.
At the other end of the table the relegation crunch clash went in favour of Ayr whose three-wicket win at New Williamfield means they stay up while Stirling go down.
IN the Eastern Premier Division a brilliant 88 from Michael Leask helped Stoneywood-Dyce chase Carlton’s 251 to beat the drop and send SMRH down on the final day of the season.