WDCU Round Up
The feel-good factor is relatively easy to detect but a little more difficult to define.
They have it at Kelburne Cricket Club, but what makes it?
Is it a team whose enthusiasm is matched by their talent and who never know when they are beaten?
Is it their captain, a former Scotland batsman, boldly predicting that his newly promoted team can defy the odds to finish in the top three of the Western Union Premier division?
Perhaps it is a club stalwart such as Neil Maclean proudly watching his older son run in to bowl his heart out for the team but just as proudly explaining how his younger boy is performing an equally important job in the scorebox.
Maybe it is Bob Wright, the media liaison man, identifying two rare visitors from the national press and extending the warmest of welcomes.
The kids playing contentedly beyond the boundary and those supping even more contentedly in front of a sun-kissed pavilion surely also contribute to this positive feeling.
Most likely the feel-good factor is created by all these things and a few more –many parts pulling together with the common aim of creating a successful community club – on and off the field.
It all came together perfectly on Saturday as Kelburne recovered from a dreadful start to defeat the 2012 champions Dumfries at sunny Whitehaugh.
At 21-4 after electing to bat, it looked as if Qasim Sheikh’s side might be brought down to earth with an almighty thump following their opening day success against Renfrew.
Instead they rebuilt through Omer Hussain and the impressive youngster Jak O’Connell before aggressively seizing the initiative with Stevie McLister and Dougie Wylie to the fore.
The former led the way with seven boundaries and two towering sixes in his 65 but he was almost overshadowed by Wylie whose audacious “switch-hit” brought another maximum and the biggest cheer of the day.
Their efforts carried Kelburne to 199-9 before McLister showed his all-round skills with two key Dumfries wickets.
The visitors, having slumped to 20-4, failed to show the same powers of recovery as the Paisley side, subsiding to 65 all out as Scott Hamilton cashed-in with 4-20.
“We’ve worked hard to turn the club around from where we were ten years ago,” said former president Maclean.
“Most of the boys in the first team have come through the junior ranks and that brings a lot of satisfaction.
“We also have more youngsters coming through and a local community that supports the club.
“Things are going well just now and there is a good vibe around the place but we know we have to keep working hard.”
By their own admission, Kelburne are by no means the finished article but they are heading firmly in the right direction.
Their next on-field challenge will be considerable when they head across town on Saturday for an enticing derby with a Ferguslie side who may be equally buoyant.
Also promoted last season – and as champions – the Meikleriggs side kick-started their campaign on Saturday with a comprehensive victory over 2013 champions Uddingston at Bothwell Castle.
Skipper Gregor Preston-Jones top-scored with 49 of his team’s 169-9 while Amir Gul’s five wickets for Uddingston proved in vain, Hamza Tahir and Keith Dabengwa claiming three each to dismiss the hosts for just 96.
Ayr continue to mount a stout defence of their title, Scott McElnea claiming five wickets as the champions routed Renfrew for 53 before cruising to a nine-wicket win at Cambusdoon.
Clydesdale also have two wins from two, Con de Lange scoring 103no and Abdul Sabri dismissing five of his old team-mates in a 65-run success against Drumpellier at Titwood.
Former Saltires star Ross Lyons scored 31 crucial runs and claimed four wickets as East Kilbride prevailed by just seven runs in a low-scoring clash with West of Scotland at Torrance House.