WDCU - Week 3 Round-up

02 Jun

From Cricket Media

Western Premier League

Clydesdale had just beaten champions Uddingston on their own patch – the sort of result that might once have sparked raucous celebrations – yet the away dressing room was strangely muted in the wake of an eight-wicket demolition job. 

The Titwood side may well be on the march but each step is being cautiously plotted. 

There is a steely determination in the ranks represented off-field by chairman of cricket Colin Mitchell, carried onto it by player-coach Con de Lange and spread throughout the team by captain Majid Haq. 

The latter two were hugely influential in Saturday’s proceedings, conceding a combined 43 runs from twenty-five overs of spin as well as contributing with the bat. 

Sterner tests may come when Haq and Scotland team-mate Richie Berrington are away on international duty and their task would have been much more demanding at Bothwell Castle Policies had the home side not been without more than half their first-choice team including a trio of county stars in Calum MacLeod, Gavin Main and Andrew Umeed.

Nor should it be forgotten that Clydesdale were in trouble against West of Scotland on the opening day of the season before rain intervened. 

The current evidence, though, suggests that the south-siders are worthy title favourites – even if that status is only reluctantly accepted by Mitchell. 

“We are very much a work in progress and no-one is getting carried away,” he said. 

“There are some very encouraging signs and there has been a definite ground shift in attitude. 

“The guys are training really hard and showing a lot more discipline and I think Con takes a lot of credit for that.

“He is a very focused cricketer and his approach is extremely professional. That is rubbing off on everyone around him.” 

De Lange, brought in from Northants during the close-season, is already proving himself a shrewd acquisition and may well go on to be the club’s best signing since Yasir Arafat took Titwood by storm a decade ago. 

While it was Haq who bowled the majority of overs – fifteen in all, seven of which were consecutive maidens – and claimed 3-19, de Lange caught the eye with his silky smooth action. 

The South African also bagged the key wickets of Uddingston professional Matt McEwan as well as the in-form Sammy Zia and top scorer Gavin Bradley. 

Without Bradley’s painstaking 74-ball 37, the Villagers would have been in even deeper trouble but their 132-9 was never going to trouble Clydesdale especially when 31 runs came from the first two overs of their reply. 

While Paddy Barbour departed for a hard-hitting 27 and Haq for 15, de Lange and Berrington completed the job, the former top-scoring with 44no from only 36 balls while the Scotland batsman hinted at a return to full fitness and form with five boundaries in his 35no. 

“It was a quiet away dressing room after the game and I think Con has told the players the time for celebrating will be if we win trophies,” added Mitchell. 

Home skipper Bryan Clarke, without blaming the absence of key players, simply said: “It was a very bad day at the office.”

While Clydesdale’s fortunes have looked up since that rain-affected opening day, West of Scotland’s have gone in the opposite direction. 

Their severely depleted side came a poor second at Dumfries where John Blain’s six wickets restricted the hosts to 201. 

That was far too many for the visitors who slumped to 70 all out as the evergreen Pat Druce claimed five wickets for the second week running. 

Ayr rattled-up 338-5 en route to an easy win over Drumpellier at Langloan. 

Professional Sikander Raza top-scored with 89 while skipper Andy McElnea hit 85 before the former claimed 5-31 as Drumps slid to 137 all out. 

Kamran Saeed, fresh from a T20 century, top-scored again for Renfrew with 71 in a 22-run win over East Kilbride.

There were fireworks from Ferguslie in the Western First Division, the Paisley side amassing 386-2 against Greenock with Zimbabwean Keith Dabengwa hitting an astonishing 184 – more than a century of them in boundaries (seventeen fours and six maximums).

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