Western Premier review
Drumpellier took a further step out of the doldrums on Saturday with their second consecutive win.
After starting the campaign with four straight defeats there were many prepared to write off the Coatbridge side as relegation material.
However, victory over basement rivals West of Scotland last weekend lifted morale to the extent that Drumps were able to come out on top against title favourites Clydesdale.
“I think we were in a false position a couple of weeks ago,” said Gordon Shaw the club spokesman.
“A couple of the defeats were by really close margins and we were always confident we could turn things around.”
Batting first at Langloan, the hosts made a solid start as skipper Muhammad Ramzan and Zaheer Mohammed put on 53 for the first wicket.
The introduction of Mo Ali brought the breakthrough for the visitors, the left-arm spinner going on to claim four wickets to keep his side firmly in contention.
However, Zaheer and his brother Asad frustrated the visiting bowlers in a painstaking stand that yielded 86 runs.
Zaheer went on to top-score with a resolute 84 from 123 balls including ten boundaries while Asad fell just short of a half-century.
Together they ensured a competitive total of 178 for their side though Dale looked on course for a successful chase when Haroon Sher and Andrew Scobie put on a half-century for the first wicket.
But the removal of Sher saw the visitors slump alarmingly from 52-0 to 69-5 as Muhammad Ramzan and Abdul Sabri took charge.
Con de Lange offered more sustained resistance with a battling 53 but when he went the Titwood side had little else to offer, falling 21 runs short for a second consecutive defeat.
“It was only when Con was batting that a bit of worry started to creep in but it was a good all-round performance,” added Shaw.
Clydesdale’s latest reverse was good news for Ayr whose title bid remains on course after they maintained their unbeaten record with victory over Dumfries.
In a run-feast at Cambusdoon, Sikander Raza, the Zimbabwean Test player, scored a brilliant century as Ayr rattled up 327-7.
The innings was given its impetus by Reivers star Neil Smith who scored a solid half century but it was Raza who took the game away from Dumfries by
striking fifteen boundaries and two maximums in reaching 130 from only 96 deliveries before holing out off Peter Lojszczyk.
The home middle order were also able to hit out in grand style to take full advantage of the platform though the Dumfries bowlers stuck to their task and Scotland U19 seamer Niall Alexander, punished earlier, was rewarded with three wickets.
If Ayr expected to cruise to victory, their rivals had different ideas particularly Chris Bellwood and Lojszczyk who responded to their challenge in fine style.
Bellwood became the second centurion of the day, also reaching three figures at better than a run-a-ball with eleven fours and a six while Lojszczyk made 91 before becoming one of Raza’s three victims as Dumfries closed on 269-7.
Ayr skipper Andi McElnea said: “Raza and Neil Smith batted superbly to set us up and the rest of the guys did their bit to get us beyond 300 for the second time this season.”
McElnea also paid tribute to a valiant Dumfries side, adding: “A special congratulations to Chris Bellwood on his ton – it was a great knock. Dumfries were full of fight.”
Renfrew remain Ayr’s closest challengers after they virtually ended Uddingston’s hopes of a successful title defence with a thrilling four-run win at Bothwell Castle.
Despite four wickets from Sammy Zia and 93 from Matt McEwan, it was the visitors’ teamwork which won the day.
Moneeb Iqbal’s unbeaten half-century was the highlight at Torrance House where East Kilbride’s seven-wicket success left West of Scotland still seeking an elusive first win.