Western review - Cricket Media
WITH just one win in the opening month of the season the jury may still have been out on East Kilbride prior to Saturday’s trip to face Drumpellier at Langloan.
However, the premier division new boys came of age in emphatic fashion to dispel any doubt that they are in the top flight on merit.
The Torrance House troops first recovered from a shaky start with the bat, displaying real grit to post a challenging 145-9 and then blew the opposition away thanks to a devastating display with the ball.
Four of their batsmen – Stewart Kampman, Moneeb Iqbal, Peter Bocock and Umair Saeed – showed impressive resolve against a dominant Drumpellier attack who had removed East Kilbride’s opening pair for ducks.
Saeed went on to top-score with a hard-hitting 41 which included two sixes but few could have predicted that his tally would be five more than the entire home team managed between them.
That was largely down to the heroics of Irfan Shah who claimed seven wickets for just seventeen runs and at one stage removed four batsmen with consecutive deliveries.
Kampman, meanwhile, conceded a solitary run from his six overs to ensure that pressure was maintained at both ends.
Josh Johnston, East Kilbride’s young skipper, was naturally jubilant in the wake of a display which will have the rest of the league sitting up and taking notice.
“It was definitely a crunching performance and exactly what I was looking for,” he said.
“The guys in the middle really dug in with that bat and then Saeed’s hitting got us up to a respectable total
“‘Sublime’ is the word I would use for Irfan’s bowling. He was pitching it on a 1p coin and moving it both ways. It was a game-changing performance.”
Johnston and his team-mates will keep their feet firmly on the ground but they are entitled to take immense confidence from Saturday’s events and the skipper added: “It’s definitely time to kick-start East Kilbride’s Premier campaign.
“I see no reason why we shouldn’t go on and finish in the top half of the table – that should not be out of reach with our bowling attack and the depth we have to our batting.”
Drumpellier will be happy to draw a veil over this defeat, during which seven of their batsmen recorded ducks, and turn their attentions to the pursuit of a first win of the season.
Their chance may well come on Saturday when they visit Hamilton Crescent to face West of Scotland, the only other team yet to savour a victory.
West’s latest reverse came at high-flying Ayr whom they pushed all the way before going down by three wickets.
Champions Uddingston enjoyed a morale-boosting win over Dumfries at Bothwell Castle though the outcome looked anything but certain when the hosts totalled just 149-9.
However, Scott McKenzie claimed 5-43 as the visitors were dismissed for a disappointing 110.
Renfrew lost their unbeaten record but gave title favourites Clydesdale a run for their money before going down by just one wicket at King George V Playing Fields.