The strength in depth of the Western Premier Division was highlighted in emphatic style last weekend through a number of big performances and results. Most eye-catching of all were the events at Nunholm, where Your Move Dumfries claimed a stunning 62-run win over M8 Driving Ferguslie: with three rounds of the competition completed, Clydesdale and Prestwick are now the only teams left unbeaten.
“It was a great result, a great team performance,” said Dumfries skipper Chris McCutcheon, who followed the game from Spain after travelling for the Europa League Final. “I think we did well to recover from a difficult start and get to  at the end.
“We felt that par was probably 250, but a couple of good partnerships involving Tommy [McBride] andAl [Davidson] got us to that total. I always say this, but if you get to around 200 in amateur cricket you’ve got a chance in any game if you bowl and field well. At halfway we thought it was a bit light, but we got a couple of key wickets including that of Riyaad [Henry], who is really the spine of their batting. There were a few false shots after that, and we took full advantage.”
The return of South African professional Jesse Smit has strengthened the team that finished eighth in 2021, but with this year’s competition already looking like being a tight one, Dumfries’ victory over one of the favourites has highlighted the all-round talent that is there.
“We’ve got a good blend of young guys in their mid-teenage years, a couple of more experienced players who have been around the squad for a while, and then a couple of others like Scott Beveridge and Uday Reddipalli,” said Chris. “Al’s been about for a couple of years as well so, yeah, we’ve got a really good mix in the team which is really encouraging.
“The top teams are still going to be the likes of Ferguslie, Clydesdale, Prestwick and Ayr: I would certainly expect Ayr to improve with the quality of squad that they’ve got. But equally every team is pretty well balanced, and there’s nobody that I would say you expect to be losing all the time: anyone on their day can beat anybody, which is really good for the league.
“It means that every weekend is important, and from our point of view, if you look at how the fixtures started and the importance of the games, we were at home to Ayr who were in a good position [before the match was abandoned] and then Langside away – which was a game that we’d obviously hoped to win but it was quite a significant toss in terms of the conditions – then Ferguslie and now Clydesdale this weekend, so it’s quite a tough start for us.
“But it also means that we’re getting some good games under our belt going into the second half of the first part of the season, so to speak, so hopefully we’re in quite a good position going forward.”
Clydesdale’s Kaz Farid returns in place of the USA-bound Richie Berrington for the match at Titwood, while Matt Morgan replaces Jake Stafford in the Prestwick starting eleven as the team looks to maintain its 100 per cent record at home to Langside. The Glasgow side welcomes back experienced spinner Mo Ali as it in turn tries to build on its Scottish Cup success over Perth Doo’cot, while at New Cambusdoon, Jonny Baines, Robbie Walsh and a still not fully fit Andi McElnea come into the Ayr side in place of Hamza Tahir, Puskar Bhandari and Matt Baines for the visit of McCrea FS West of Scotland. Tom Spensley lines up for West in place of Ben Cole.
Also taking heart from their cup performance is Calero Kelburne, who suffered the narrowest of defeats to Eastern Premier League side Watsonians. Andrew Miller and Harry Mappleback retain their places in the eleven after impressing against last year’s beaten finalists, while Dougie Wylie returns after missing last weekend’s league loss to Prestwick.
At Meikleriggs, Ferguslie bring in Hasan Khan in place of Adam Tahir: Tunnock’s Uddingston, meanwhile, are hopeful that Moneeb Iqbal will have recovered in time from the tweaked hamstring that kept him out of last Saturday’s victory over Ayr.
Western Premier Division – 21 May 2022
SM Cricket Stirling County v Calero Kelburne (at New Williamfield)
M8 Driving Ferguslie v Tunnock’s Uddingston (at Meikleriggs)
Clydesdale v Your Move Dumfries (at Titwood)
Prestwick v Langside (at Henry Thow Oval)
Ayr v McCrea FS West of Scotland (at New Cambusdoon)
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