Champions Clydesdale raced back into Western Premier title contention yesterday with a crushing nine-wicket win over East Kilbride at Torrance House.
With four defeats already, the Titwood side had little margin for error going into the second half of the campaign and they wasted no time in overcoming their first hurdle.
Having won the toss, Dale’s bowlers made the most of helpful conditions to dismiss their hosts for just 70.
Callum Drummond and Basit Ali shared four wickets with the new ball before three other bowlers also claimed a brace as East Kilbride toiled.
Richie Berrington and Con de Lange went through the middle order to ensure there would be no recovery before Hamid Mahmood finished the job with two wickets for just one run while Extras were EK’s top scorer with 16!
With rain clouds gathering, Clydesdale then accelerated to their target in just 7.4 overs, Mo Awais leading the way with 38 from only 17 deliveries while Shreyas Chitnis was unbeaten on 23.
Dale’s hopes of fighting their way back into the title race were enhanced when leaders Uddingston slumped to a shock home defeat against Greenock.
The Bothwell men were skittled out for a meagre 105, Australian Julian Hulbert claiming four wickets, before the visitors recorded the finest win since their return to the top flight at the start of the season.
They didn’t have it all their own way as Uddingston’s bowlers showed some fight to claim five wickets but Neil Flack and Kyle Scrimegour each hit 32 as Greenock safely secured their third victory of the campaign.
Uddingston have been overtaken by Ayrshire rivals Ayr and Prestwick as the title race was once again blown wide open.
Shujaa Khan was Ayr’s bowling star with 6-34 as Dumfries were dismissed for 215 at Nunholm where Alan Davidson top-scored for the hosts with 82.
However, that effort was eclipsed by both Ayr openers, Michael Papps hitting 97no and Neil Smith 92 in a nine-wicket success.
Rain proved a pest in Paisley where, at Whitehaugh, Kelburne restricted Prestwick to 136-5 before a lengthy delay.
On the resumption, Kelburne were set 125 from 25 overs but were bundled out for 49 as Sachin Chaudry, who had earlier top-scored with 57, followed up with six wickets for just five runs.
At nearby Meikleriggs, Ferguslie had been reduced to 100-5 by Poloc before persistent rain forced the match to be abandoned.
EASTERN Premier leaders Arbroath remain on course for a second title success since 2013 after a comprehensive win over Falkland at Scroggie Park.
The Fifers, who had conceded a record 440 against Watsonians seven days earlier, did better on this occasion to dismiss the visitors for 302.
Arbroath’s main contributions came from young South African Hayden Laing who hit 67 while Ross McLean added a composed 48.
In reply Falkland were never up with the rate and were all out for 174.
Grange remain the closest challengers after a remarkable bowling display from Neil McCallum bowled them to derby success over Heriot’s at Goldenacre.
The former Scotland batsman claimed 6-31 as Heriot’s were restricted to 178 before Nick Farrar’s 69 guided Grange to a four-wicket win.
Elsewhere, Mike Carson maintained his rich vein of former with a second consecutive league century for Watsonians.
Overshadowed by George Munsey’s double ton against Falkland, Carson, who also hit 96no against Ayr in the Scottish Cup last Sunday, took centre stage as ‘Sonians crushed SMRH at Myreside.
Carson reached three figures from only 92 deliveries with a dozen boundaries and one maximum and went on to make 136 as the Myreside men posted 300-7.
SMRH had no answer to the pace of international duo Dewald Nel and Andy McKay who claimed four wickets apiece to shoot out the visitors for 89.
South African Lesiba Ngoepe’s 94 led Aberdeenshire to a total 234-7 against Forfarshire at Mannofield.
However, half-centuries from Umair Mohammed and Matty Parker eased Forfarshire to a three –wicket triumph.
Carlton and Glenrothes tied a thriller in a match delayed for an hour to allow the ground to dry at Grange Loan.
Safyaan Sharif spearheaded the Fifers’ effort with an enterprising 54 as Glenrothes posted 159-9 in what was reduced to 38 overs-a-side. tussle
Carlton, with three wickets in hand, needed four runs from their final over but could manage just three.