FERGUSLIE yesterday produced a remarkable comeback to keep alive their hopes of Western Premier glory.
The Paisley men headed to Dumfries as firm favourites to secure the win they needed to maintain pressure on leaders Prestwick.
However, a dreadful batting performance, combined with some excellent bowling from the home side who used conditions to their advantage, saw Ferguslie collapse to a miserable 65 all out.
It would have been even worse for the visitors but for a battling 27 from Michael English but the bowlers were on top throughout the match, Ferguslie bouncing back in style to turn the match on its head.
Riyaad Henry led the way, twice taking two wickets in an over as Dumfries were reduced to 34-6, skipper Jamey Carruthers bagging the other two.
There was modest resistance from the home batsman to stall Ferguslie’s victory charge but a double from Greg Cameron and two run-outs clinched a sensational win.
Ferguslie are still in pursuit of Prestwick who retained pole position with victory over Greenock at the Henry Thow Oval.
Fraser Macdonald’s 71 helped the hosts reach 242-8 before Mitchell Rao’s 5-24 ensured that Greenock fell 49 runs short despite Jonathan Hempsey’s battling half-century.
Meanwhile, Uddingston remain third after a victory which virtually sealed Kelburne’s relegation fate at Whitehaugh.
In a typically low-scoring affair at the Paisley venue, Ross Lyons produced the innings of the game with 42 to help Uddingston reach 138 while Ross Maclean claimed 5-20 for the hosts.
Adil Raza responded with 4-46 while Lyons and Amir Gul had three each as Kelburne fell 31 short.
East Kilbride may be joining Kelburne in the drop after their match with Poloc was cancelled at weather-jinxed Torrance House.
Outgoing champions Clydesdale beat Ayr by nine wickets at Titwood thanks largely to a 148-run stand between Paddy Barbour, who top-scored with 79no, and 67no from Con de Lange who had earlier claimed 3-36 as the visitors were restricted to 153-9.
THE Eastern Premier title race is also poised for a thrilling finale after second top Grange sent leaders Arbroath tumbling to a heavy eight-wicket defeat at Portgower Place.
Arbroath never recovered from the early loss of the normally free-scoring Brendon Ford who was the first of James Tapper’s three victims.
However, Tapper was trumped by Tom Foulds who claimed 4-24 including the final wicket of Fraser Burnett who top-scored with 32 and who had looked capable of carrying his side to a more challenging total than the 113 they managed.
Preston Mommsen top-scored with 38no while Nick Farrar made 37 as Grange cruised to their target in 23 overs to leave the outcome of the title race firmly in the balance.
Grange are just a couple of percentage points behind the leaders with two games remaining but Heriot’s – a further three back – are still in contention after sending Falkland towards the relegation trapdoor with a thumping 160-run success at Goldenacre.
Half-centuries from Mark Watt and Hayes van der Berg propelled the capital side to 222-2 before Adrian Neil’s 5-24 sealed Falkland’s fate.
Falkland’s defeat was good news for SMRH who celebrated their top flight survival with a 15-run DLS win against Aberdeenshire at Inverleith.
Elsewhere Carlton had an exciting win by 9 runs – also on DLS – at Forfarshire while in yet another rain-affected match Glenrothes, helped by Safyaan Sharif’s five wickets, prevailed by 15 runs against Watsonians.