Round Seven of the Western Premier Division sees perhaps its biggest game so far, as second-placed Ferguslie travel to Titwood to face still-unbeaten leaders Clydesdale. It has been a season of mixed fortunes for the Paisley club, but after back-to-back league wins in weeks five and six and silverware in the form of the Rowan Cup yesterday, captain Riyaad Henry is pleased that his side is beginning to show its true colours.
“[Our league season thus far has been] good, but inconsistent,” he reflected. “But we’re starting to find how we can play and how we should play, having a more solid game-plan with both bat and ball.
“If we can push on from here it would be even better,” he added. “Going into the start of the second half of the season, it’s not a bad time to be building some momentum.”
After consecutive defeats to Stirling County and Uddingston it was the eight-wicket win over Prestwick which began that impetus, unbeaten centuries from Riyaad and Taimoor Ahmad making light of the highest successful chase in the division thus far.
“The Prestwick win was massive,” said the all-rounder, “really, really big. To win any game against Prestwick, especially away, is hard enough, but to have myself and Taimoor chase that down quite comfortably after the start we had gave us a big boost in confidence and showed that as a team we can dig ourselves out of tough spots to win.
“It was good timing for us, and now we’ve just got to build on it from week on week.”
While Riyaad and Taimoor have led the way with the bat – with 248 runs at 49.60 and 329 runs at 82.25 respectively, the pair occupy two of the top three spots in the latest league batting totals – there is plenty of strength elsewhere in the squad, too.
“Adil Ghaffar is very dangerous with both bat and ball,” said Riyaad. “He’s really starting to hit his straps with the ball at the moment, bowling in good areas consistently, swinging it both ways, and he’s starting to bowl pretty quick as well. And in the first game we played against West, he really showed us what he is capable of with the bat, and that is still there.
“Omer Hussain is such a good player, such a skilful batter, and he’s also starting to find a bit of form, [while] David Stafford just keeps doing what he’s doing – when we’re able to put him in a position when we’ve got wickets in hand and a couple of overs left, and he can get his pads on and go out and have some fun, he’s devastating.
“Haroon Tahir and Hasseeb Zaker have just been fantastic with the ball – one right-arm, one left-arm – they’ve both bowled really consistently and are now starting to get the rewards in terms of wickets and economy rate. And Hamid Mahmood is looking really good in the nets too,” he added. “He’s starting to understand his game and what makes him effective, and he’ll come right for us this season as well.”
That the whole team is coming good at just the right time is critical, as Riyaad looks ahead to a weekend which already carries extra significance.
“It’s a must-win game for us if we want to challenge for the title,” he said. “If no-one else is going to beat Clydesdale, then we have to be that team that does so in order to have a chance. They are a very difficult team to beat, especially at home, but if we play our best cricket, focus on executing our skills, I think it’ll be a very close game.
“It’ll be a tough game, but they are definitely not unbeatable.”
Western Premier Division – 17 July 2021
Clydesdale v M8 Driving Ferguslie (at Titwood)
Langside v Poloc (at Albert Park)
SM Cricket Stirling County v Greenock (at New Williamfield)
Tunnock’s Uddingston v McCrea FS West of Scotland (at Bothwell Castle Policies)
Your Move Dumfries v Prestwick (at Nunholm)
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