No story better exemplifies the nature of this year’s Western Premier Division than that of M8 Driving Ferguslie. Defeats to Your Move Dumfries, McCrea FS West of Scotland and Calero Kelburne had left last season’s runners-up in the doldrums: back-to-back wins over Clydesdale and Prestwick, however, have put them right back in the title mix.
“As I’ve always said, we’re a good team, we’re a strong team, but we have heavily underperformed this year, even in some of the games we have won,” said skipper Riyaad Henry. “For me there was almost a bit of arrogance from our side: the excitement of the pink ball, having scored quite a few runs over the last few years with the red ball, there was this thought of, pink ball, we’ll just walk out and tonk it about, get to 300 and win the game. The way we’ve batted at various times shows that: there were a lot of soft dismissals, guys playing shots they didn’t need to play, and it was very disappointing.
“But there has been a great turnaround. It’s helped that Elliot [Moses] has come over: that’s given us a boost and brought a nice vibe to the club. He’s a classy player and is nice and calm when he bats, always looks in control, and that’s given the rest of us that feeling as well. Hopefully this is the time for us to go on a run like we did last year and maybe take it one step further, we’ll see. It’s been a very interesting season with the results we’ve seen so far, that’s for sure.”
Now in fourth, level on wins with West and Dumfries, Ferguslie travel to New Williamfield looking to close the gap to the top still further.
“Prestwick are still the side to beat,” said Riyaad, “but hopefully us beating them puts a bit of a carrot in front of others as well. One or two teams could turn them over and then you’ve got maybe five or six on three or four losses, which would make for a very exciting second half of the season.
“Stirling are like us in that they’ve also had a bit of a mixed bag results wise – they’ve come out on the wrong side of a couple of very, very close games – but they’re a very good team. They’ve got a few new players who have done really well which is exciting to see: I think they’re all students as well which is really good because they’ll be there for a while. We always like playing at Stirling, it’s a beautiful place to go and play cricket, and we’re looking forward to the challenge. Hopefully we perform well and get the result we want.”
Elsewhere, Chris Bellwood comes into the Dumfries eleven in place of Drew Dawson – Chris McBride, just announced in Scotland’s squad for the upcoming Cricket World Cup League 2 series with Namibia and Nepal, may also play – while Scott McElnea and Jonathan Baines return for Ayr, for whom Andi McElnea and Neil Logan miss out. Clydesdale, through to face Ferguslie in the final of the Rowan Cup after their semi-final win over SM Stirling County on Thursday, have Danny Cairns and Zain Ashraf back for their home match against West, who will be without John Oliver. Langside and Kelburne are both unchanged for their crucial meeting at Albert Park, while at the Henry Thow Oval, Prestwick have Tom Fleet back in the side that will play a much-changed Tunnock’s Uddingston: after their terrific win over Clydesdale last weekend, Bryan Clarke’s team will be missing Tom Willmott and Amaan Ramzan as well as the previously unavailable Ross Lyons and Aamir Gul.
Western Premier Division – 2 July 2022
SM Cricket Stirling County v M8 Driving Ferguslie (at New Williamfield)
Langside v Calero Kelburne (at Albert Park)
Clydesdale v McCrea FS West of Scotland (at Titwood)
Prestwick v Tunnock’s Uddingston (at Henry Thow Oval)
Ayr v Your Move Dumfries (at New Cambusdoon)
The Cricket Scotland Podcast will include a round-up of the men’s and women’s league action from across the country every Tuesday, with player interviews from our featured games. Follow @ScotlandPod on Twitter for all the latest information.