A superb century from Chris Greaves propelled Forfarshire to a four-wicket victory over Uddingston in a memorable and hard-fought CS Grand Final at The Grange yesterday.
For the sixth time in seven years it was the Eastern Premier champions who prevailed over their Western counterparts but the Broughty Ferry team were pushed all the way after Scotland star Calum MacLeod, making his first appearance of the season for Uddingston, had also reached three figures to ensure their rivals were set a challenging target of 260.
The Bothwell team’s hopes of joining Prestwick as Western winners of the domestic showpiece were raised further when Niall Alexander struck twice to reduce ‘Shire to 7-2.
However, Scotland star Michael Leask responded by helping himself to 18 off Abdul Sabri’s third over to launch a blistering counter-attack during which Leask and Greaves added 79 runs in twelve overs.
Hard-hitting Leask remained the principal aggressor as he raced to 44 from 36 deliveries, striking ten boundaries.
However, the introduction of the wily Amir Gul brought his downfall as the Western Premier’s leading wicket-taker got his man trapped in front.
And when Gul had Callum Garden caught by Alexander in his next over, the momentum of a topsy-turvy clash switched back in favour of the men from the west.
Forfarshire, though, reacted to their latest mini-crisis in fine style as skipper Umair Mohammed joined Greaves to steady the ship with a stand of 45.
Mohammed eventually fell to MacLeod but there was no stopping Greaves whose wonderfully controlled innings, along with a splendid contribution from Scott Cameron, carried ‘Shire towards their target.
Greaves stroked 115 with thirteen boundaries before being bowled by Anwar Hafeez with his team just 18 runs short of their target but Cameron finished unbeaten on 47 as Forfarshire sealed their win with eight balls to spare.
Earlier Uddingston, having won the toss, suffered an early setback when Mo Awais departed for a duck, caught by Greaves off Cameron.
The Scotland paceman struck again, clean bowling Hafeez for 22 to reduce the Bothwell team to 33-2.
However, the arrival of MacLeod brought the experience and expertise required to see off the early pressure.
The former Warwickshire and Durham player added 39 with Hari Singh (24) and 29 with Gul (15) though progress was fairly sedate.
It took the arrival of Gavin Bradley to add impetus by clouting two Jack Hogarth no-balls over the rope for the day’s first maximums.
Hogarth soon had revenge, sending Bradley on his way for a rapid 21 but Uddingston, with MacLeod now in full swing, refused to relinquish their new-found momentum.
MacLeod duly reached his half-century from 76 balls before moving through the gears as he eyed the possibility of three figures for himself and a genuinely competitive total for his team.
He had excellent support from Gavin Main who stroked a run-a-ball 45 with three boundaries in a sixth wicket stand that yielded 103 three runs.
Main eventually became the second victim of Brock Ditchmen, trapped lbw, but MacLeod went on to reach his century from 116 balls.
He remained unbeaten at the end, having made 109 with ten fours and one maximum while Abdul Sabri added a late six to help the Western Premier champions post 259-6.
Cameron, Ditchmen and Hogarth all claimed two wickets while Bryce Alchin and Glenn Carnegie boasted the best economy rates thanks to their tight line and length in the pivotal early overs of the contest.
MEANWHILE, Strathmore Union champions Meigle will play in the Eastern Premier for the first time next season after beating Edinburgh CC in yesterday’s promotion play-off.