With just three games left to play in the Western Premier Division, Ferguslie’s title hopes remain very much alive. Riyaad Henry’s men maintained their pursuit of Clydesdale with their eighth successive win last weekend, and as they go for nine in a row at home to Prestwick this time out, they know that doing so will take them closer to a winner-takes-all decider on the final day of the season.
Key to their victory over Uddingston was the contribution of Adil Ghaffar, whose innings of 49 steered the team out of early trouble in its chase of 165. The fast-bowling all-rounder has stepped up at crucial times all the way through the summer, and he is happy to have played his part again as the latest stage of Ferguslie’s testing run-in was safely negotiated.
“It was a good win,” he said. “Uddingston is always a tricky place to go, especially when they start getting on top of you a wee bit. They like to get under your skin, and on Saturday they put us under pressure, especially when they had us four down after Taimoor [Ahmad] had just got out and Uzair [Ahmad] had just come in.
“At that point it was tough, the pitch was starting to spin and Ross [Lyons] and Aamir Gul obviously know those conditions well. But it was good, Uzair batted really well under a lot of pressure. The best moment of the game was when he was getting a wee bit of chat because he hadn’t got off the mark yet, but then he whacked Aamir Gul straight back over his head for four. That was brilliant to see from the other end! It was a really good win, and it shows how strong we are.”
Saturday’s match saw Adil pass 300 runs for the season, a tally that includes his opening-day hundred against West of Scotland. His form with the ball has been exceptional, too, with two four-wicket hauls and one five-fer amongst his 25 wickets so far.
“I would say I’ve had a good season,” he said. “I would have liked to have contributed a bit more with the bat because I know I’ve got it in there, but I’m thankful to Ferguslie and Riyaad for giving me the chance, because when I first joined I was batting at eight or nine. But I worked hard over the winter with Taimoor and Riyaad and the rest of the guys and I feel that I’m in a good place now as a result.
“I’m enjoying batting at five,” he continued. “I started the season opening, but I feel more comfortable there, especially against spin as I feel that’s my strong area. As a senior player I’ve taken that responsibility on my shoulders more this season, so if we are in trouble I’m not really too fazed by it because I know my abilities and the rest of the team’s abilities, and we’ve got a lot of strength down the order as well, so we don’t get frightened by any situation that we’re in. We know that when we need to dig through, we can do it.”
Ferguslie’s last meeting with Prestwick was a case in point, as a 240-run partnership between Riyaad and Taimoor saw them chase down 249 at the Henry Thow Oval in July.
“Prestwick this weekend should be a good one,” said Adil. “They’re always a tricky team to come up against: like Uddy, they really like to get on top of you, especially when they sense they’re in with a chance.
“But I’m really looking forward to it. We played okay over at their place, we didn’t bowl great but Taimoor and Riyaad were quality with the bat, and that was a real turnaround in our season because we’d just lost a couple of games. I feel it’ll be an exciting and a close game, and hopefully we can come out on top.”
Elsewhere, Clydesdale take on Langside at Titwood, while Poloc and Greenock face trips to Bothwell Castle Policies and Hamilton Crescent respectively. At time of writing, the outcome of Dumfries’ appeal to the WDCU after the abandonment of their game against Greenock is unknown – either way, they will be looking for a big performance at home to Stirling County to keep their survival hopes alive.
Ferguslie will also be looking for a big turn-out on Sunday, when Meikleriggs hosts the inaugural Spirit of Cricket match against Clydesdale in memory of club and Scottish cricket legends Sandy Strang and Con de Lange. Both teams will feature players, past and present, who had a close association with Sandy and Con, while a raffle on the day will raise money for Marie Curie and the Brain Tumour Charity. An online auction is raising further funds: details, including how to bid, can be found on Ferguslie’s social media platforms.
Western Premier Division – 4 September 2021
Clydesdale v Langside (at Titwood)
M8 Driving Ferguslie v Prestwick (at Meikleriggs)
McCrea FS West of Scotland v Greenock (at Hamilton Crescent)
Tunnock’s Uddingston v Poloc (at Bothwell Castle Policies)
Your Move Dumfries v SM Cricket Stirling County (at Nunholm)
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