After a fascinating opening round in which players of all ages took their chance to shine, the WDCU Western Premier Division resumes this weekend with five more intriguing clashes to enjoy. Most eye-catching of all is the one at the Henry Thow Oval, where Uddingston faces a Prestwick side buoyed by its fine win over Stirling County at New Williamfield.
Saturday’s game had seemed to be going the way of the hosts after a strong start to their chase of the visitors’ 214, but it was the potency of Prestwick’s spin attack which proved decisive in the end.
“Stirling’s openers were very organised,” said Prestwick skipper Fraser Macdonald. “They put away the bad balls and put themselves in the box seat, really. After about eighteen overs they were 85 for none and well and truly on their way to victory.
“But Sachin Choudhary took a hat-trick in the nineteenth which completely turned the game, and then Majid Haq just suffocated the middle order, bowling maiden after maiden.” Choudhary ended with 3 for 23 and debutant Haq 4 for 9 as Stirling County was dismissed for 191.
“All in all, I’d give us about seven out of ten,” he continued. “We batted within ourselves then bowled pretty poorly with the new ball, to be honest. But the middle-overs bowling was brilliant and the fielding was pretty good too, so overall I’m happy. It was a serious test for us, because Stirling County are a very organised team who’ll win a lot of games this year.”
Fraser is similarly confident about his own side’s chances in the weeks ahead.
“Like every other team, we’re just delighted to be playing competitive cricket first and foremost, but I think our squad’s in a really good place,” he said. “We’ve brought in Majid Haq and made a really good local signing in Inderjit Singh after we lost Faisal Jawad to Clydesdale.
“So I feel really good about the coming season – in twenty years I can’t remember a better pre-season and our effort at training has been fantastic. I know we’ll be a top-four team, and I’m very hopeful that we’ll be lifting silverware as well.”
Uddingston will be looking for a positive reaction after their four-wicket defeat to Clydesdale, for whom Calum Drummond took 4 for 38 and Arun Krishna 3 for 33 in a low-scoring encounter at Bothwell Castle Policies. The Titwood side put in an excellent performance to overhaul the home side’s 137, Imran Mughal’s 42 playing a key role in steadying a chase that could easily have proved tricky. Most encouraging of all was the contribution of the younger players on show, with Uddy’s Thomas Willmott and Owen Gould and Bahadar Esakiel of Clydesdale all impressing, the fifteen-year-old Esakiel crowning a memorable debut with the wicket of ex-Scotland international Ross Lyons.
Paddy Barbour’s team welcomes Dumfries, victors over Poloc last time out, who in turn play West of Scotland, who will be keen to put their opener against Ferguslie behind them. Adil Ghaffar scored a century and David Stafford 63 in a dominant display from the Paisley side, while Taimoor Ahmad added figures of 5 for 20 to his innings of 83 as the West crashed to a 167-run defeat.
Greenock travel to Meikleriggs after an 81-run loss to Langside, who entertain Stirling County at Albert Park. Captain Zeeshan Khan hit 103 as the side previously known as Weirs celebrated its first-ever game in the top flight in the best way possible. Sterner challenges are sure to lie ahead for the former works team, but with its long-term future now secured, the continuing story of this historic old club is one that the whole of Scottish cricket will be following with interest.
Western Premier Division – 12 June 2021
Clydesdale v Your Move Dumfries (at Titwood)
Langside v SM Cricket Stirling County (at Albert Park)
M8 Driving Ferguslie v Greenock (at Meikleriggs)
Poloc v McCrea FS West of Scotland (at Shawholm)
Prestwick v Tunnock’s Uddingston (at Henry Thow Oval)
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