PRESTWICK skipper Tom Fleet praised his team’s mental strength after they bounced back from their first defeat of the campaign to defend a meagre total of 90 against champions Ferguslie.
The Ayrshire side went into the Meikleriggs encounter having lost their unbeaten record seven days earlier, and the prospect of a second defeat loomed when the home bowlers took advantage of a helpful track.
Haroon Tahir and Riyaad Henry claimed three wickets apiece as Prestwick’s innings came to an end after just 35.2 overs, Sachin Chaudhary top-scoring with a mere 17.
However, despite a dogged 24 from Gregor Preston-Jones, the champions found batting became no easier as the game progressed and the visiting attack ruthlessly cashed-in.
Tom Lord, with 4-14 and Fraser Macdonald, 4-25, were the heroes as Ferguslie, from 29-0, slumped to 67 all out.
Fleet said: “It was a brilliant gutsy effort from the boys. As our innings progressed we knew we just needed to get something close to 120 on the board.
“We thought we were very short but knew we had a chance with the wicket not being up to standard.
“We had to make is as hard and uncomfortable as possible for them and our bowlers hit their straps from ball one.
“Lordy came on and changed the game for us – he picked up the first three wickets and the momentum shifted.
“Fraser then knew how to bowl on that deck, using his variations really intelligently.
“We have a good mentality in the team where we know we always have a chance – we just need to stay in the game for as long as possible and find a way to win.”
Uddingston, the team that ended Prestwick’s winning run, maintained their title challenge though they too were pushed all the way by Clydesdale in a hard-fought encounter at Bothwell Castle.
Chasing a modest 120 after Ross Lyons conceded just 11 runs from his ten overs, Uddy were in trouble on 33-4, Umar Razaq and Zeeshan Bashir taking two wickets each.
However, a resolute stand of 84 between Gavin Bradley (54) and skipper Bryan Clarke (16no) paved the way for a five-wicket success.
Clarke, whose side top the table, said: “Ross was excellent and it was great from all the bowlers again. We had a wobble with the bat and to be fair to Clydesdale they’ve got us four down as opposed to us throwing wickets away.
“The situation really suited Gav and me – it’s a great win.”
West of Scotland are tucked in behind the top two after bouncing back from their first defeat to beat Stirling by 122 runs at Hamilton Crescent.
In-form Poloc moved into the top half of the table thanks to a four-wicket Shawholm win against a Greenock side who produced one of their more solid batting displays to post 178, albeit with the help of 36 Wides from the home bowlers, a tally bettered only by Saurabh Bandekar’s 69.
When Neil Flack’s four wickets then helped reduce Poloc to 41-5, Greenock looked certainties to celebrate their first win of the campaign.
Instead, a brilliant century stand between Kess Sajjad (77) and Abdul-Raoof Howard (46) steered Poloc to a 2-wicket success.
Like Greenock, East Kilbride are yet to win, Humza Sabri’s 80no driving Drumpellier to an eight-wicket win at Langloan.