Western Union Premier Division review week 15
ANDY Tennant revealed there was no panic in the Prestwick ranks after their disastrous start to Saturday’s Ayrshire derby at Cambusdoon.
The league leaders lost in-form openers Shahzad Rafiq and Fazal Jawad in the blink of an eye as Scott McElnea produced a brilliant spell of new-ball bowling for Ayr.
And when McElnea added the wicket of Luke Smith, Prestwick looked in disarray on 21-3.
However, Tennant’s men have frequently shown their resilience and, inspired by a brilliant century from Sachin Chaudhary, they did so again to set a challenging total before going on to complete a win that takes them another step closer to claiming a first Western Premier title.
Coaching consultant Tennant said: “I’ve said it before that the guys keep finding ways to get the job done.
“It’s been symptomatic of our season that we’ve dug ourselves out of tricky situations. It didn’t look good when the openers got out because they put on about 70 last week.
“But there was no panic and Sachin played a beautiful innings – it was real old-school classical batting.”
The Indian star, at the crease from the first over until the 45th, stroked a wonderfully controlled 108 and received excellent support from Ross Patterson and Tom Fleet who contributed 38 and 39 respectively.
Their efforts allowed Prestwick to hoist their tally to 227 before Willie Rowan produced a brute of a delivery to bowl Michael Papps for a duck while Chaudhary removed Ayr’s other free-scoring opener Neil Smith for 4.
However, a stand of 103 between Andi McElnea and Shujaa Khan put Ayr back in contention.
Khan departed for 45 – another Chaudhary victim – but McElnea was going well on 69 and looked capable of carrying his side to the target until a brilliant piece of fielding by Mitchell Rao ran out the Ayr captain and turned the game decisively Prestwick’s way.
They eventually ran out winners by 43 runs and are now just three games away from glory.
Tennant added: “With fifteen overs to go the game could have gone either way but the run out was crucial – it was great work by Mitchell.”
Ferguslie remain the side most likely to deny Prestwick after they stayed in touch with a 35-run victory over Kelburne at Meikleriggs.
Half-centuries from Michael English and Dave Stafford proved the difference between the sides in a low-scoring encounter, Dougie Wylie’s 4-24 restricting the hosts to 188.
However, Greg Cameron responded with 4-21 as Kelburne slipped closer to relegation.
Uddingston are also still in contention though they needed all their resolve to beat East Kilbride by just one-wicket in a rain-affected encounter at Bothwell Castle.
Ross Lyons claimed four wickets to restrict EK to 142 from 39 overs but Uddingston were in trouble on 133-9 until Gavin Main (17no) and skipper Bryan Clarke (9no) held their nerve.
Basit Ali scored an extraordinary century as champions Clydesdale recovered from 119-7 to post 256-8 against Poloc at Shawholm.
Ali plundered 103no to demoralise the home side who then slumped to 153 all out, Mo Awais claiming 5-33.
Dumfries’ Alan Davidson also claimed five wickets – for just eleven runs – as Greenock were bundled out for 60 at Glenpark, the visitors going on to complete victory by six wickets.