Stirling stun Prestwick
William Dick (CricketMedia Scotland)
MATT Tweedie, the Stirling captain, lavished praise on his top-flight newcomers after they secured a convincing opening day victory over champions Prestwick at the Henry Thow Oval.
Superbly paced half-centuries from Tom Bradburn and Brandon McMullen helped Stirling post an impressive 252-8 after Tweedie had opted to bat first.
The innings had been given a solid start by Graeme Taylor’s 43 and, despite the loss of five wickets, Bradburn and McMullen refused to panic as they set about building a defendable total with a flurry of big shots.
Ross Paterson was the pick of the home attack with 3-36 while Sachin Chaudhary conceded just 25 runs from his ten overs.
Chaudhary looked like Prestwick’s best hope of spearheading a successful run-chase with a composed innings of 60 but when he was run out by Taylor, the visitors seized control.
Gavin Anderson claimed three key top order wickets before Prestwick’s middle order and tail fell away to be dismissed for 190 – 44 runs short of a revised DLS target.
Tweedie said: “I’m very happy with our performance today. It was an excellent team effort with a couple of standout performances with the bat from Tom Bradburn and Brandon McMullen as well as an excellent bowling/fielding effort from the whole team.
“Both Bradburn and McMullen hit run-a-ball 64 and 63 respectively and both constructed their innings well and accelerated at the ideal time.
“Today’s result shows us that we can compete well in this league and we have to strive to perform to this standard week-in, week-out throughout the season.”
Ferguslie, who have finished in the top three for the last three seasons, made an excellent start to their campaign with a surprisingly comfortable win over Clydesdale at Meikleriggs.
Matches between these two rivals are traditionally close-fought affairs but the Paisley men dominated this one and never looked back after centurion Michael English and Gregor Preston-Jones put on 142 for the first wicket.
English, fresh from a century for Scotland A a week earlier, went on to carry his bat for a superb 123no as Ferguslie posted 238-7.
Clydesdale, for whom Scotland star Richie Berrington batted with a dislocated finger, could muster just 133 in reply while Hamza Tahir, back at Meikleriggs after a season at Poloc, helped himself to 3-13.
Poloc themselves were involved in a thriller, winning by just one wicket with three balls to spare to deny West of Scotland a victorious return to the top flight at Hamilton Crescent.
Having posted 199, West looked to be on top when they reduced Poloc to 69-5 but a brilliant 105 from Coenie Nel proved decisive.
However, it still took two lusty maximums in the final over from Imran Ameer to get the south-siders over the line.