FERGUSLIE’s coronation as Western Premier champions may have to wait a few days but Saturday’s fine win against Dumfries, combined with Clydesdale’s loss to West of Scotland, means it is merely a matter of “when” not “if.”

A freak combination of results could still see Dale overhaul the Paisley men but even Ferguslie skipper Jamey Carruthers acknowledged that the title is as good as in the bag.

Without counting chickens, the normally cautious Carruthers declared: “We still need a few more points to confirm the title but we are confident we can do it next week.

“It will be good to get over the line.”

Ferguslie demonstrated the clinical efficiency of champions as, batting first, they confidently made their way to an imposing 275-6.

Their innings was again anchored by the league’s most consistent batsman Michael English who compiled an attractive 90 and would surely have reached his third century of the campaign but for an unfortunate run-out.

English, who has now amassed almost 600 league runs as well as two Scottish Cup centuries, had solid support from Riyaad Henry (49) and Taimoor Ahmad who smashed a rapid 44 with three sixes.

Dumfries, battling for survival, kept Ferguslie waiting for their win with a gutsy batting display of their own before falling 59 runs short.

Carruthers added: “Michael has been excellent all season but our overall performance today was only good in parts.”

While Ferguslie can contemplate securing the title at Greenock on Saturday, Dumfries may have to win all three of their remaining fixtures to have any chance of top-flight survival.

Their cause was not helped when third bottom Greenock produced one of their best performances of the season to secure an eight-wicket win at Uddingston.

Derek Allan, with 63no, was the only home batsman to make a substantial contribution as Greenock skipper Neil Flack’s 4-25 helped restrict Uddingston to 144.

Flack also led from the front with the bat, scoring an unbeaten 43 as the visitors reached their target with six overs to spare.

Ayr remain deep in trouble after a five-wicket derby defeat at Prestwick where the visitors were bowled out for just 92, Gavin Pitt starring with 4-30 before Fazal Jawad’s 41 was the decisive batting performance of the match.

Clydesdale, needing their own derby win against West to have any serious chance of catching Ferguslie, could only post a modest 193-9.

James Fearn led West’s winning reply with 55.

Stirling remain third after a thrilling 1-run win over Poloc at New Williamfield. Matt Tweedie’s 69 helped Stirling post 222-8 but Saif Sajjad looked like spearheading a successful chase until he was run out in the last over for 58.