Ferguslie clinch title
William Dick (CricketMedia Scotland)
FERGUSLIE were celebrating after beating Greenock to clinch the Western Premier title for the first time.
It was more than half a century ago that the Paisley side enjoyed their last league success in winning the old Western Union and they ended the long wait in style – not just yesterday at Glenpark but throughout a season in which they have been the dominant outfit in the division.
They had lost only once – ironically against yesterday’s hosts – and revenge was both sweet and convincing as they first restricted Greenock to 173 and then breezed to their target with seven wickets in hand.
Greg Cameron was the bowling star, claiming four wickets including that of home professional Saurabh Bandekar for 70.
Cameron’s day was marred when he was stretchered off after picking up a knee injury but his team-mates eased the pain by completing victory.
Michael English and Gregor Preston Jones, the division’s most consistent opening pair, gave their side a familiarly solid start with a 91-run partnership before the former fell for 46.
But Preston-Jones went on to make a crucial 55 as Ferguslie homed-in on the title.
Defeat plunges Greenock back into relegation trouble after second bottom Ayr produced one of their best displays of the season to beat Poloc at Cambusdoon and grab a lifeline.
Skipper Andi McElnea and Anwar Hafeez both stroked centuries as Ayr posted 305-4 before Coenie Nel top-scored with 80 in the visitors’ reply of 262-9.
In an extraordinary match at Nunholm bottom placed Dumfries tied with Stirling for the second time this season.
Skipper Matt Tweedie’s century appeared to have put Stirling in control at 237-8 but Jeroen Smit kept Dumfries in touch until the tail-enders just failed to get the final run that would have seen them clinch a crucial victory in their battle to beat the drop.
Uddingston recovered from a disastrous start to beat West of Scotland at Hamilton Crescent and enhance their chances of a top-four finish.
Thanks to a century from Jimmy Sholto-Douglas, the visitors reached 202, having been 15-3, and then bowled out West for 183.
Outgoing champions Prestwick suffered a four-wicket home defeat to a Clydesdale side who remain in pole position to finish runners-up to Ferguslie.
MEANWHILE Grange moved into a virtually unassailable position in their quest for Eastern Premier glory after beating Arbroath while closest challengers and reigning champions Heriot’s suffered a damaging derby defeat at Watsonians.
Ryan Flannigan, Preston Mommsen and Dylan Budge all scored half-centuries to help Grange reach 281-7 at Raeburn Place before a depleted Arbroath fell 53 runs short in a spirited response.
Across the capital at Myreside Hayes van der Berg appeared to have set up a potential title decider against Grange next Saturday when his brilliant 164 put Heriot’s in charge at 270-7.
However, ‘Sonians pulled off a memorable run-chase with George Munsey hitting 63 before Andy Hislop’s superb unbeaten 69 carried the hosts to a fine four-wicket win.
Defeat for Heriot’s means to have any chance of retaining their title they must win their remaining two matches including Saturday’s clash with Grange while hoping the leaders slip up to Stewarts-Melville on the final day.
Scotland pace bowler Ali Evans claimed 4-23 as Carlton beat Aberdeenshire while Stewarts-Melville won their Inverleith basement battle with Glenrothes.
Umair Mohammed and Michael Leask hit half-centuries to help Forfarshire recover from the loss of two wickets in the first over to beat RH Corstorphine by 32 runs at Forthill – despite Jacob Wood’s brilliant 103 for the visitors.