English hails skipper Carruthers as Ferguslie crowned champions
William Dick (CricketMedia Scotland)
MICHAEL English last night hailed skipper Jamey Carruthers for leading Ferguslie to their first league title in 51 years and predicted they won’t have so long to wait for their next one.
Carruthers played his part with two early wickets as the Paisley team clinched the Western Premier trophy with a convincing six-wicket win at Greenock.
And English, the club’s leading run scorer and vice-captain, declared: “Jamey has been instrumental in our success throughout the season and he was again on Saturday.
“It would have been easy to let our attention slip with just a few points needed to get over the line but he refused to let that happen and made sure we were focused.
“Jamey had been struggling with a bad throat in the days leading up to the game and has lost his voice altogether now so it says a lot for him to play such an important part.”
Carruthers struck early as Ferguslie grabbed the initiative only for home pro Saurabh Bandekar to put Greenock back in contention with 70.
Greg Cameron’s four wickets swung it back in the visitors’ favour as Greenock were bowled out for 173 before English and Gregor Preston-Jones provided the platform for a successful chase with another substantial partnership.
English was out for 46, hoisting his tally for the campaign over the 700-run mark, while Preston-Jones top-scored with 56 as the Meikleriggs men sparked the celebrations with 12 overs to spare.
English added: “We are still a young team with nine players who came through the junior ranks and there are more youngsters coming through so I really believe we can go on and enjoy more success.”
With the title settled, the focus will now switch to the other end of the table where as many as four teams are involved in a nail-biting scrap to avoid the drop.
Greenock’s defeat means they remain in danger in eighth place while Dumfries would appear to need a miracle to survive after their second tie of the season against Stirling left them bottom.
In a thriller at Nunholm, Stirling skipper Matt Tweedie’s brilliant 111 put the visitors in charge on 237-8 though Dumfries fought valiantly to level the scores with nine wickets down.
Meanwhile Ayr threw themselves a lifeline with their best batting display of the season to beat Poloc at Cambusdoon and drag the visitors into the dogfight at the bottom.
Skipper Andi McElnea and Anwar Hafeez shared an opening stand of 196 with the former hitting eighteen boundaries and a maximum in his 113 while Hafeez’s 109 included fourteen boundaries.
The pair propelled Ayr to 305-4 before Poloc were restricted to 262-9.
Elsewhere Jimmy Sholto-Douglas hit his second century of the season as Uddingston recovered from 15-3 to beat West of Scotland by 19 runs at Hamilton Crescent while Clydesdale consolidated second position with a four-wicket success at Prestwick.