Grange and Ferguslie end on high
GRANGE and Ferguslie warmed-up for Saturday’s Grand Final in style with emphatic wins in their closing league matches of the season.
At Raeburn Place Eastern Premier champions Grange rattled-up the runs against Stewarts Melville, posting a formidable 344-4.
Given a characteristically brisk start by Gordon Goudie who clouted six boundaries in his 39, the innings was dominated by a superb partnership between Nick Farrar and Neil McCallum.
The former stroked a brilliant 120 from 131 deliveries with eleven boundaries and a maximum while former Scotland batsman McCallum, making his final league appearance for Grange, contributed a solid 46 with four boundaries and one six.
There was also some fierce late hitting from Tom Foulds who blazed his way to a rapid half-century as the champions took their total well out of reach of StewMel.
Indeed, the home bowlers did not take long to put the issue beyond doubt, Stu Davidson striking three times and Goudie once as the visitors slumped to 20-4.
Hayden Sweet stalled the victory charge with a fighting 75 before being bowled by McCallum while a stubborn rearguard action saw StewMel bat out their overs to reach 154-9 at the close.
Victory sets Grange up for today’s re-arranged Scottish Cup final against Heriot’s who, in contrast, went down by seven wickets at Arbroath where Scotland U15 bowler Daniel Salmond claimed 4-27 to restrict the Edinburgh team to 140 before skipper Marc Petrie eased the hosts towards victory with a breezy 46.
Arun Pillai claimed astonishing figures of 6-9 as Carlton, having posted a modest 139 against RH Corstorphine at Grange Loan, claimed the visitors’ last seven wickets for just 17 runs to win by 31.
Ewan Chalmers hit 83 and George Munsey claimed four wickets for Watsonians who ended a roller-coaster season with a 37-run win over Aberdeenshire at Myreside.
Relegated Glenrothes conceded their home clash with Forfarshire who, thanks to Heriot’s defeat at Arbroath, finish as creditable runners-up to Grange.
MEANWHILE Ferguslie also justified their status as champions by brushing aside Prestwick, the team whose Western Premier title they claimed.
Having opted to bat at the Henry Thow Oval, Prestwick quickly regretted the decision as Riyaad Henry ran riot with his best bowling display of the campaign.
The Scotland A seamer ripped through the top order to claim 5-16 while spinner Haroon Tahir took 3-9 as Prestwick were bundled out for just 55, paving the way for Ferguslie to ease to an eight-wicket success with Taimoor Ahmed finishing on 31no.
Greenock sealed their top-flight status when their clash with Poloc was abandoned due to a sodden wicket at Glenpark while Ayr are down, Dumfries bowler Alan Davidson sealing their fate with 8-20 – the best analysis of the season – as the home side, also relegated, bowed out with an easy win at Nunholm.
Clydesdale confirmed second place with a comfortable win over Uddingston at Titwood where Richie Berrington hit a century and teenage debutant Junaid Rauf claimed four wickets for the hosts, allowing Stirling to leapfrog Uddingston into third place with their five-wicket win over West of Scotland.
Ian Young appeared to have put West in a strong position at Hamilton Crescent when his unbeaten 106 helped the hosts post 226-7.
However, Stirling have risen impressively to many challenges in their first season in the top flight and they did so again as Tom Jones followed skipper Matthew Tweedie’s 60 with an unbeaten 68 to guide the visitors to a five-wicket win with almost three overs in hand.