Ferguslie stayed in contention for Western Premier title glory with a 79-run win over Prestwick at Meikleriggs, a result which effectively ends the Ayrshire side’s hopes. A brilliant knock of 98 by Omer Hussain propelled the hosts to 228 before the bowlers dismissed their rivals for 149.
Former Scotland batsman Hussain and Gregor Preston-Jones gave the Paisley side a solid start in a stand of 60 after they had elected to bat. However, the introduction of Majid Haq brought immediate reward as Preston-Jones was caught at slip. It could have been better for Haq when his cousin Hussain also edged a turning delivery but this time the chance went down and the batsman, on 41, cashed-in on his good fortune.
Prestwick were handed a timely boost when Ferguslie’s in-form captain Riyaad Henry was run out by a direct hit from Inderjit Singh. That was the high point of the visitors’ fielding performance as a series of dropped catches and mis-fields helped Ferguslie on their way.
Not that Hussain needed much more assistance as he continued to compile runs with an array of attractive shots, the best of them a perfectly timed straight six. However, having reached 98 and with a deserved century beckoning, a rare false shot saw him glove a catch to the keeper.
Despite a flurry of late wickets, Ferguslie continued to add useful runs while Prestwick’s reply never got going after Adil Ghaffar picked-up two early wickets to put them on the back foot, and when Haq was dismissed by another of his cousins, Haroon Tahir, there was no way back.
Ferguslie will face leaders Clydesdale on the final day of the season in a fortnight in a likely decider, the Titwood men staying on course with a jittery home win against Langside. Chasing 151, they needed 17 runs from their final pair to secure a tense triumph.
At the other end of the table Dumfries threw themselves a lifeline with an emphatic nine-wicket win over Stirling at Nunholm where Chis Brockwell claimed 6-25 and Scott Beveridge 3-21 as the visitors were bundled out for 84. Adam Malik led the victory charge with 48no while Beveridge added 21, the pair taking Dumfries to the target in 13.1 overs.
Dumfries face a battle with Poloc to beat the drop, the latter going down by 83 runs at Uddingston.
But Greenock are relegated after a Sam Page century helped West of Scotland to victory by 194 runs at Hamilton Crescent.
Meigle’s tenure in the Eastern Premier is over after just one season after Stewarts Melville emerged victorious from their do-or-die battle at Victory Park. Set a rain-revised target of 197 from 44 overs, the Perthshire side looked on course when Alan Neave (47) and Peter Drummond (42) compiled a 4th wicket stand of 83.
However, Kyle McCallum produced a devastating mid-innings burst to remove both batsmen and the dangerous Zahid Rasheed as Meigle lost their way, slipping to 188 all out. McCallum finished with 4-26 while earlier four StewMel batsmen made 30+ in a determined team effort.
Elsewhere, champions Heriot’s completed their campaign in style, beating derby rivals Grange by five wickets at Portgower Place.
Carlton cemented second place after a five-wicket win over Stoneywood-Dyce while outgoing champions Forfarshire finished with victory over Watsonians and Arbroath’s clash with RH Corstorphine was abandoned.