Western Union Cup

Having finally been blessed with sunshine, Clydesdale defeated Stirling County by 8 wickets at Titwood on 2nd September.
County took first innings and Calum Drummond made the initial breakthrough in the 6th over, score 8-1. Matthew Tweedie (opening the batting and playing a captain’s innings) and Gavin Anderson then repaired the damage with a valuable partnership which took the total to 65-1 at drinks (20 overs). The second wicket stand was eventually broken in the 22nd over, having put on 60. The introduction of spin at both ends (Con De Lange and Hamid Mahmood) continued to stifle the run rate and a couple of run-outs, including Tweedie for 50, added to the pressure on the later batsmen. The final total of 148-8 (40 overs) was one which Clydesdale would have been confident of chasing. The wicket takers were Drummond (6-1-20-3), De Lange (8-1-23-2) and Mahmood (8-1-23-1) – all returning tidy figures. Basit Ali was wicketless on this occasion but his 5 overs for 16 runs helped to increase scoreboard pressure.
The home reply was in the hands of Mo Awais and Paddy Barbour and, when the 50 came up in the 7th over, the run chase was well and truly under way. Awais was finally out for a typically aggressive 61 in the 14th over (10 boundaries), the openers having put on a match-winning partnership of 103. De Lange’s dismissal for 16 brought Richie Berrington to the wicket and the match was concluded in satisfactory style for ‘Dale supporters as Barbour reached his 50 and the match was won by 8 wickets in the 24th over. Thomas Jones took both wickets at a cost of 33 runs.

Prestwick become west history makers
Picture by Donald MacLeod www.donald-macleod.com

Prestwick 97 all out (T Fleet 22; A Neill 4-18, H van der Berg 3-21)
Heriot’s 92 all out (S Chauhary 4-20)

Prestwick last night completed a remarkable comeback to become the first team from the west to win the CSL Grand Final.

Having been dismissed by Heriot’s for just 97 at Meikleriggs, Paisley, it looked as if the Eastern Premier champions would become the sixth different team in a row from the east to lift Scottish cricket’s most prestigious club prize. However, the Ayrshire side’s never-say-die attitude, frequently displayed during their triumphant march to the Western Premier title, again revealed itself at the most important moment as they clawed their way back to clinch an astonishing five-win. Coach Andy Tennant said: “It’s a brilliant achievement by the lads. They deserve the success they’ve had this season for the way they have worked and consistently found a way to win. Today was a classic example of that.”

Instead of accepting what looked like an inevitable defeat, the Prestwick bowlers applied the pressure on their rivals from the outset of their reply. Despite some tight bowling, Hayes van der Berg was able to make his way to a composed 21 before being trapped LBW by Mitchell Rao. With the score on 25, Heriot’s were already more than a quarter of the way to their target but the capture of the first wicket inspired Prestwick. A battle of attrition ensued with the Ayrshire side taking wickets at regular intervals while the rival batsmen strived to produce the one meaningful partnership that would surely have swung the match their way. Sachin Chaudhary, Rao’s “spin twin”, became the bowling hero with four key wickets at a cost of just 20 runs as the momentum switched decisively in favour of the Ayrshiremen. A dogged 21 from skipper Keith Morton kept the capital troops in contention but when he was bowled by Fraser Macdonald Prestwick seized their victory chance. (more…)

WDCU Premier Division – end of season review

Congratulations to KPM Residential Prestwick, Premier Division Champions 2017.

In a season marred by poor weather, KPM Residential Prestwick were deserved winners. Ten wins from twelve matches completed and an 89% total gave the Ayrshire side a 5% winning margin from runners-up Ferguslie who managed just ten matches completed with eight wins. KPM Residential Prestwick were unbeaten in the Premier Division from early June.

At the opposite end of the table, the poor summer weather also had a significant effect on the final placings. East Kilbride, who were relegated along with Kelburne, completed only eight matches out of a possible eighteen……less than 50%.

As always, there were numerous very fine individual performances. Champions KPM Residential Prestwick had the top two wicket-takers in the Premier Division in Mitchell Rao (31) and Sachin Chaudhary (28) with Chaudhary having the season’s best figures of 6 wickets for just 5 runs against Kelburne in early July.

Former New Zealand test player Michael Papps of Ayr was the top run scorer with 633 runs while Scottish internationalist Richie Berrington of Clydesdale was a close second with 539 runs including the season’s top score 139 not out against Ashas East Kilbride. Michael English of Ferguslie had two of the top five highest scores of the season with 134 not out against Ayr and 119 against Greenock.

WDCU First Division – end of season review

Congratulations go to First Division champions West of Scotland, who along with Stirling County, will return to Premier Division cricket for 2018.

In a very competitive division where any team could beat all others on a given day, it was West of Scotland who proved the most consistent. They ended the season as division champions, winning nine of their eleven completed games at 87%, giving them a reasonably comfortable winning margin over runners up Stirling County (six wins from only nine games at 74%). West of Scotland’s top order leading the way with four batsmen out of the top eight in the Division – Pro’, Hashen Ramanayake 407 runs, James Fennah 328, Ian Young 281 and Jonathan Fearn 267.

At the other end of the table, St. Michael’s struggled for consistency and finished bottom. They will be relegated to the Second Division for 2018. With some strong individual performances from the St. Michael’s team, most notably from Chris Brockwell (364 runs and 18 wickets), they will be hoping to bounce straight back up for the 2019 season.

The individual performances were somewhat dominated by the overseas players. The top batsmen being Rushdie Jappie (Stenhousemuir) 536 runs at 59, Hashen Ramanayke (West of Scotland) 407 at 51 and Brandon Harwood (Irvine) 376 at 42). With the ball, Brandon Harwood (31 wickets), Callum Grant (Stenhousemuir – 24 wickets) and Azeem Akbar (GHK – 20 wickets) were the top performers.

The only downside, as ever in Scotland, was the wet weather with most teams managing to complete around just half of the scheduled fixtures.

WDCU Second Division – end of season review

Like all the other leagues in the WDCU, Division 2 saw its game time curtailed by the Scotish summertime. Helensburgh were crowned as champions, although the tussle with Kilmarnock, which saw both sides leap frog each other at points throughout the season, went down to the wire before the weather intervened again, to cancel out a winner takes all match on the final Saturday.

In the batting stats both Helensburgh and Kilmarnock dominated with four out of the top five players coming from the two clubs. Jonathan Campbell (Helensburgh) top scored with 522 runs; followed by Paul Flanagan (Kilmarnock) 360, Munir Ahmed (Kilmarnock) 348, Fraser Conn (Galloway) 233 and Marc Christensen (Helensburgh) 209.  Two centuries were scored, both by Kilmarnock players Munir Ahmed 101 and Paul Flanagan 100 and Umar Hameed (Hillhead) fell agonisingly 1 runs short when he finished with 99* against Motherwell.

On the bowling front Helensburgh saw two players in the top five wicket takers, with Galloway showing well with two as well. Jonathan Campbell (Helensburgh) with 24 wickets topped the list, then came Patrick Druce (Galloway) 18, Tommy McGrath (Galloway) 17, Duncan Stephens (Helensburgh) 15, and Wawas Ahmad (Victoria) 14.

WDCU Third Division – end of season review

As in all the other divisions, weather was to play a significant part in Division 3 with only around 40% of the matches being played. Whiteinch and East Renfrewshire were clear at the top of the table with the late season loss to Inverclyde by East Renfrewshire consigning them to second place. Whiteinch with nine wins out of eleven matches played were worthy winners. At the bottom end of the table, Gatehouse had a tough season without a win – their high point being a 40 overs tied match at home with Kirkstyle.

Statistically Zarak Ahad (Whiteinch) with 413 runs, Tariq Shabbir (East Renfrewshire) 401, and the evergreen Douglas Pilkington (Inverclyde) 277, were the top run scorers. The highest individual score of 204 was made by Zarak Ahad when Whiteinch met Alps. On the bowling front, Andy Fielding (Bute) and Gareth James (Inverclyde) were top wicket takers with 13 apiece. Zarak Ahad with ten was the top catcher although surprisingly, mid-table Inverclyde, headed by Captain David Cooke with 7 safe pouches, had five catchers named in the top eleven!

Player numbers and the ability to field a full side on a Saturday seems to be an ever increasing problem in Division 3. Concessions were limited to four over the season but it’s suspected that several more were prevented by the abysmally wet weather – there were four match days when no Division 3 cricket was played at all.  The clubs in this division stretch from Gatehouse in the south to Helensburgh in the north – more than 130 miles, and this wide geographic area, and the resultant travelling time, does little to assist the situation.

WDCU Premier Reserve Division – end of season review

In a very competitive league, Titwood once again took the title and were for the third year in a row undefeated. This was testimony to the strength and depth of the club as they only had one batter in the top ten run scorers.  This was David Forsyth with 320 runs. They had no bowlers in the top ten wicket takers. However, they had a good squad of individuals, with every member of the squad chipping in and contributing.  The rest of the teams were capable of beating all others on their day and there were several very close games played during the season. The star all rounder was Calum Henderson of Ayr.  He was the leading wicket taker with 31 wickets. His “chinamen” proving a handful to most batsmen.  He also finished third in the run scoring charts on 328 runs.

The best batsman in the league, with 530 runs was Gowtham Rai from Uddingtson . He was über consistent scoring five 50s in his ten innings, including a highest score of 96*.

Special mention must also go to Alan Stevenson, who at the age of 54 scored his first senior hundred for Drumpellier. Unfortunately, Drumpellier finished bottom of the league.

WDCU First Reserve Division – end of season review

On the final Saturday of the season the weather had the last say when only one match at Kingholm survived the persistent rain which fell over a few days in the west of Scotland. The table stayed pretty much unchanged with the only top spot up for grabs, with both Deanpark (Renfrew) and Torrance House (East Kilbride) already promoted. Deanpark clinched the title with no play by a margin of 3.7% over Torrance House. Deanpark, won nine games out of the eleven played with a number of players having important contributions but without doubt their star performers were their 14 year old young guns, Rafay Khan (who finished with 20 wickets 2nd in the Division and also scored 157 runs) and Muhaymen Majeed (Deanpark) also scored 234 runs in nine innings.

It was a division where there were regular upsets, in particular from Marress and Williamfield, both teams who earlier in the season had to concede games to a lack of players. Well done to both teams in recovering by not only fielding sides but being competitive and winning a number of games, with Williamfield, at one point bottom, climbing to fifth spot.

Leading batsman in the division was 54 year old Ian Wilkinson of Williamfield, who showed there is no substitute for experience. Best bowler was Iftikhar Khan from Torrance House with an impressive 29 wickets, and the top all rounder was evergreen team mate Shahid Mahmood with 331 runs and 19 wickets. The highest score in the division was 152 not out by Chris Foster of AC Guitars Kingholm, in their match with Marress when they scored 393 for 7 in 50 overs.

An interesting statistic in the Division is that there were fourteen more games played in the First Reserve Division compared to the First Division.

Ayr are McCulloch Cup winners

Ayr 118 for 7 (N Smith 36, ST Khan 32*, LWB James 3-26)
Poloc 103 all out (J Snyman 40, A McElnea 3-12)

Ricky Bawa reports on Ayr’s 15-run victory in the McCulloch Cup Final.  “At a sun-kissed Bothwell Castle Policies Ayr took on Poloc in the final of the McCulloch Cup. Ayr batting first got off to an excellent start and were 50 for none after eight overs. When Neil Smith (36) and Michael Papps fell in quick succession, Taimooor Ahmad and Lewis James put the squeeze on Ayr to leave them 68 for 5. Shuja Khan (32*) then batted nicely with the tail, scurrying singles and hitting the odd boundary. Ayr ended up on a below par 118 for 7 off their twenty overs. Pick of the bowlers was James with 3 for 26.

“Poloc began their innings in much the same was as Ayr with, Owais Shah and Jutie Snyman looking in imperious form as they scored 50 off the first eight overs also. The introduction of spin however, changed things as skipper Andi McElnea (3-12), Papps (2-24) and Calum Leck (2-17) bowled intelligently to well set fields. The pressure began to tell on the Poloc batters as the the attempted big shots off the spinners failed. The run-rate required climbed and the pressure was too much for Poloc as they ended on 103 all out.”

The Scottish Asian Sports Gala T20, 2017

Sai Majeed reports on the Ucare Asian Sports Gala T20 event. “The 2017 Scottish Asian Sports Gala T20 cricket match took place on Sunday 13th August at Titwood, the home of Clydesdale Cricket Club. The match, which was arranged by The Ucare Foundation to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of Pakistan’s Independence, was contested by The Scottish Pakistani Pumas (‘Greens’) and The Scottish Pakistani Panthers (‘Blues’).