EAST continued to dominate West as Grange secured an ultimately comfortable win over Clydesdale in the Cricket Scotland Grand Final at Bothwell Castle Policies yesterday.
Hopes had been high in the Titwood camp that the Western Union champions could end the Eastern Premier’s three-year monopoly on the end-of-season showpiece.
However, the Stockbridge side showed their big-game mentality to survive a testing examination before coming through comfortably by 90 runs, aided by Dale losing their last eight wickets for just 22 runs.
Needing 232 for victory, Clydesdale produced a solid opening stand as skipper Majid Haq and Mo Awais consolidated sensibly. Gordon Goudie and Will Edwards, sharing the new ball, kept it tight initially but Awais warmed to his task with a confident pull off the former for a confidence-building boundary.
With Haq content to occupy the crease, Awais became the dominant partner, scoring 33 to his captain’s five when the 50 came up in the tenth over.
Haq eventually got in on the act when he smacked a delivery from Andrew Brock over the tall beech hedge surrounding the ground and halfway towards Uddingston town centre.
Awais reached his half-century from just 46 balls before falling to Brock four runs later. Con de Lange was snapped up by Chris Sole off Harris Aslam shortly after and, when Haq edged the same bowler behind to depart for 31, Clydesdale were suddenly wobbling on 119-3.
Aslam claimed a third victim in Sam Page and a fourth in Kasim Farid as the leg-spinner found considerable turn.
Left-armer Brock also found conditions helpful and, picking up perhaps the decisive wicket when he turned one past the defences of Scotland batsman Richie Berrington.
Aslam went on to claim the man-of-the-match award for his 6-40 while Brock had 4-39 as the spinners turned the screw.
Earlier former Scotland players Neil McCallum and Gordon Goudie had propelled Grange to a tally of 231-9. Foundations had been laid by Nick Farrar (35) and Ian Worth (31) before McCallum and Goudie added 70 in a sparkling fifth-wicket stand.
Goudie was particularly punishing on the Clydesdale attack, blazing his way to 45 from only 32 deliveries, the highlight being two massive sixes in one expensive over from Basit Ali.
McCallum, meanwhile, went on to top-score with a more patient 70 including eight boundaries, first taking time to bed in before opening out when the final push was on.
Both Grange’s top scorers fell to excellent catches by Con de Lange off Mo Afzal as Dale stuck to their task.
Afzal was the most impressive bowler with 4-32 while skipper Haq claimed 2-44 from his 13 overs.