Clydesdale last night ended a 28-year wait for Scottish Cup glory when they denied Arbroath a second consecutive success in a low-scoring thriller at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow.
The Glasgow side, who secured the Western Premier title 24 hours earlier, had just too much firepower, winning the country’s premier knockout competition for the seventh time.
Chasing a modest 169 for victory, they needed a superb half-century by player-coach Con de Lange before getting the better of a wonderfully competitive Arbroath outfit.
Following a steady start Dale began to lose their way after Brendan Ford produced a superb tumbling catch to remove Mo Awais off Calvin Burnett.
Carl Huyser survived two huge appeals from the Arbroath fielders before miscuing off the bowling of Craig Ramsay to depart for 23.
At 44 for two, Dale were in need of a steadying influence but Arbroath’s bowlers found a way to pick up regular wickets. Ross McLean was the star turn, removing Richie Berrington who was adjudged lbw and then gaining a second verdict to dismiss the obstinate Zulfi Shahid who had compiled a battling 29.
However, de Lange proved to be Clydesdale’s trump card with a superbly controlled innings which gradually turned the game in his side’s favour. The Scotland all-rounder took his side to within three of the target with 51 including a couple of boundaries and two powerfully struck maximums, Dale going on to complete a two-wicket success with skipper Majid Haq unbeaten on 18.
Earlier, Arbroath struggled for runs after electing to bat under threatening dark clouds as the Dale bowlers dominated. A combination of nagging line and length from Abdul Sabri and Basit Ali along with a lush outfield meant that runs were hard to come by. Sabri made the breakthrough when Ford edged behind while a further two wickets in quick succession put Arbroath on the back foot.
McLean displayed commendable patience to accumulate in ones and twos while Jack Waller showed more aggression. Waller was beginning to warm to his task, reaching 23 by lifting a Bashir delivery over the mid-wicket boundary before falling next ball to Berrington’s brilliant diving catch. McLean’s long vigil ended when he became Andrew Scobie’s second stumping victim off de Lange.
The opener had made a painstaking 40 but he found no-one able to stay long enough to form a partnership.
Instead Arbroath had to be content with a series of late cameos, Marc Petrie hitting a rapid 24 while Calvin Burnett hoisted two lusty maximums in one over off Haq but their tally of 168 for seven proved just too few.