MacLeod on form ahead of Saltires clash with Essex

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CALUM MacLeod yesterday helped himself to a confidence-boosting century ahead of the Saltires’ YB40 clash with Essex today.

The Uddingston batsman, dropped by Scotland for last week’s one-day international against Pakistan, stroked a superb 125 as his side rattled up 285 against West of Scotland at Bothwell Castle Policies.

MacLeod, who had already hinted at a return to form with a man-of-the-match display for the Reivers in midweek, first helped Uddingston recover from the loss of two early wickets before seizing the initiative.

The hosts had slumped to 24-2 in the face of some canny bowling from West veteran Mark Gilchrist when MacLeod strode out to join Amir Gul. The two gradually opened out and had added almost 200 runs before Gul departed for a well-compiled 74.

MacLeod, though, continued his onslaught with a flurry of big shots – 18 fours in all – and had just struck his first maximum when he perished on the boundary attempting a repeat. His efforts were enough to ensure that Uddingston made a winning start to their Western Premier Division campaign, when Scott McKenzie’s three-wicket burst reduced the visitors to 50-3 and West could only reach 177-6.

Elsewhere, fellow Saltire Majid Haq captained Clydesdale to a comfortable win over Ayr at Titwood.

The visitors were going along nicely at 65-1 but the dismissal of captain Andi McElnea saw them plunge to 78-6 in rapid time. Sheri Awan was the pick with four wickets as Ayr were eventually bundled out for 127 before Clydesdale claimed a routine win.

Aberdeenshire demonstrated their title credentials by winning the Eastern Premier Division’s match of the day against a highly fancied Carlton side.

In tricky batting conditions at Mannofield, the hosts dug in to post 159-8 thanks largely to Graeme Tomlinson’s unbeaten 52.

Carlton looked to be in command as Hamish Gardiner and Fraser Watts carried the reply to 60-1.

However, when Gardiner was out for his side’s top score of 34, the Edinburgh side capitulated to 113 all out, Daya Singh claiming 4-26.

Heriot’s compiled the day’s biggest total – 328-2 – and Steve Knox the highest individual score of 133 in an emphatic derby win over SMRH at Goldenacre.

Adam Lockhart-Krause also reached three figures for Heriot’s before the top flight newcomers responded with 224-9.

Freuchie’s preparations for today’s British Village Cup clash with fellow Fifers Falkland were dealt a blow as they were swept aside by West Lothian at Boghall.

Gregor Thomson and George Heath shared a seven-wicket haul to send the visitors hurtling to 50 all out. The hosts rattled up the required runs in double-quick time without the openers being parted.

Western champions Dumfries, Chris Bellwood hitting 141, launched their title defence with a convincing 42-run win over top-flight newcomers Renfrew at Nunholm while Drumpellier edged out Stirling by 13 runs at New Williamfield.

Arbroath join Aberdeenshire at the top of the Eastern Premier after their 300-6 proved too much for previously unbeaten Stoneywood-Dyce at Lochlands.

Meanwhile champions Watsonians slumped to their second defeat as Grange chased 233 for the loss of just two wickets at Myreside.