ASIDE from a couple of Scottish Cup triumphs for Uddingston, cricket in Lanarkshire has hardly been enjoying boom times in the recent past. Yet a look at the CSL Western Premier Division table paints an encouraging picture for the county, with the Bothwell Castle club and neighbours Drumpellier the only sides boasting unbeaten records.
True, it is early days but both clubs have genuine cause for optimism as the season gets into full swing. Drumps hold the edge by a single point after a thrilling win over champions Dumfries at Nunholm.
The Coatbridge side had to show their powers of recovery in both halves of the match, first pegging the hosts back after their opening pair had put on 100 runs and then shrugging-off the early loss of their own opening batsmen to secure a three-wicket D/L victory.
Alan Davidson (55) and Ally Dawson 36 gave Dumfries that solid start before Muhammad Ramzan’s three wickets applied the brakes. Spinner Ally Rawlinson turned the screw with 4-33 as the home side were dismissed for 202. Drumpellier’s reply suffered the worst possible start when Asad and Zaheer Mohammed were dismissed inside the first three overs. However, Jarod Armitage’s cameo paved the way for Abdul Sabri and skipper Graeme McLaren to complete the recovery.
Under-19 star Sabri hit two maximums in his 30 while McLaren finished unbeaten on 48, including four sixes.
McLaren said: “It was a fantastic win that required lots of character from the lads. We really came back strongly in both innings and the pleasing thing for me is that we aren’t relying on the same people week-in, week-out. It has been a real team effort so far and we are flying.”
County neighbours Uddingston were equally impressive in returning from Clydesdale with maximum points. They appeared to be up against it when Kasim Farid’s 94 guided the Titwood side to 234 for nine while Vasu Reddy claimed four wickets in a rain-interrupted innings. However, Gawtham Rai and teenager Gavin Main hit half-centuries as Uddingston pulled off a successful chase with three wickets left. “Farid batted really well for them but we hung in there,” said skipper Bryan Clarke.
“It’s all about belief and we kept going really well while in the past we might have folded. It’s great to see Lanarkshire cricket on top in the west.”
John Blain and Mark Gilchrist ripped through the Stirling batting line-up as West of Scotland secured their first win at Hamilton Crescent. Player-coach Blain claimed 3-12 but was trumped by the veteran Gilchrist, who took 4-14 as Stirling made just 106. Greig Watson’s unbeaten 30 then secured a four-wicket success.
Ahmed Said was the Renfrew hero in their first-ever win in the top flight, the professional scoring an unbeaten 124 in an imposing total of 272 for six at Ayr. The Cambusdoon side were in the hunt while Neale Parlane was at the crease but his dismissal for 94 saw Ayr slip to 198 all out, Shahid Abbasi adding three wickets to his half-century.