Ferguslie excited to face leaders Clydesdale in last-day title decider

An eagerly anticipated last-day decider between long-time Western Premier leaders Clydesdale and their hottest pursuers Ferguslie has become a reality after the pair safely negotiated their penultimate matches on Saturday.

Cricket round-up
Cricket round-up

And Riyaad Henry, the Ferguslie captain, admitted the showdown has been on the cards ever since his team got the better of Dale at the halfway stage of the campaign.

Henry, whose side were pushed hard by Langside before securing a 70-run win at Meikleriggs, said: “To be honest since we beat them I’ve had a feeling if both teams played as they can then it could come down to the last day.

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“That’s what has happened and it’s exciting for everyone that we’ve got such a finish to the season.”

That looked far from certain as Ferguslie lost two early wickets and continued to struggle for runs against a well-drilled Langside outfit.

In the end they managed to battle their way to 168-7 thanks to 36 from Dave Stafford and Henry’s 30.

Langside made a solid start to their pursuit with Muhammad Khan (40) and skipper Sameer Zia (22) putting them on course for a successful run-chase.

However, Haroon Tahir claimed three quick wickets to change the course of the match before teenager Uzair Ahmad finished the visitors off with 4-20.

Henry added: “It was a scrappy win – definitely not our best performance – but the Langside spinners bowled very accurately and their ground fielding was excellent so they kept the pressure on and made it difficult to score.

“Credit to our boys because they stuck in and showed fight and patience. Sometimes in the past we might have tried to hit our way out of trouble and been all out for 100.”

Clydesdale were comfortable winners by 142 runs in the end against relegated Greenock at Titwood but the leaders were in trouble on 85-5 before a century stand between Kasim Farid (68) and Imran Mughal (77) hoisted the total to 248.

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Arun Krishna then claimed 5-21 to help dismiss Greenock for 103 and keep Dale on course for Saturday’s winner-takes-all encounter at Meikleriggs.

The relegation battle will also go down to the final day with Poloc and Dumfries still battling to beat the drop.

Poloc remain in the drop zone after a seven-wicket defeat at Prestwick for whom Sachin Chaudhary claimed 6-25 as the visitors collapsed to 63 all out.

Former Dumfries pace bowler Niall Alexander was in the wickets against his old side for the second time this season, claiming 3-13 for Uddingston to follow his seven-wicket haul in the corresponding fixture at Nunholm.

Alexander’s effort and 2-3 from Ross Lyons were instrumental in Uddingston’s 50-run win.

Poloc have home advantage against Langside on Saturday while Dumfries visit Prestwick.

Brandon McMullen scored a brilliant 115 as Stirling made 228 before bowling out West of Scotland for 214 at New Williamfield.

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Meanwhile, Falkland will return to the Eastern Premier division for the first time since 2017 after Alan Hamilton’s hat-trick helped them secure a 23-run win in the promotion play-off against Gala.

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