Stirling shock reigning champions Prestwick

Ally Sadler bowls to Michael Sean of Heriot's on his way to scoring an unbeaten 92 at the crease with RHC's wicketkeeper Elliot Foster standing up to the wicket. Photograph:''' Neil Hanna Photography
Ally Sadler bowls to Michael Sean of Heriot's on his way to scoring an unbeaten 92 at the crease with RHC's wicketkeeper Elliot Foster standing up to the wicket. Photograph:''' Neil Hanna Photography
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Western Premier newcomers Stirling produced the big shock on the opening day of the cricket season to beat champions Prestwick at the Henry Thow Oval.

The Ayrshiremen had been expected to launch their title defence with victory but failed to hit the heights of last summer as Stirling proved themselves a force to be reckoned with.

Skipper Matt Tweedie’s decision to bat first was rewarded as a composed display nullified Prestwick’s normally potent attack.

Having first established a platform, it was left to Tom Bradburn, son of Scotland coach Grant, to lead the way with a hard-hitting 64, including two huge maximums, while New Zealander Brandon McMullen marked his debut with 63 in an encouraging total of 252-8.

Stirling’s bowlers, for whom Gavin Anderson claimed 3-41, then maintained commendable discipline to dismiss Prestwick for 190 – 44 short of a revised target following a rain interruption.

Elsewhere, Michael English recorded his second century of the season as Ferguslie celebrated the new campaign with an impressive 105-run win over Clydesdale at Meikleriggs.

Last week the talented top-order batsman reached three figures for Scotland A and his excellent form continued with a match-winning knock of 123 not out.

English shared in a first wicket stand of 142 with Gregor Preston-Jones, who contributed a composed 40, before going on to dominate his side’s innings.

His effort helped the Paisley team post 238 before the bowlers tightened the screw as the Dale batsmen struggled for any fluency.

There was a wicket apiece for Jamey Carruthers, Greg Cameron and Riyaad Henry before Hamza Tahir, back in the Ferguslie ranks after a season with Poloc, claimed three scalps in quick succession to put the issue beyond doubt.

English then showed his all-round prowess by effecting a run-out and claiming two wickets as Dale slipped to 133 all out.

West of Scotland, returning to the top flight after a two-season absence, were denied victory in a thrilling finale at Hamilton Crescent.

A solid batting display from West set the visitors 200 for victory, South African Coenie Nel leading the chase with a superb century.

However, when he became Gavin Smith’s fourth victim Poloc still needed 13 from the last over with their last pair at the crease. Imran Ameer was the Poloc hero, smashing two sixes as they reached the target with three balls to spare.

Greenock’s clash with Dumfries was called-off along with the meeting of Uddingston and Ayr.

Eastern Premier champions Heriot’s had few problems in opening their title defence with a comfortable win over top-flight newcomers RH Corstorphine at Goldenacre.

After a delayed start Heriot’s did suffer a couple of early blows to find themselves on 10-2 but Michael Sheen’s 92 helped them recover to post 185-8 before Shean and Elliot Ruthven had three wickets apiece as Corstorphine were bowled out for 90.

Sri Lankan Shanuka Vithanawasam had a memorable debut for Arbroath as last season’s runners-up crushed Stewart’s Melville by 135 runs at Lochlands.

Nicknamed ‘Shan’ by his team-mates, the all-rounder stroked 51 in a total of 222-7 and then took 5-19 as the visitors collapsed to 92 all out.

Craig Wallace stroked a fine 85 and Scott Cameron 59no as Forfarshire chased 218 to beat Watsonians at Forthill, Australian debutant Bill Kruip having earlier taken 3-39 as a 74-run stand for the seventh wicket between Andrew Cockburn (47) and Oliver Brown (34) helped the visitors recover from a shaky start to post 217-7.

Grange await the arrival of England Test bowler Ryan Sidebottom but they had enough firepower without their new recruit to see off Aberdeenshire at Raeburn Place.

Former Scotland stars Gordon Goudie and Preston Mommsen both hit half-centuries in a total of 264-5 before ’Shire were dismissed for 193 despite Akshu Merengnage’s battling 48.