Cricket at boiling point

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SOUTHSIDE clubs enjoyed an all-round successful and busy weekend as the cricket season entered its final month.

Continuing their consistent performances of the past six weeks, PSL Team Sports Clydesdale were determined to claim the silverware in all three of their remaining senior competitions. But the Scottish Cup dropped out of their reckoning on Sunday when they lost the semi-final against Carlton in Edinburgh by just 16 runs, with Andrew Scobie left stranded on 46 not out.

But in the West League Cup three days earlier, they destroyed Uddingston, their semi-final opponents, and will now face Renfrew or Ayr in the final.

On Saturday, Clydesdale defeated Ayr away from home in the Cricket Scotland Western Premier League by 54 runs — thanks mainly to a 154-run partnership between in-form internationalist Safyaan Sharif, who notched another fine century, and coach-pro Shoaib Khan (52).

The result took Clydesdale into second place in the table, and this became more significant when Uddingston, who have occupied top position all season, unexpectedly lost their first match of the season.

With four more league matches remaining, the title is now within realistic reach of the Clydesdale team. If they inflict a second defeat in this Saturday’s match at Uddingston, it will definitely be game on for Majid Haq’s squad.

Meanwhile, NVT Poloc had pulled off a remarkable away league victory over East Kilbride, hitherto unbeaten table-toppers of the first division.

The home side batted first, and their South African professional led from the top of the order. He was still there at the crease at the end of the EK innings, 111 not out.

But the rest of his team between them managed to add only 40 runs off the bat before they were all out for 179 in the 46th over — unable to fathom the bowling of Alex Scott, who finished with a fantastic haul of five wickets, conceding just 33 runs.

The Poloc run-chase was by no means a formality, but six of the nine batsmen who faced a ball reached double figures, with Carl Huyser (52) and skipper Craig Young (30) sharing a half-century partnership.

Poloc’s victory — only their third in the league this season — was achieved with just eight balls to spare, but they were jubilant in knocking EK off their unbeaten perch and opening up the opportunities for other title-seekers.

Weirs also won, defeating Stenhousemuir by 71 runs.