Thyssen stars as Ayr defeat Stirling
William Dick (CricketMedia Scotland)
IT is not often that cricket silverware is handed out in June but Ayr’s victory over Stirling at New Williamfield on Saturday was worth more than ten valuable points in their quest to climb up the table.
In addition they became the proud recipients of the Irvin Iffla Shield, a trophy which will be up for grabs each time these sides meet.
The prize has been raised in honour of the great West Indian all-rounder, who captained both Stirling and Ayr, after settling in Scotland in the 1950s.
Iffla died earlier this year and it was fitting that Keith Graham, a man who has also skippered these two sides, was a guest of honour to witness the unveiling of a memorial bench before Ayr completed a comprehensive 83-run win.
Graham said: “Irvin was a great man and a great cricketer and this trophy is a fitting way to keep his memory alive.
“He was a straight-talking guy that you didn’t mess with and I got on with him extremely well.
“I think there was an appreciation of mutual cricketing knowledge. We shared some great partnerships with bat and ball.”
Graham, who captained Ayr in 1972 and 1973 and Stirling six years later, added: “Irvin was also a very generous man.
“Often in games that didn’t matter too much he would get a young player out lbw but not appeal because he wanted to give the youngster another chance.”
Iffla would no doubt be an asset around either of these clubs both of whom are in a period of transition.
On the day it was Craig Thyssen, Ayr’s South African professional, who made the difference.
Thyssen stroked a superb 97, supported by Andi McElnea’s 38 as the visitors posted 212.
Stirling’s reply never really got going and they were dismissed for just 128.
Elsewhere, the lead changed hands as Dumfries suffered defeat for the first time – at the hands of Uddingston – while West of Scotland took advantage with victory over Greenock.
Having restricted Uddingston to 189-8 at Nunholm, Dumfries, who had chased scores in excess of 230 in their two previous matches, may have fancied reaching their revised target of 182 in forty overs.
However, Calum MacLeod proved that his bowling is returning to its potent best following a remodelling of his action by claiming 4-33 as the home side were restricted to 157-7.
MacLeod said: “It was an important win for us and a good one because we were without a few first team regulars.”
West are the new leaders after a brilliant eight-over spell by John Blain turned their game with Greenock at Hamilton Crescent.
The visitors were holding their own with Sailesh Prabhu going strong before former Scotland star Blain entered the attack to claim 3-8.
Blain was perhaps fortunate to get visiting professional Mpho Sekhoto caught behind when the ball appeared to strike the South African’s pad.
However, there was no argument about the deliveries which account for Chris Hempsey and Prabhu for 47.
After a rain interruption Ryan Begley’s 41no hoisted Greenock’s tally to 135-8 before West easily reached their revised target of 164 with seven wickets in hand.
Talented teenager Andrew Umeed top-scored with 66 while Greg Watson also hit a half-century.
Rain was the winner at Titwood where just 3.4 overs were possible in the clash between Clydesdale and Drumpellier.