McElnea leads Ayr to win over West
William Dick (CricketMedia Scotland)
ANDI McElnea emerged as the somewhat unlikely bowling hero as Ayr knocked West of Scotland from their perch at the top of the table with an impressive four-wicket win at Hamilton Crescent.
McElnea claimed five wickets which is perhaps not so unlikely from a player who was mentored by former New Zealand Test bowler Brendon Bracewell a few years ago.
The surprising part came from the fact that, having been encouraged by Bracewell to develop his potential as a seamer, McElnea subsequently chose to pursue a slow bowling option.
It was with his still improving off-spinners that the 24 year-old claimed 5-32 to restrict West to 153-7.
McElnea, better known as an opening batsman and good enough to have represented Scotland A, was then able to watch as South African Craig Thyssen led Ayr to victory with a controlled 60no.
“It was a great result for the team and one which will give everyone a lift,” remarked McElnea.
“Things haven’t been going for us this season but everyone has stuck together and on Saturday we got our reward for sticking to the basics and concentrating throughout the whole match.”
Of his own effort, McElnea added: “I’m obviously thrilled to play my part though I didn’t expect to be getting five-wicket hauls with the spinners just yet.
“When I was in New Zealand as a teenager Brendon told me to work on the faster stuff but I just decided last winter that I’d fancy taking the pace off the ball and seeing what I could do.
“We have plenty seamers in the team so it made sense from that point of view as well.
“Hopefully I can keep improving.”
While this result moves Ayr into the top half of the table, West have slipped two places with Dumfries reclaiming top spot and Clydesdale going second.
Dumfries shrugged-off the effects of a six-week lay-off to make light work of Greenock at Nunholm.
Scott Beveridge matched McElnea’s feat with a five-wicket return to help dismiss Greenock for just 115.
Chris McCutcheon weighed-in with three scalps while Sailesh Prabhu offered the only resistance with 31.
Dumfries suffered a dose of the wobbles, slumping to 19-3, before Beveridge showed his all-rounder skills with 38 as the hosts eased to a five-wicket success with eighteen overs to spare.
Recovering Saltires seamer Safy Sharif was another bowler to claim five wickets as Clydesdale continued their revival with a four-wicket success at Stirling.
Sharif, still on the comeback trail from a side injury, proved that he is nearing full form and fitness with 5-21 as Stirling were bundled out for 175.
Patrick Balfour (41) and Zeeshan Bashire (30) were Dale’s main scorers while Josh Edwards’ four wickets were in vain for Stirling.
Drumpellier may have been idle for much of the season, completing just two games prior to Saturday’s Lanarkshire derby at Uddingston.
However, they took out their frustrations in fine style with their first victory of the campaign.
Asid Mohammed scored a half-century and skipper Graeme McLaren 45no as the Coatbridge side overhauled Uddingston’s 163 with four wickets and eleven balls in hand.