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Clydesdale and Grange progress

Clydesdale and holders Grange, the two teams that have dominated the Scottish Cup over recent years, will contest this season's final. The former had appeared to face the bigger challenge to reach the showpiece when they played in-form Ferguslie.

The Titwood club had every right to make the short journey with a sense of trepidation given that the Paisley side had comfortably accounted for Eastern Premier division leaders Aberdeenshire in the previous round. Clydesdale had also slipped up badly in their last Union outing, losing to Uddingston.

Fortunately for the favourites it was their cup form which they took into yesterday's meeting instead. Indeed, the contest, such as it was, had reached its conclusion by 3pm - ahead of the scheduled close of the first innings.

Sent in to bat, Ferguslie lost an early wicket but recovered when Keith Dabengwa and Michael English came together in a steadying second wicket partnership. The latter would be called out as the result of a controversial lbw decision and was forced to go for 11. Dabengwa, the Zimbabwe international, then appeared to be fighting a lone battle, especially when Ferguslie at one stage lost six wickets for the addition of not a single run.

The inevitable collapse made for some impressive bowling figures in the Clydesdale ranks with Zeeshan Bashir, the off-spinner, claiming four wickets for just three runs in a five-over spell. Among the scalps was Dabengwa, caught by Con de Lange, for his side's top score of 32. Mohammed Ali, Bashir's left-arm spin partner, was almost as impressive in claiming four scalps and conceding eight runs in his 4.4 overs.

Ferguslie were dismissed for 71 with more than 16 overs of their allocation unused. Clydesdale's reply, though far from perfect, had a successful conclusion and a five-wicket victory in just 13.4 overs.

It was more of a free-scoring affair at Torrance House but would prove just as one-sided as East Kilbride's first semi-final in the premier national knock-out competition ended in a nine-wicket defeat. Sent in to bat, the Western Union side fought all the way against strong Grange bowling, Harmanjit Singh giving them a steady start with 21 before wickets started to fall. Scotland all-rounder Moneeb Iqbal also top-scored for with 43 as the home side clawed their way to 173.

However, despite the loss of an early wicket, the cup holders made light work of their task as George Munsey and skipper Neil McCallum launched the counter-attack. Munsey was particularly brutal, at one stage hoisting Ross Lyons for four sixes in one over as Grange cruised over the finishing line.

Meanwhile, Sikander Raza, the former Ayr professional, helped earn Zimbabwe a victory in an ODI match against Afghanistan yesterday. He scored 141 from only 133 balls, including 11 fours and seven maximums.

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