MAJID Haq produced one of the best bowling performances of his career as Clydesdale came back from the dead to secure a remarkable win over Drumpellier and remain in pole position in the Western Union title race.

Scotland's most capped player and leading wicket-taker has endured a turbulent spell since his expulsion from the World Cup in March.

His subsequent suspension by Cricket Scotland was recently lifted, perhaps opening the door to win back his place in the national team. If so, displays like the one he produced at Langloan on Saturday will do his cause no harm.

Haq, the Clydesdale captain, refused to let his head or those of his team-mates drop after a sub-standard batting performance saw the Titwood side dismissed for a lowly 102. Instead, he used it as motivation for an astonishing recovery that saw Drumpellier routed for 39, Haq having led the way with 7-10 - his best figures for Clydesdale.

He said: "At half-time I knew we hadn't batted well - we all did - but I said to the boys to give it their best shot and see where it took us.

"As captain and the best bowler in the team I knew I had to take responsibility so I decided to open the bowling myself and luckily it worked. I once took 8-29 for Kelburne but this is my best bowling for Clydesdale and it has helped get us what could be a very important win.

"You could see at half-time that Drumpellier were very confident but we've proved again that cricket can be a funny game."

Haq also praised the efforts of fellow spinner Mo Ali, who claimed the other three Drumpellier wickets and added: "We've had a lot of hard luck this season with injuries and unavailability and my own league suspension but we've come through it. We have put ourselves in an excellent position and we know if we keep winning there's nothing any other team can do to catch us."

Haq's heroics earned lavish praise from Clydesdale team manager Colin Mitchell who said: "Maj bowled with the intensity and aggression normally associated with a front-line seam bowler. He grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and demanded the result."

Clydesdale's day got even better when they learned that closest challengers Kelburne had slipped-up against Dumfries at Nunholm.

Batting first, the Paisley side did well to recover from 82-7 to reach 162 all out, helped by a top score of 22 from No11 batsman Ross Maclean and a generous 33 extras.

There were four wickets each for Niall Alexander, who removed Kelburne's top three, and Alan Davidson who went through the middle order before Dumfries made light work of their run-chase.

It was led by Marcus Richardson, whose 82-ball 65 included nine boundaries and one maximum, and Chris Bellwood who made a composed 43 as Dumfries avenged their defeat at Whitehaugh earlier in the season, winning by five wickets with almost 12 overs to spare.

For the second week running the matches involving the top two were the only ones to reach a conclusion as rain returned to frustrate the others.

The pain was felt no more than by East Kilbride and their former Saltires star Ross Lyon who had smashed a career-best 123 with ten sixes only for the effort to be wiped from the record books as their match against West of Scotland at Hamilton Crescent was abandoned six overs short of an official contest.

In the Eastern Premier, the top three in the table all won on Saturday as Arbroath and Carlton continued their relentless pursuit of leaders Grange. All three teams had to overcome the absence of key players and all did so in style to demonstrate a strength in depth that may have deflated their rivals.

Most impressive were Carlton who shrugged-off the absence of Preston Mommsen, Fraser Watts, Gordon Drummond and Ali Evans to fashion a commanding 230-run win over city rivals Heriot's at Grange Loan.

Central to their success were the centuries compiled by both Rory McCann and Hamish Gardiner as Carlton compiled an imposing 309-4. The pair added 194 for the third wicket with Irishman McCann unbeaten on 112 and Scotland star Gardiner scoring just two runs fewer.

It was a painful return to Heriot's for Kevin McLaren who conceded 95 runs from his 13 overs and was then caught behind for two off Tom Freshwater as Carlton's bowlers quickly took charge.

Freshwater went on to claim 3-16 but was upstaged by Omar Ahmad who finished with 4-17, helping dismiss Heriot's for a mere 79 with skipper Keith Morton unbeaten on 22.

If Carlton enjoyed a run-feast to stay third, second-top Arbroath just edged a low-scoring encounter with Falkland at Lochlands. Without the Burnett brothers, Calvin and Fraser, as well as two Scotland U19 players, Arbroath would have been delighted to dismiss their visitors for just 82.

However, losing eight wickets of their own was not part of the plan and skipper Marc Petrie admitted: "It wasn't quite a vintage performance from ourselves but we're happy to come away with the win and keep our unbeaten streak going.

"I thought we bowled very well throughout the innings and took advantage of a difficult wicket."

To that extent Petrie was again thrilled with the contribution of Craig Ramsay, easily the division's leading wicket-taker, who took his tally for the season to 33 with another four scalps.

He was aided again by fellow spinner Ross McLean, who claimed 3-5, and Petrie would not be surprised if the national selectors start showing a little interest in his star men.

"I think the performances of Craig and some others have been excellent over the season and he certainly deserves some recognition."

It turned out to be a bowlers' day as Falkland fought back impressively in the second half, Brook Ditchmen and Bruce Strachan also getting assistance from the Lochlands track to claim three wickets each during what proved to be a slightly jittery run-chase for the home side.

Grange continue to lead the way after a regulation five-wicket win over bottom side Corstorphine at Barnton. The visitors were without leading wicket-taker John Blain and top run scorer George Munsey but skipper Andrew Brock claimed four wickets before Ryan Flannigan led the chase of a modest 115 with 41.

Forfarshire were another team hit by call-offs for their trip north to face Stoneywood-Dyce at Peoples Park. Not only were the Forthill side without Scotland duo Craig Wallace and Michael Leask but Ryan Watson, a man who scored centuries in his previous two league outings, was also absent.

However, 'Shire still carved out an impressive 56-run win to stay in the top half of the table, stand-in skipper Matty Parker top-scoring with 48 before Umair Mohammed claimed four wickets.

Champions Aberdeenshire refuse to throw in the towel in their title defence and they stayed in contention after a 75-run win over Watsonians at Mannofield.

Meanwhile, Falkland's Village Cup run came to an end yesterday when they were beaten by Hawk Green.