Kilmarnock Start The road to the top with an emphatic win
Starting the way long road
The 2017 cricket season started last week for Kilmarnock as the club looked to go one better than last season and secure promotion back to the first division of the Western Union cricket league.
Niamat Ali was once again tasked with leading the 1st 11 and was hopeful of getting the season off to a winning start at home to Vale of Leven. Kilmarnock lost the toss and were surprisingly asked to bat first.
Paul Flanagan and Sandeep Dhaliwal were tasked with getting the side off to a good start. Dhaliwal went early but by the time Flanagan departed for 31 he had helped Kilmarnock to 94 from 18 overs.
The wicket of Flanagan brought new signing Azhar Abdullah to the crease to join last years batsman of the year Munir Ahmed. They were to combine to provide the highest partnership of the match, a blistering 120. Although both went in quick succession, Azhar for 52 and Munir for a superb 92, it was to be a significant partnership.
There was a slight wobble in the middle of the innings as 3 wickets fell in quick succession but all rounder Tom McFadzean joined skipper Niamat Ali (32 not out) in the middle to allay any fears they wouldn't provide the total required. Watched on for the first time by his daughter, McFadzean went for an exciting 42. Niamat then propelled Kilmarnock to a highly competitive 310 from there 50 overs.
There was to be no dramatic run chase from the visitors as they made it quite clear from the start they were going to bat at their own tempo. Kilmarnock were going to have to work hard for there wickets and although it took a while Chris Marshman did some early damage picking up 2 for 21 from his 8 overs.
It was then down to the all rounders of Munir, Azhar and McFadzean take the wickets to propel Kilmarnock to victory. McFadzean picked up 2 with his pace, whilst the spin of Munir claimed 3 and Azhar 1. Paul Flanagan continued where he left off last year with 3 imperious stumpings!
Kilmarnock finally bowled their visitors out for 156 to wrap up a comptehensive 154 run win.