CSL preview - week 12

17 Aug

Western Premier


Back-to-back defeats against West and Clydesdale may have undermined Uddingston’s title hopes but the Bothwell side are still top of the table and fully focused on staying there. Skipper Bryan Clarke said: “It is a pretty simple equation for us now: three games, three wins and we win the league. As I’ve said all year we’ve done okay but won nothing. We have to be very honest with ourselves and admit the previous two matches were not good enough – you won’t win many games posting 120-odd. We fully expect Clydesdale to win their remaining matches and see things very much in our own hands. It’s time for everybody to stand up and be counted because, make no mistake, we have some serious cricketers in our side.” Clarke will not be underestimating a Renfrew side who find themselves involved in a three-way battle to avoid the drop. Uddingston are without Saltires star Calum MacLeod who has family commitments while Gavin Main is on duty with Durham Academy. Renfrew are on the usual lines.   

Prediction: Home win



Ayr did their survival prospects a power of good with a timely win over Renfrew last week and skipper Andi McElnea is looking for more of the same from his side. However, victory today is not a foregone conclusion as champions Dumfries have also shown signs of improved form, having moved into the top half of the table. The visitors may have one eye on tomorrow’s Murgitroyd T20 Cup finals day.

Prediction: Home win



West remain handily placed on the fringes of the title race and victory against one-time challengers Drumpellier will set things up nicely for the closing two weeks of the campaign. John Blain, the Hamilton Crescent player-coach, is convinced that a full-strength West are capable of matching the best in the league and he has the majority of his first-choice players available for this one with skipper Ross Brown returning after a six-week injury absence and Stuart Murray also back in the line-up. Drumpellier may no longer be in the title hunt but skipper Graeme McLaren wants to see his team find form ahead of tomorrow’s Murgitroyd T20 Cup finals day.

Prediction: Home win



Victory over Uddingston a week ago was Clydesdale’s fourth league success on the trot and a significant statement by a team who appear to have momentum in their favour. Majid Haq’s side followed that up by beating Ayr in midweek to lift the West League Cup and they start strong favourites against a Stirling side who went back to the foot of the table last week. Haq remains quietly confident that his team can take the title race down to the wire but Stirling counterpart Graeme Taylor is relaxed about this fixture despite his team’s position. “We’re not expected to get anything from this game,” he said. “If we come away having found a bit of form for two huge home games coming up I’ll be satisfied.”

Prediction: Home win


Eastern Premier


Despite last week’s defeat to Arbroath, Aberdeenshire still have a chance of lifting the title. However, their prospects have been undermined by a damaging fixture clash which sees them also listed to play SMRH in a re-arranged league at Inverleith tomorrow while also scheduled to compete in the Murgitroyd T20 Cup finals day. Dons skipper Tyler Buchan said: “We’ve been put in a farcical position by Cricket Scotland and their Competitions Committee. It has been distracting in the build-up to the weekend and even now we are in relative limbo as we have protested against their decision but have heard nothing back. It’s the last thing we need when we are trying to win two competitions.” Buchan is wary of the outgoing champions who have shown improved form in the second half of the campaign. The visitors are without former ‘Sonians player Tony McKenna who is injured. 

Prediction: Away win



Grange returned to form with a thumping derby win over Heriot’s a week ago but face a stiff test against a Stoneywood-Dyce side scrapping for survival after going bottom in the wake of their defeat to SMRH. The Edinburgh side may no longer have a chance of winning the league but are still eyeing success in the Murgitroyd T20 cup tomorrow and the Scottish Cup next weekend. Skipper Neil McCallum misses out today but returns to lead the team tomorrow while Gregor Maiden and Zander Muir return.

Prediction: Home win



Heriot’s want to avoid back-to-back derby defeats but they entertain a Carlton side who are eyeing a league and cup double. The Grange Loan side need to win their games while hoping Arbroath slip up and skipper Preston Mommsen last night played down his side’s chances of league glory. He said: “We are making the Cup our priority this season as we are already in the final. But we want to win every game we play and we’ll try to do that in the league and see where it takes us.” Much interest will centre on the performances of Mark Watt in the home side and Carlton’s Chayank Gosain, the country’s two most promising left-arm spinners.

Prediction: Away win



The Inverleith side have their tails-up following last week’s win over Stoneywood-Dyce and a weekend double over Arbroath today and Aberdeenshire tomorrow would all-but secure top flight status. However, they are under no illusions about the size of the task as leaders Arbroath are closing in on their first title while third placed Aberdeenshire have not given up hope of pipping their north-east rivals and will surely have extra motivation following SMRH’s refusal to switch tomorrow’s fixture to accommodate the Mannofield side’s appearance in the Murgitroyd T20 Cup finals day. Marc Petrie, the Arbroath captain, knows his side will have to be at their best to stay top.  He said: “Not only do they have one of the best players in the country in Cedric English, they are coming in on the back of a fantastic win. We will need to up our levels in all aspects because, although we beat Aberdeenshire last week, we were not up to our expected standards. SMRH are much more than a one-man team, though, as Greg Ruthven proved with this division’s best bowling figures of the season last week. The visitors are unchanged.

Prediction: Away win

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