CSL week 13 preview

24 Aug

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Western Premier


This looks like a must-win clash for both sides with Ayr battling to avoid the drop and Uddingston, having suffered a series of setbacks, desperately trying to fend-off Clydesdale’s late surge at the top of the table. There is little sign of tension in either camp, though, with home skipper Andi McElnea confident about the long-term health of his club. He said: “We are in a really sound position at the moment with finances in good order and improvements being made to the ground. We also have a team packed with home-grown youth.” One of them, Shuja Khan, returns to the side after captaining the Scotland U15 team last week, while two others, Neil Smith and McElnea’s younger brother Scott, are in good spirits after successful appearances for the Reivers in midweek. Uddingston felt aggrieved when their match against Renfrew failed to beat the elements but skipper Bryan Clarke declared: “That is in the past and there is no point worrying about it now. It’s more important to concentrate on what will be really tough game against an Ayr side whose position doesn’t reflect their ability. We’ve played some good cricket this season but this is where it counts.” Uddingston welcome back Saltires star Calum MacLeod. 

Prediction: Away win



While Drumpellier have run out of steam at a crucial stage in the season, the opposite applies to Clydesdale who have timed their title push to perfection and are now level on points with Uddingston, trailing by dint only of an inferior net run-rate. The Titwood club, though, are unlikely to treat today’s opponents lightly especially with such potential match-winners as Graeme McLaren and Imran Adrees in their line-up. Clydesdale have their own big occasions players, none more so than skipper Majid Haq who has a burning ambition to lead his team to the title during his first season at the helm. Haq’s cause has been helped in recent weeks by the return to fitness and form of Safyaan Sharif and Zeeshan Bashir.

Prediction: Away win



These two met on the final day of last season with the title up for grabs, the hosts famously prevailing in their first top flight campaign. This time, only pride is at stake though both sides are assured of a comfortable finish in the top half of the table. Both continue to develop talented young players who will feature in the closing weeks of the season.

Prediction: Away win



It is so tight at the bottom of the table that this relegation clash, while having a major bearing on who survives, is unlikely to settle much though an away win would secure Renfrew’s status. However, any one of the three bottom teams could be propping up the table by 7pm tonight and Stirling, currently at the foot, could jump two places if results go their way. The New Williamfield club host Ayr on the final day next week and skipper Graeme Taylor acknowledged: “Our season comes down to the next two weeks and the guys have put in two good shifts in training this week. We have eleven guys who are going to fight until the very last ball is bowled. We also have guys who have been in this situation before and their experience will be vital.” Nick Farrar and Ian Shaw return for Stirling while Renfrew are likely to go with the side that started against Uddingston a week ago.

Prediction: Home win


Eastern Premier


It is crunch time for Carlton and Arbroath in their quest for silverware. The Edinburgh club, also gearing up for tomorrow’s Scottish Cup final, must win today to take the title race into the final day of the season otherwise Arbroath will be crowned champions. Carlton skipper Preston Mommsen has stressed that the cup is his side’s priority this season but that won’t prevent the Grange Loan outfit from giving their all to deny the Red Lichties. Fraser Watts, the veteran Carlton batsman, declared: “It’s great that we are still in with a shout in the league and if we beat Arbroath I’m confident Grange will do us a favour in the last game. While Arbroath host Grange next week, Carlton appear to have an easier task against Stoneywood-Dyce and visiting skipper Marc Petrie is anxious to get the job done. He said: “I don’t believe for a minute that Carlton won’t be devoting 100% of their attention to the match against us and they will be tough opponents. We have two shots at the title but we are determined to only need one of them.” Both sides are close to full strength with Alvin Pollard returning to add pace to the Arbroath bowling attack. 

Prediction: Home win



Defeat to Watsonian ended Aberdeenshire’s title hopes while Heriot’s have long settled for a mid-table berth so it is all about pride at Mannofield.

Prediction: Home win



Grange may have one eye on tomorrow’s Scottish Cup final which would suit SMRH who are involved in a two-way tussle with Stoneywood-Dyce to avoid the drop. Josh Edwards and Stuart Davidson miss out for the hosts today though cup specialist Davidson will almost certainly return tomorrow. SMRH are keeping their line-up under wraps until shortly before the start.  

Prediction: Home win



Stoneywood-Dyce have not won since the opening day of the season but the Aberdonians are confident they can put an end to that dismal sequence today and rekindle their hopes of survival. A win today, coupled with defeat for SMRH, would see Stuart Coetzer’s men leapfrog the Edinburgh side with just one week to go. The hosts will look to their experienced trio of Jan Stander, Michael Leask and Elton Willemse to play a key part against a Watsonian outfit with less incentive. 

Prediction: Away win

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