Domestic Preview -Week 13

23 Jul

Cricket Media Preview the thirteenth round of fixtures from the Eaastern and Western Premier Divisions. 

Forfarshire have received a huge boost in the build-up to their crucial Eastern Premiership showdown with fellow title-chasers Carlton.

The Broughty Ferry brigade - currently lying third in the table - will have influential player-coach Graeme Beghin back in the line-up for the trip to the capital.

Carlton sit in second spot behind south Edinburgh rivals Watsonians, and it would be fair to assume that today’s victors will go head to head for the honours with the Myresiders over the last few weeks of the campaign.

Beghin, who has shaken off his injury worries, said: “Other than my return, the side is along usual lines.

“Everyone connected with the team has been particularly looking forward to this fixture.

“Both clubs have been producing excellent cricket this summer and each has game-changers who can make all the difference on the day - with either bat or ball.

“Hopefully the weather will not be a factor and it should be an an intriguing contest for spectators and players alike.”

Pacesetters Sonians make the tricky jaunt across the Forth Bridge to take on Falkland. The Scroggie Park boys have had an up-and-down season, however they are capable of springing a shock on their own turf.

Arbroath skipper Marc Petrie has admitted his men are out of the running for the championship, but he stressed there will be no slacking in terms of effort and commitment - especially during the approach to their quest to cling on to the Scottish Cup in the Glasgow final against Clydesdale.

Today, Petrie and Co welcome Glenrothes to Lochlands - with Chris Greaves being cited as the main danger to the hosts.

The captain declared: “We will be looking to put on a show this weekend after a disappointing defeat to Grange

“That result ended any hopes we may have had for challenging for the league.

“We found ourselves in excellent positions on multiple occasions in that match, but didn't capitalise on them.

“We now have no pressure on us for the last few games so hopefully that will bring out the best in us.

“Greaves is their obvious threat, but they have had other very good performers in recent weeks so we know we will have to be on top of our game to come away with the win.”

Arbroath are without the injured Brendon Ford, while veteran Greig Peal returns for Craig Cameron.

Elsewhere, Grange and Heriot’s ought to be too strong for Aberdeenshire and basement boys Stoneywood-Dyce respectively in the Granite City.

Clydesdale today have the chance to take a huge step towards a successful title defence when they entertain second placed Ferguslie at Titwood.

Dale’s frustration at having their last three games abandoned has been tempered somewhat by the fact that they have gone to the top of the table, a circumstance brought about by Ferguslie having lost their last two games. 

A miserable period for the Paisley side continued last week when today’s opponents got the better of them in a low-scoring Scottish Cup semi-final.

Given his side’s lack of action, Clydesdale skipper Majid Haq was delighted with last week’s performance and is looking for more of the same in a match he knows can have a massive bearing on the outcome of the championship race.

He said: “It is a huge game for both teams and the winners will have one hand on the league trophy. 

“Sunday’s win was great but it was hard-fought and I’m sure tomorrow will be the same.” 

While acknowledging the team effort, Haq picked out a few key performers when he added: “Our opening bowlers Abdul Sabri and Basit Ali have been fantastic and I don’t think there is a better opening partnership in Scotland at the moment. 

“It’s also great to have Zeeshan Bashir back playing again and you can see his importance with his wickets and vital runs at No7 to get us over the line in big games.”   

If the momentum appears to have shifted firmly in Clydesdale’s favour, Ferguslie captain Gregor Preston-Jones is not ready to make any concessions and nor does he adhere to the notion that today’s clash is a title decider. 

He said: “Some people may say it's make or break but as we have seen there are plenty of shocks in our league this season. 

“Obviously we are targeting a win against Clydesdale as we have defeated them already this year and the cup tie at the weekend was extremely close so we are two evenly matched sides. 

“Pressure is a funny thing. Maybe now Clydesdale are in pole position things will change but we are aiming to do our things well and I'm confident we can win at Titwood. 

“Lifting heads shouldn't be too difficult. After the week we've had you can only go up in my opinion and that started on Sunday when we put in a very good performance and couldn't quite get across the line. 

“We are a young, energetic team and I expect the boys to be right up for the contest.”  

Elsewhere East Kilbride, having claimed third spot with victory over Kelburne a week ago, perhaps have eyes on the top two and the Torrance House troops should make home advantage count against bottom-of-the-table Stenhousemuir. 

Kelburne will aim to bounce back when they host a Dumfries side who returned to form with a battling two-wicket win against Prestwick. 

Two of the league’s form sides clash at Uddingston where Ayr are the visitors, both having dented Ferguslie’s title hopes in recent weeks. 

Bryan Clarke’s Uddingston are on a three-game winning streak while last week’s victory over Stenhousemuir saw Ayr manage back-to-back wins for the first time since the second Saturday of the season. 

In contrast Prestwick have lost their previous two matches and they will be wary of a Drumpellier side who travel to Henry Thow Oval on a mission to ease their relegation fears.

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