Gary Heatly looks ahead to Sunday’s matches in the Scottish Cup…
Gen!us Grange, Heriot’s, Clydesdale and Watsonians are all now just one win away from a Scottish Cup final at New Cambusdoon in Ayr on August 22.
On Sunday, Grange will host fellow Eastern Premier Division side Heriot’s in one semi-final at Portgower Place while, in the other last four tie, Western Premier Division outfit Clydesdale will welcome Watsonians from the East to Titwood.
Edinburgh rivals Grange and Heriot’s met in 50-over cricket as recently as July 17 when they played in a league match at Goldenacre.
That day Heriot’s bowled their visitors out for 127 and then knocked off the runs required to win by seven wickets, but expect this Cup clash to be closer.
In the Cup in recent times, Grange defeated Heriot’s in the 2018 final while Heriot’s won the last completed event in 2019 when they saw off Carlton in the final in Paisley.
Grange have won the Cup a record nine times and Heriot’s four times and, with matchwinners on both sides, this clash could go all the way.
“We are looking forward to this match, as a player these are the kind of big games you want to be a part of,” Grange skipper Tom Foulds said.
“The club has a long history in this competition and to have a home semi-final against a Heriot’s team we know well is certainly something to get excited about.
“We were frustrated to lose in the league a few weeks ago, the guys didn’t feel that they showed what they were all about on that day, so we are after a better performance and we know that we can win if we play to our best.”
Grange are set to be without batter Nick Farrar, but in recent weeks they have had Scotland seamer Chris Sole back in the ranks and he could be a key man.
Heriot’s are without batter Peter Ross (injured) and 2019 Cup winning captain Keith Morton (unavailable), Ryan Brown and Chris Ashforth set to be in the XI.
“We have been in a good run of form, but we know that Cup matches are one off affairs and we also know that Grange have players who can cause problems with bat and ball,” Heriot’s skipper Mark Watt, who turned 25 this week and played in the Cup final in 2012 as a youngster, said.
“However, we back ourselves and I know that the guys are very focused on making it to another Cup final and keeping the club’s great tradition in this competition going.”
Clydesdale have won the Cup seven times before, the most recent time in 2016, and the Glasgow men will be looking to make the most of home advantage against Watsonians.
Before this weekend they were top of the Western Premier Division with six wins from seven and their side has a nice balance between experienced players and young talent.
“The mix of players in our team is a nice one and what has pleased us this season to date is that everyone has contributed at different stages,” Clydesdale captain Paddy Barbour said.
“We obviously don’t play Watsonians in our league, but we know they are having a good season and we just need to focus on our own game and getting off to good start in the match.
“As someone who has come up through the Clydesdale youth set-up to the first XI it would give me great pride to win the Cup with the club, but we aren’t looking any further than this match.”
Before the weekend Watsonians were fifth in the Eastern Premier Division and the Edinburgh club has never won the Cup.
Their most recent final appearances came in 2012 against Heriot’s and 2017 against Carlton and their new-look side for 20211 will be looking to repeat that and go one better.
With skipper Pete Maksimczyk unavailable, Scotland batter Oli Hairs is acting as captain this weekend and he said: “We know Clydesdale away will be a tough match, but we have enjoyed our Cup run so far and the guys have all been working hard in training this week ahead of this big game.
“Titwood is a great place to play cricket and I want the guys who have perhaps not played I a semi-final like this before to embrace the occasion and give it everything they have got.”
Heriot’s are pictured having won the Scottish Cup in 2019
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