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AYR AND GRANGE TO FIGHT IT OUT IN CRICKET SCOTLAND GRAND FINAL

Cricket Scotland @CricketScotland
September 1, 2023 10 months
AYR AND GRANGE TO FIGHT IT OUT IN CRICKET SCOTLAND GRAND FINAL

The Cricket Scotland Premier League Grand Final signals the conclusion of the domestic season in Scotland, with the top side from the West and East battling it out for supremacy – and Saturday’s meeting between Ayr and Grange is shaping up to be a brilliant contest.

The teams last met at the semi-final stage of the Scottish Cup last year at Ayr’s New Cambusdoon ground.

The hosts won that day, but a lot of water has gone under the bridge at both clubs since then and this clash at Forfarshire’s Forthill ground is too close to call.

Both sides go into the one-off 50-overs-a-side match on a high having clinched their respective league titles over the last 18 weeks.

Ayr won 13 and lost two of their completed games to finish on top of the Western Premiership One standings.

Captain Michael English said:  “I am very proud of the way the guys played throughout the season to win the league.

“It is one thing to win one off games, but it is another to be consistent and I thought that everyone involved kept the standards high all the way through and that was pleasing.

“In some games we dominated and in others we really had to scrap to get a positive result and sometimes those latter type of wins are more satisfying because they typify the team spirit that we have at the club.

“For example, way back on day one of the league season versus Prestwick we scored 239-5 in our 44 overs and then restricted them to 233 all out, it was the kind of result that gave us momentum to build on.

“Young players such as Jake Woodhouse, Mikey Maxwell and Robbie Walsh – as well as Johnny and Matty Baines – have come into the senior team and not looked out of place and we have been delighted to give them this kind of exposure.

“Looking ahead to the Grand Final and we are looking forward to it because we want to end the season on yet another high.

“We know the type of quality that Grange possess and it should be a great game for the spectators.

“As a team we will focus on what we can do and will hope to be successful.”

English topped the runs scoring chart in Western Premiership one with 917 while Neil Flack weighed in with 491.

Scott McElnea took 25 league wickets, current Scotland cap Hamza Tahir 21 and Flack 21.

Grange became Eastern Premier League champions by putting together the same record as Ayr, the Edinburgh outfit from Portgower Place winning 13 and losing two games over the campaign.

Captain Tom Foulds said:  “The wider playing group met way back in January and set out goals for the season and that was a really useful exercise.

“We wanted to try and win two trophies and we have one in the bag with a chance of another one this coming Saturday.

“At that meeting we also discussed that we wanted to play cricket with a smile on our faces and have fun and enjoy ourselves when we are out there on the pitch and over the summer we have done just that.

“We will take the same mindset into the Grand Final and with Ayr having had an impressive campaign themselves we think it’ll be a closely contested game which we can win if we play to our potential as a group.

“I think one of the most pleasing aspects of our league title win was the way that we played when we had players away on Scotland duty.

“The other players who came in took to it really well and enjoyed playing alongside experienced players like Preston Mommsen, Ryan Flannigan and Gordon Goudie and that helped them relax and perform.

“An example of this would be the way that youngsters like Louis Bennet and Calum Swanson stepped up seamlessly.

“There is a good feeling around the club and we hope it continues this weekend.”

Finlay McCreath scored 743 league runs to finish second in the Eastern Premier League batting standings this summer while Ryan Flannigan made 459 and Angus Brown 412.

Bowling-wise in the league, current Scotland international Chris Greaves took 16 wickets, Gordon Goudie 16 and Foulds 15.

The match at Forthill starts at noon, and will be broadcast live on the Cricket Scotland YouTube channel.

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