THE supremo of pacesetters Grange has warned basement boys Glenrothes there will be no drop in intensity or hunger in his squad when the teams clash today.
Glens head for Raeburn place knowing the hosts will be on a high in the wake of their stunning Scottish Cup semi final triumph over Ferguslie at the same venue.
And home player-coach John Blain insisted his players are ready to push on to new heights.
The former Scotland World Cup star said: “It was a great win for us during a very tough period of cricket.
“Our senior and junior guys are involved at all levels of cricket and demand is high for them to keep performing with resilience.
“Delivering the goods while under pressure against Ferguslie was testament to their ability and attitude.
“We have reflected on that block of the season – and we are ready for the next phase of the campaign.”
While Grange were clinching the glory in a cup thriller, Arbroath were on the wrong end of another semi final nail biter at nearby Goldenacre, where Heriot’s came out on top.
Today, Arbroath are back on their own turf against Carlton – and skipper Marc Petrie stated: “We have certainly had a season of ups and downs so far.
“The important thing is that we learn from it and take positives into the remaining games and in to next summer.
“We weren’t expecting things to be easy after losing two big players in Brendon Ford and Elton Willemse.
“Their departure has, however, provided opportunities for others such as Shaun Christie and Chris Robb to impress.
“I am confident that the inexperienced players amongst the squad will learn and become better for it.
“Of course losing to Heriot’swas a big blow, but it was a fantastic game to be a part of and they deserve credit for chasing a decent total.
“They’re having another fantastic season under the captaincy of Keith Morton.”
It is now Forfarshire’s turn to answer the Goldenacre challenge as second plays third in the championship.
Elsewhere, Watsonians welcome RHC Lions and Stew-Mel face Aberdeenshire at Inverleith.
WITH Ferguslie apparently charging to the Western Premier title, the battle for survival takes centre stage as Ayr, Greenock and Dumfries step-up their dogfight to beat the drop.
It looks like two of these three will be heading down but all of them could yet suck more teams into the scrap at the bottom and that is the case at Hamilton Crescent this afternoon where West of Scotland entertain Ayr.
West eased their own worries last week with a thrilling one-wicket win at Greenock and a further victory today would all-but ensure top flight cricket.
However, Ayr, having gone rock-bottom as a result of last week’s defeat to Ferguslie, are ready for the battle ahead.
They go into action without their honeymooning skipper Andi McElnea but the captain is confident his men can get the necessary results during what is sure to be a tense run-in.
He said: “We’ve got six huge games left this season starting at West.
“We haven’t quite got over the line in two or three matches that could have gone either way – that’s why we are where we are.
“However, I do feel that we have the quality in the side to get some important results over the next few weeks and avoid the drop.
“We need big performances from key members of the squad.”
West counterpart Gregg Watson has little intention of looking over his shoulder and said: “We’ve been looking up the way all season as we know how well we can play as a team.
“Four of our last six games are at home so hopefully we can push for a top four finish.”
West are boosted by the return of fast bowler Robbie McCallum following a spell with Grange.
Greenock must shrug-off the disappointment of their loss to West when they head down the coast to face outgoing champions Prestwick.
They travel without Harry Briggs, Jon Hempsey and Sailesh Prabhu but Chris Hempsey returns along with Scotland U15 star Sean Fischer-Keogh.
A club spokesman said: “We can’t dwell on last week but we have to take the lessons from it and concentrate on trying to get the win we need against Prestwick.”
Dumfries travel to face Clydesdale in high spirits following an excellent team performance against Prestwick but the home side, lying second and still with an outside chance of lifting the title, could welcome back Angus Guy following his superb double century for Scotland U17s in midweek.
It is so tight in mid-table that the winner of Uddingston’s clash with Poloc could jump several places while, despite their comfortable lead, Ferguslie will take nothing for granted when in-form Stirling, aiming for a fifth straight win, visit Meikleriggs.