Domestic Preview – Week 13

Cricket Media preview week 13 of the action in the Eastern and Western Premier Division

Lizzie Sleet @CricketScotland
July 22, 2017 6 years

Colin Mitchell fears rain could wreck Clydesdale’s chances of coming from behind to make a concerted title challenge.

The reigning champions are still playing catch-up following four defeats during the first half of the campaign.

They have recaptured top form, winning three games on the trot in convincing fashion since the return from international duty of all-rounders Richie Berrington and Con de Lange.

But last week’s home clash with Dumfries was ko’d by rain and there are weather concerns over today’s card when Dale are due to visit second top Ferguslie, seeking revenge for defeat earlier in the season.

Despite sitting sixth, Clydesdale could still make a late dart for the tape in the closest race in years but spokesman Mitchell declared: “One of the key factors in who wins the league will be what games get rained off.

“Once you’re ahead a game off isn’t too bad but if you’re behind dead weekends are a disaster. That has always been the case but recently we’ve not been in this position and all we can do is hope our games are on.

“If every game is on for the remainder of the season I’d hope we can get in the mix.”

Ferguslie skipper Jamey Carruthers, meanwhile, has warned against complacency as the season reaches its climax and said: “There is no room for slip-ups. We want to keep improving.”

The Paisley side will look to Riyaad Henry to continue the form that saw him score two centuries for a Scotland Development XI during the week but they are without leading wicket-taker Haroon Tahir who is on Scotland U19 duty at the World Cup qualifiers in Jersey.

Dale, buoyed by a Rowan Cup semi-final win over Prestwick on Thursday evening, field teenager Angus Guy following his recent century for Scotland U17.

Uddingston skipper Bryan Clarke believes the pressure is all on Prestwick when the leaders visit Bothwell Castle.

Clarke’s side had a spell at the summit and will remain firmly in contention if they can complete the double over the Ayrshiremen whom they beat by four runs in May.

He said: “I’d say it’s a must-win for Prestwick if they want to stay top – it’s still very tight at the top but it’s probably theirs to lose if you look at the remaining fixtures.

“We managed to win a tight one at their place so hopefully we can do the same again.”

Uddingston welcome back Ross Lyons but Riley McGuire is struggling with a heel injury.

Prestwick skipper Shahzad Rafiq has told his side to look no further than today’s match and has challenged them to record a fifth straight win.

Poloc, joint fourth, entertain third top Ayr in another fixture which has a must-win look but the Shawholm men are without Scotland U19 duo Owais Shah and Ihtisham Malik while the visitors’ leading strike bowler Scott McElnea is injured.

Greenock can go a long way to securing top flight survival if they get the better of winless Kelburne at Glenpark while Dumfries must beat East Kilbride at Nunholm to avoid being dragged into the relegation battle.

Fife neighbours Falkland and Glenrothes have radically different incentives to snatch crucial victories today.
For Falkland, survival in the top flight is now the absolute focus following their elimination from the British Village Cup at the hands of holders Sessay.
And defeat at the hands of title contenders Grange at Raeburn Place would deepen the plight of the basement boys.
Glens need to beat Aberdeenshire at Mannofield to keep alive their prospects of figuring in the honours shake up come the end of August.
Falkland spokesman Ryan Hepburn admitted the odds will be stacked against his team when they head for the capital.
He said: “Apart from being without Fred Culley and Fraser Gosse, several others are absent due to work commitments and holidays.
“Our resources are really being stretched at the moment, to the extent that three of our Under-15s are in the senior squad.
“Grange in their own back yard is as tough as it comes.
“We will strive to compete and if we do not win, it won’t be through a lack of effort.”
Glens are also minus key men for their northern foray.
Scott Lucas and Jatinder Pal replace Culley and Gosse, and skipper Safyaan Sharif said: “The priority is to make sure we get the basics right in every department.
“Aberdeenshire have their share of dangerous players, but we know that if we perform to potential we will win and maintain the momentum.”
Leaders Arbroath are ready to be fully tested at Lochlands by a Heriot’s outfit that is ever stronger.
Lichties captain Marc Petrie stated: “They have been playing excellently this season and we are under no illusions as to how difficult and important this match is.
“Heriot’s have been led well over the past few season by Keith Morton, a guy I know very well, and I’m sure he’ll have his squad motivated.
“We have worked very hard this week after losing to Aberdeenshire.”
Arbroath recall the fit-again Greig Peal for Craig Cameron.
Elsewhere, Forfarshire’s attack will have to be in top form to keep the clamps on Watsonians’ exciting batsmen at Broughty Ferry.
Home player-coach Chris Greaves declared: “A few of our young stars are away on Scotland age-group duty, but that opens the door for others to show what they can do.
“George Munsey will obviously huge threat and it would be great if we could dismiss him early.
“But Sonians are no one-man show as they have talented and experienced bowlers such as Dewald Nel and Andy McKay.
“We have had a frustrating season, but the future is bright with the young ability at our disposal.”
Finally, champions Carlton play host to capital rivals SMRH.

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