Domestic Preview – Week 16

Cricket Media review the action in the Eastern and Western Premier divisions

Lizzie Sleet @CricketScotland
August 11, 2018 6 years
Domestic Preview – Week 16

Win or lose, Ferguslie will today be confirmed as Western Premier champions for the first time following their clash with Greenock at Glenpark.

Such is their advantage at the top of the table that even a couple of losing bonus points will clinch the title, assuming second top Clydesdale take a maximum haul from their trip to Prestwick.

Ferguslie, though, are determined to do it in style and they know they will have to be at their best against a Greenock side for whom one more win could be enough to secure top flight survival.

The Paisley team are also angling for a bit of revenge after suffering their only defeat of the campaign to their Renfrewshire rivals back in June.

Skipper Jamie Carruthers said: “Tomorrow’s game gives us the chance to win the title for the first time in 51 years.

“We also look to get one back on Greenock as they’re the only league side to beat us this season. Glenpark is a fantastic venue and would be a great place to clinch it.”

The Glenpark men appear to have timed their bid to beat the drop to perfection, winning three of their last four completed matches, and a club spokesman said: “Our performance against Ferguslie was one of our best of the season and we will need another one like that.

“Ferguslie will be deserved winners of the title but we have beaten them once and would love to do it again. Recent wins mean it’s now in our own hands to stay in the premier division.”

Greenock are without Chris Hemspey but Harry Briggs returns while skipper Neil Flack, the league’s leading wicket-taker, will pit his wits against visiting opener Michael English, the division’s most prolific batsman.

Elsewhere, only victories will do for Dumfries and Ayr as they attempt to claw their way to top flight safety.

Indeed, it already looks like a lost cause for 2012 champions Dumfries who must beat Stirling at Nunholm and hope their relegation rivals slip up.

Ayr, who won the title in 2014, are also in grave danger but victory over Poloc at Cambusdoon would increase the pressure on Greenock.

Such an outcome would also drag Poloc into the dogfight and the Shawholm side are clearly going to play a part in determining the relegation issue since their remaining three matches are against the bottom three. Pace bowler Ihtesham Ul Haq remains unavailable for the visitors who are also without Lewis James.

Pride is at stake as outgoing champions Prestwick entertain a Clydesdale team who, despite a transitional season, look likely to finish as runners-up.

Defeat for Prestwick would pave the way for the winners of the Hamilton Crescent clash between West of Scotland and Uddingston to move into the top four.

ARBROATH may be conspicuous absentees from the race for the title – but defiant skipper Marc Petrie believes they can have a big say in the destination of the silverware.

Petrie’s men have endured a wretched run of form in recent weeks, and today they square up to pacesetters Grange at Raeburn Place.

It would take a brave man to bet on the Lochlands outfit to pull off a shock smash-and-grab act in the capital.

But Petrie’s glass is never half empty when it comes to faith in his team.

He said: “We are certainly experiencing a different feeling to the one we had become used to at this stage of the season.

“It is my job to make sure the lads are still motivated for the remaining matches and we desperately want to end the campaign strongly.

“Nothing could be more thought than facing Grange, who have been in great nick all summer.

“But we know we have the ability to cause an upset and we are really looking forward to the challenge.

“They have the best track in the country, so there will be no excuses.

“We are buoyed up by the fact that we are at full strength for only the second time this season.”

Grange player-coach John Blain certainly won’t be fooled by Arbroath’s position in the table.

He stated: “We have set our stall out ato improve our consistency of performance, and within that is a clinical yet respectful approach to our cricket.

“Arbroath are an excellent club who have competed on all fronts for a number of years, so they have an excellent track record.

“We will be fully focused on our job as a team.”

Champions Heriot’s – lurking in second place – have a tricky jaunt across the capital to take on Watsonians.

And Forfarshire should cling on to their third slot by accounting for RHC Lions at Broughty Ferry, while Carlton welcome inconsistent Aberdeenshire to Grange Loan.

Inverleith is the venue for the basement battle between Stew-Mel and the apparently doomed Glenrothes.

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