Gala and Meigle have both been on top form all season and now it all comes down to one match between the clubs to see who will be playing in the Eastern Premier League in 2023.
They meet at Freuchie Park as the winners of the ESCA Championship and the S&PCU North East Championship respectively and by Saturday evening we will know who will be replacing Arbroath in the top flight.
Gala have been at this stage before, losing out to Falkland 12 months ago, and although it was a defeat their skipper Josh Irvine believes the experience will come in useful.
“The majority of the guys who played in that play-off game will be involved in this one again and having been here before it will make it easier just to focus purely on the match rather than the significance of what a positive result could mean,” he explains.
“As a club we have been building over the last few years on and off the pitch and we feel we are ready to make the step up into the Eastern Premier League, but we are also very respectful of Meigle and know that they are a good team who, like us, have had a great summer.
“We got off to a bit of a poor start in the Championship, but we dug in and came through that and since those first few games we have played some good, consistent cricket.
“We also made it to the national T20 finals day for the second year running and although we were beaten in the semi-finals again it gave us just another taste of playing against quality opponents.
“The guys are looking forward to Saturday.”
Key players for Gala in this game could be overseas amateur Ridwan Khalia who scored 627 runs in the ESCA Championship, Irvine himself who bagged 369 league runs, professional Upul Indrasira who took an amazing 40 ESCA Championship wickets and Dinesh Tharanga who took 28 league scalps.
Meigle have a chance to return to the Eastern Premier League at the first time of asking.
They enjoyed their season in the top flight in 2021 and captain Charles Clark said: “Every cricket player and team wants to test themselves against the best week in and week out, we had a taste of that last summer and it would be good to get back to the Eastern Premier League in 2023.
“This year we have been pleased with how things have gone and the guys have bounced back from relegation well. The Championship is a tough division and this year because there were 12 teams in it we didn’t get to play everyone home and away, so the pressure grew when we lost on the road to title challengers Aberdeenshire.
“However, we managed to hold our nerve in the final weeks of the season and there were a few twists and turns elsewhere which made sure that we finished top.
“The team has refocused quickly now ahead of what will be a tricky match against a Gala team who have had a strong couple of years and it should be a really good contest.
“We just need to perform to our best and see where that takes us.”
Professional Raju Gayashan scored 692 runs for Meigle in the S&PCU North East Championship while Alan Neave backed him up with 614 runs and both could be ones to watch this weekend.
With the ball, overseas amateur Hayden Guest (25 S&PCU North East Championship wickets) and Majid Rasheed with 22 wickets in the league will look to cause the opponents problems in this one.
Gala are pictured