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Knights and Warriors ready to battle it out in regional final

Gary Heatly looks ahead to Thursday’s Men’s Regional Pro Series final…

Cricket Scotland @CricketScotland
August 3, 2021 2 months
Knights and Warriors ready to battle it out in regional final
Credit: Ian Jacobs

The Men’s Regional Pro Series gave us all some great games to follow back in June during the round robin phase – and we can expect another belter on Thursday when the Eastern Knights and the Western Warriors meet in the competition final at Titwood in Glasgow.

The Knights have been the dominant force in regional cricket over the last two or three years and Steve Gilmour’s charges want more glory, but Andy Tennant’s Warriors certainly have the players in their ranks to cause problems and go on and win this clash too.

Both these sides set out their stall for the summer in round one of fixtures when the Knights posted an amazing 448-9 in 50-overs against the Caledonian Highlanders and the Warriors made 377-4 versus the Performance Academy on the same day.

Those big totals set them up for comfortable wins and then in round two they met.

At Titwood, the Knights made 242 all out batting first and then restricted the Warriors to 213 all out in reply to make it two from two for them.

In round three the Knights scored over 400 runs once again to see them on the way to a victory over the Performance Academy while the Warriors saw off the Highlanders in Arbroath as 257-8 played 161 all out.

Those games were on June 27, so fast forward a few weeks and players from both squads who may well play on Thursday are bang in form.

The Knights have lost George Munsey from their batting line-up as he is playing down south with the Kent Spitfires, but Oli Hairs hit a quickfire 127 for Watsonians in a Scottish Cup semi-final win on Sunday against Clydesdale on the same ground that the final is at.

Jamie Crawley made an amazing 206 in round one while Josh Wood is a danger in the top five and Heriot’s Mark Watt’s all-rounder status is growing all of the time as his batting improves.

Bowling wise, the Knights have a strong seam attack led by Carlton’s Ali Evans, Brad Currie and Heriot’s Elliot Ruthven while Chris Sole, back from Australia, may also come into the mix.

The Gen!us Grange man has been bowling quickly over these last couple of weeks and could be a handful for batters if he plays.

The Warriors are without the injured Clydesdale man Craig Young, but Heriot’s Matthew Cross has been in blistering form with the bat in the Eastern Premier Division and scored 203 not out in round one of this competition.

Mo Awais made 56 as Tunnocks Uddingston defeated SM Cricket Stirling County in the Western Premier Division on Saturday while M8 Driving Ferguslie skipper Riyaad Henry has hit 75 and 106 in his last two league outings.

Heriot’s Gavin Main and Stirling’s Brandon McMullen are two bowlers in-form while spinner Hamza Tahir has impressed this summer with Sunderland down south and the Warriors have good variation in their attack.

It really is shaping up to be a cracker and ahead of the match Knights head coach Steve Gilmour said:  “After a few weeks with their clubs, the guys are buzzing to come back together to play for the Knights.

“As well as George playing down south we have Peter Ross out with a knee injury, but we have strength in depth and the final XI that takes to the field on Thursday will want to keep up our good recent record in regional cricket.

“We have guys in-form and they will want to continue that this week.”

Warriors head coach Andy Tennant said:  “The guys enjoyed the matches they played together in June and availability for this big game is pretty good, so I am excited to see the team back together and representing the Warriors once again.

“There has been lots of cricket going on and many of the players will have big club matches and Scotland commitments to come in the next wee while, but for now all they are focused on is this game and winning a tournament for the region.”

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