Cricket: Ayr ready for West this time
League hostilities recommence today after a three-week hiatus of incessant rain and abandoned Scottish Cup ties, as frontrunners West of Scotland seek to build on their slender lead at the top with the visit of Ayr.
“West have the best bowling attack in the league in my view,” insists Ayr skipper Mark Renny, “but we can take plenty of heart from the fact that we’re a much stronger team now than when they beat us by eight wickets on the opening day.”
Renny misses out due to holidays, and is replaced by Dave Pinder, with Andi McElnea assuming the captaincy. Powerful West again go in at full-strength, propelled by that much-vaunted seam attack of Gavin Smith, Dave McNulty, Ian Cran, and evergreen ex-Saltire John Blain.
Hard on West’s heels are early- season leaders Dumfries, who host struggling Greenock. “Hopefully we can restart post-split just as well as we kicked off the season,” says Nunholm skipper Stuart Corbett-Byers. ‘We fully expect this second half to be far harder now that other teams know our various strengths and weaknesses, and we’ll be looking to our more experienced campaigners to lead from the front.”
Greenock are still seeking an imposing score from pro Mpho Sekhoto, and were further jolted by last week’s 138-run Scottish Cup home thrashing by Falkland.
Clydesdale look the most likely challengers to the top two, but face a tricky away trip to a young, highly capable Stirling County, who will have to do without emergent seam bowler George Buchanan-Smith, off to Australia for a year. Dale lose star all-rounder Majid Haq, en route to Trent Bridge on Saltires duty, but long-term injury victim Saafi Sharif has a second comeback game.
Deposed Scottish Cup holders Uddingston welcome Drumpellier to Bothwell for the first Lanarkshire league derby between the two for 12 seasons. Uddingston are without key personnel in Calum Macleod and Gavin Bradley. The Langloan side, bottom having completed just two league matches, are “delighted by the prospect of a game” according to skipper Graeme McLaren. They have everyone available for the first time.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North