IT is almost a generation since the Lanarkshire clash between Drumpellier and Uddingston would have been regarded as the match of the day, even on the west side of the country, but this Langloan encounter certainly fits the bill.
The pair have been widely tipped to make an impact this season and it is Drumpellier, recently the poor relation of the neighbours, who have made ripples so far, especially with their Scottish Cup win over Watsonian.
Skipper Graeme McLaren could pay no higher compliment to his current crop than by saying: “This is the strongest looking Drumps team I’ve been part of. Our variations in the bowling department could be key.” McLaren has also highlighted the influence of player-coach Muhammad Ramzan, who has instilled a competitive attitude at the Coatbridge club.
However, the home skipper knows they face a stiff test against an Uddingston side boosted by the availability of Calum MacLeod. MacLeod has been deemed surplus to requirements by the international selectors this weekend and will no doubt be in the mood to make a point, while Sammy Zia also returns. Gordon Shaw is unavailable for the hosts. Uddingston skipper Bryan Clarke said: “The average score at Langloan this season has been about 80 so it’s not going to be easy but I’m confident we’ll adapt.”
Ayr, at home to West of Scotland, have named the same side that would have been in action last week. The clash will test West’s claims to have genuine title aspirations.
Last week’s washout means Renfrew have a home match with which to herald their arrival in the top flight, but they will be up against it when Clydesdale come calling.
Stirling County may hold ground advantage, but Dumfries – under new skipper Scott Beveridge – will undoubtedly start as favourites at New Williamfield. However, much will depend on the toss, with the team taking first knock likely to struggle.