Watsonians braced for stern challenge in Cricket Scotland title showdown
WHEN Dumfries and Watsonians played each other in a Scottish Cup group stage encounter at a freezing cold Nunholm back in April, a rematch between the two to see who would be crowned Cricket Scotland national champions for 2012 in September was far from their minds.
However, that is the reality this afternoon at Grange Loan in Edinburgh after Dumfries clinched the Cricket Scotland Western Premier Division top spot seven days ago and Watsonians did the same in the Eastern version.
In the cup tie at the start of the season Watsonians, who went on to reach the final, were victorious by 56 runs.
That result will have little bearing on today’s proceedings with a lot of water having passed under the bridge since then, although Dumfries bowler Pat Druce will look to repeat the form that helped him take five wickets that day – and likewise Watsonians batsman Ewan Chalmers, who scored 90.
For both sides a key to their success over the last few months has been their teamwork. They may not have the big names that others in their respective divisions do, but they have managed to win matches that perhaps they should have lost.
Dumfries’ prime example of this came three weeks ago when they needed 13 off the last over at Uddingston.
Druce hit two boundaries and a single before Jerry Goodin hit a four off the only ball that he faced to see them home to victory.
For Watsonians they were up against it chasing 287 to win against Heriot’s on their home patch in May only for 136 from now-departed pro Jean Symes and calmness by last wicket pair Dewald Nel and Pete Legget to see them win from the second last ball.
Ahead of this afternoon’s match, Dumfries’ Stuart Corbett-Byers said: “The game against Watsonians is being described as the biggest game in our history – or, at least, the biggest game in our history since last Saturday.
“The boys are looking forward to giving it a go with the pressure off after the title decider last weekend, when there was a possibility we could have lost top spot to miss out on the Western Premier Division title. Win or lose it has been a great season for the club, but a win would make it even better.”
Key players for them will be Chris Bellwood, who has scored over 300 league runs in this rain-affected summer and Scott Beveridge, who took 20 league wickets.
Watsonians bring in Andrew Fraser-Harris for the injured Dewald Nel as they look to bounce back from last Sunday’s Scottish Cup final loss to Heriot’s.
Skipper Stuart Chalmers said: “The Heriot’s match was disappointing, but we have had a good season and we really want to cap it off with a national title. We know what a good side Dumfries can be, but we are ready and excited for this one.”
The match begins at noon.
Elsewhere, a three-way battle for a place in the Cricket Scotland Eastern First Division in 2013 – featuring Glenrothes, Dundee HSFP and Edinburgh Accies – begins today at Falkland’s Scroggie Park when East League One champions Glenrothes take on Strathmore and Perthshire Cricket League Premier Division champions Dundee HSFP.
Tomorrow will see the winner take on Accies, who finished bottom of the Cricket Scotland Eastern First Division and will be fighting to preserve their status.
Glenrothes skipper Ian Dale, who has been involved with the club for three decades, said: “To claim the spot would be a massive achievement.”
Finally, WDCU Premier Division champions Hillhead today take on Kelburne, who finished bottom of the Cricket Scotland Western First Division, to play for a place in the latter division next summer.
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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