West Premier cricket: Clydesdale set the pace but take nothing for granted
CAN anyone catch Clydesdale? That’s the challenge facing the chasing pack with just four rounds of matches to go.
The Titwood frontrunners have been over the course before, and welcome today’s visitors Uddingston very much in the ascendancy, having wrecked the Villagers’ West League Cup hopes with a 23-run victory in Thursday’s semi-final. They also impressed with 261 for two in last week’s abandoned match at Ayr.
Titwood spokesman Colin Mitchell nevertheless sounds a note of caution: “We realise our lead is slender. We’ve only played five matches and I think the lack of games will see three or four teams still in the hunt right down to the wire.” Mercurial Uddy, Scottish Cup winners for the past two years, have had a disappointing season, but on their day remain a match for any side with pro Ras Priyadashrana in prime form. Keeper-batsman Kas Farid returns for Dale.
Second-placed Dumfries are unchanged for the visit of Ayr. “Against Stirling last week we were starting to play the way we know we can,” said Nunholm stalwart Stuart Corbett-Byers, “only for rain to ruin our efforts. But we’re up for a big push till the end of the season.” Mark Renny’s fifth-placed Ayr make just one change with Richard Borland returning for youngster Calum Gordon.
Resurgent Drumpellier, the league’s form team, could well prove to be the championship-chase dark horses. Three successive victories have seen them rise from bottom to fourth in under a month, and today they host struggling Greenock. Skipper Graeme McLaren is taking nothing for granted though: “They turned us over at Glenpark, and in Richie Berrington they possess a match-winner. Asad Mohammed and Ally Rawlinson have been doing well for us and we firmly believe a win will give us a great shot at the title.”
Time is running out for Greenock, but belated wins could yet see them stave off the spectre of relegation.
Two defeats in their last three matches have dented the title aspirations of West of Scotland, but they would remain in the mix with victory today against second-bottom Stirling County. County skipper Phil Rees acknowledges the potency of the West seam attack, and makes two changes with Obaid Hameed and Ian Shaw coming in for Ruckman Hewage and George Smith while West are still without Scotland U19 starlet Andrew Umeed.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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