Eastern Premier: Benny McGill bounces back

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Experienced bowler Benny McGill is back in the Arbroath line-up as the leaders return to CSL Eastern Premier Division action this afternoon with a match against in-form Watsonians.

After a home defeat by Carlton on 15 June many may have expected Arbroath’s players’ heads to drop, but they followed it up with a victory over Barclays Grange to round off the first half of the league season. They have then added three Scottish Cup wins over Forfarshire, Kelburne and Stirling County to secure a last-eight spot.

In those three cup matches former skipper Fraser Burnett was the man in form with 181 runs while the bowling attack continues to work well as a unit.

McGill was rested last week and comes back in for Darren Spink. Arbroath captain Marc Petrie said: “I have been pleased with the response since the Carlton defeat when we underperformed and now we just have to keep our focus and work hard.”

Watsonians are in sixth place, but are in better shape travelling to Lochlands than they were when they lost to the same opponents on the opening day of the campaign. Indeed they have won five matches in a row in league and cup having seen off Stoneywood-Dyce, Heriot’s, Freuchie, Weirs and Drumpellier in recent weeks. They give a debut to all-rounder Brendan O’Connell in this one. Andrew Chalmers also joins the side. In their last five wins key man Stuart Chalmers has found his form, especially with the ball, taking 19 wickets.

Elsewhere today second placed Carlton travel across Edinburgh to take on SMRH at Inverleith. On paper it would look like a fairly comfortable win should be on the cards for the visitors given the form they are in and the fact that SMRH are bottom of the table. However, any team with the experienced Cedric English at the helm cannot be discounted and he believes his charges have a chance of staying up come the end of the season.

He said: “I have been delighted with the way the guys have been training and the way they have been learning week on week in a higher division. We will give it our best shot.”

Third placed Grange head to Aberdeenshire having won the Murgitroyd Masterton T20 event final against Heriot’s last week.

Aberdeenshire, in fourth, have Neil McRae back from coaching Austria while Chris Venske is on holiday. The teams meet again tomorrow in the Scottish Cup last eight.

Stoneywood-Dyce go into their home clash with Heriot’s buoyed by memories of victory over the same opponents on the opening day. For the hosts, skipper Stuart Coertzer returns having missed last week’s Scottish Cup loss at Ayr.