Eastern Premier: Key players back in mix for Arbroath

Arbroath have key men Ross McLean and Calvin Burnett back for the clash of the top two in the CSL Eastern Premier Division this afternoon when they welcome Aberdeenshire to Lochlands.

The match, that will go a long way to deciding where the regional trophy ends up later this month, looks set to be a cracker, with big players in good form for both sides.

All-rounder McLean heads into the contest fresh from a week in Holland when he managed to skipper Scotland under-19s into the 2014 World Cup and will be buzzing with confidence.

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And Aberdeenshire pro Harshay Cooray has scored 205 runs in his last three league innings against Barclays Grange, Stoneywood-Dyce and Carlton, while he also blasted 115 against Grange in the Scottish Cup just weeks ago.

Arbroath head into this one on top of the table, but after a mixed weekend last time out.

Last Saturday, they comprehensively defeated Stoneywood-Dyce in the league before losing out agonisingly by one wicket to Grange in the Scottish Cup semis 24-hours later.

Captain Marc Petrie, with Saltires man Burnett available to lead his bowling attack, said: “Last Sunday was hard to take, but, in many ways, it will spur us on even more now to go on and win the title.”

Aberdeenshire have now won four league matches in a row and have Tony McKenna and Callum Martin available once again.

Third-placed Carlton have this week been celebrating their 150th anniversary and will look to bring it to an end with victory over Watsonians at Grange Loan.

The hosts will be without Fraser Watts, who is at a wedding, but their Scotland under-19 contingent of Chayank Gosain and Kyle Stirling return, as do skipper Preston Mommsen and fellow Saltire Hamish Gardiner.

The visitors make the short trip across Edinburgh on the back of five league wins on the spin.

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Barclays Grange’s title hopes took a big blow with defeat to ‘Sonians last week and today they host Heriot’s. Iain Worth and Gregor Maiden are both injured and rested while Tom Sole makes his debut and Gordon Goudie and Simon Smith are back from various Scotland duties.

At Inverleith, the bottom two – SMRH and Stoneywood-Dyce – meet in a match that will have a big bearing on relegation.

The hosts will be without vice-skipper Greg Bissett, who scored a half century last week.