Western Premier: Dumfries ‘at season crossroads’

SCOTT Beveridge, the Dumfries captain, gets straight to the point when assessing the importance his side’s clash with Uddingston at Nunholm.

It is a case of the reigning champions against the league leaders and Beveridge said: “This will be the game that decides our season. Uddy are very strong this season and we can’t afford to fall two games behind them. We have a few guys in good form and will need everyone to perform at their best to get the win.”

Beveridge’s Uddingston counterpart, Bryan Clarke, places similar importance on the fixture, saying: “Every game is a big one for us at the moment and this could be our biggest test yet. Dumfries are a very good side so we’ll need to be at our best if we want to get a result.”

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Dumfries have fitness worries over the experienced Pat Druce, while David Davidson will continue to deputise for Robert McBride. Nick Martin is unavailable for the visitors, but Derek Allan and Ricky Bawa return.

At the other end of the table, bottom club Ayr host second bottom Stirling in what looks like a must-win match for both sides. Neither team has managed a win yet so, with the Irwin Iffla Trophy also up for grabs, at least one of the pair should have something to celebrate tonight.

Meanwhile, any fixture between West of Scotland and Clydesdale is eagerly anticipated, but this is one of the most important Glasgow derbies of recent times, as the city’s “big two” are in danger of becoming detached from the leaders.

West may already have too much to do to catch the top three, while Dale can ill-afford to fall further adrift.

Colin Mitchell, the Clydesdale manager, summed-up the importance when he said: “Both sides will probably feel it’s a must-win game.”

Gavin Smith, the talented young West bowler, returns for the home side, who also welcome back Andrew Umeed, the Scotland Lions batsman.

The visitors are boosted by the return of Saltires star Majid Haq, but Kasim Farid and Sam Page are out. Last week’s rain frustrated Renfrew and Drumpellier, denying both sides the chance to play games they thought could be won.

Victory today has become even more imperative as a result, with Renfrew in danger of being overtaken by one of the bottom two, while second-placed Drumpellier lost ground on league leaders Uddingston who did manage to play – and win – last Saturday.

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Sai Majeed’s side believe they can upset any team on their day, though the Renfrew skipper insists key moments must go his team’s way.

Drumpellier counterpart Graeme McLaren is unavailable but former Renfrew players Muhammad Ramzan and Imran Adrees will both be keen to do well against their old club.