Ti­tle destiny in Grange’s hands as SNCL reaches end of the road

Forthill win will en­sure an­other crown

The Scotsman - - Sfl In Focus - gary HEatLy

GRANGE skip­per San­jay Pa­tel and his play­ers know that a vic­tory at For­farshire’s Forthill ground this af­ter­noon will see them clinch their sixth SNCL Premier Di­vi­sion ti­tle since 2000.

And Pa­tel, who cap­tained the Ed­in­burgh club to the tro­phy two years ago, be­lieves it will be tes­ta­ment to his play­ers’ bat­tling spirit if they can come out on top af­ter an in­trigu­ing cam­paign.

At the start of the sea­son they were short of bowlers and with­out a pro af­ter an in­jury to War­ren McSkim­ming, but they knuck­led down and won their first six matches and have not looked back.

Pa­tel said: “We are fo­cused on fin­ish­ing the job now. the guys have been bril­liant for me all sea­son and al­though we know For­farshire is a tough place to go we are con­fi­dent we can com­plete the job.”

Win­ning the tro­phy would also be ex­tra spe­cial for Pa­tel, whose fa­ther passed away just days be­fore their sec­ond match of the sum­mer at Grange Loan against Carl­ton.

to­day Grange are at full strength with a late de­ci­sion be­ing taken on whether Giles Holmes trav­els as his wife is due to give birth soon. If the all-rounder does not head north, young South African Ian Worth will step up.

Mean­while, chal­lengers Wat­so­ni­ans know a win over Dun­fermline Knights at McKane Park cou­pled with a Grange loss would hand them their first SNCL Premier Di­vi­sion crown.

And cap­tain Steve Paige has backed stand-in wick­et­keeper Ben Fox to per­form well in the ab­sence of regu- lar gloves­man un­avail­able.

Fox has not played in the top flight yet this term, but played two matches in 2009 and is on a high hav­ing clinched the East League Di­vi­sion One ti­tle with the club’s sec­ond XI last week­end.

Paige said: “Ben is more than ca­pa­ble of step­ping up to this level and it is an ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity for him. We also have Ryan Flan­ni­gan back from Scot­land duty, which is a big boost to our bat­ting line-up.

“We can­not think about what is go­ing on else­where, we just have to con­cen­trate on mak­ing sure we all work hard and play to a high stan­dard to get a win against Dun­fermline and see what hap­pens.

“the squad has grown in con­fi­dence over the last few months and, what­ever hap­pens to­day, we know that the club is head­ing in the right di­rec­tion.”

the hosts have won their last three matches and look set to fin­ish in third place, a great achieve­ment for a pro­moted side.

Else­where in the top flight this af­ter­noon Ud­dingston warm up for next week­end’s Scot­tish Cup fi­nal against Stirling County with a home match against bot­tom club Greenock.

For the hosts Sri Lankan pro Ras Priyadar­shana needs just three runs to fol­low team-mate Paul Hoff­man over the 500-run mark for the sea­son, while the lat­ter needs two scalps for 30 wick­ets.

Greenock skip­per Kevin McLaren will be look­ing for­ward to the end of a tough cam­paign, but will have been pleased with his side’s ef­fort in re­cent weeks.

Carl­ton’s play­ers head to Aberdeen­shire with thoughts of what might have been in their minds. Four de­feats from




is the end of July un­til 15 Au­gust dented their ti­tle chances but, on the plus side, they have their Scot­land con­tin­gent back for the test­ing Man­nofield trip.

Cly­des­dale take on McCrea FS West with both sides feel­ing that they have un­der­achieved in 2010. there is an in­cen­tive for home pro­fes­sional Kamran Sa­jid, who needs 61 runs to reach 800 for the league sea­son, while West cap­tain Ian Young’s eter­nal en­thu­si­asm will keep his sec­ond­bot­tom side go­ing un­til the end ahead of league re­con­struc­tion.


avic­tory at For­farshire and a sixth SNCL ti­tle win since 2000 would be a great end to an emo­tional sea­son for grange cap­tion San­jay Pa­tel

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