Lloyds TSB Scotland league preview
David Kelso Cricket Media Scotland
Match of the day:
West of Scotland v Clydesdale (at Titwood)
Dale will be without cultured batsman Rohit Ralhan for the rest of the campaign as he returns to India for a family wedding - and possibly his own in the near future, if his mother gets her own way! Manager Mike Stanger said: "We would love to have him back some day, but we would have to go through the qualification process all over again, so a return is probably unlikely." Also missing is skipper Qasim Sheikh, with Mohammed Ali and Hugh Fulton stepping up from the seconds.
Struggling West are without Stuart Legget for the match which will be staged at Titwood through a fixture reshuffle. Captain Greg Watson admitted: "Time is running out for us and we need points - not only from this match, but particularly the next two against Ayr and Poloc, who are also in the bottom half of the table."
Prediction: More woe for West.
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Heriot's v Grange
The visitors hand debuts to the young Hunt brothers, Olly and Sam - both Scotland age-group stars. Olly, 18, is a promising off-spinner, while Sam, only 15, will take the gloves as Simon Smith nurses a badly bruised thumb. Also back in action for Grange are Stuey Davidson and Nick Peet as Neil McCallum is on Scotland duty in Ireland.
Heriot's badly in need of a win to ease their relegation fears, are expected to be along usual lines.
Prediction: Grange at a canter.
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Greenock v Ferguslie
Feegie skipper Stuart Kennedy was furious with his side's display in their home Scottish Cup defeat to Carlton last Sunday and he is demanding a much more solid approach at Glenpark.
He said: "Inept is far too kind a word for the attitude of our batsmen. They just gave up the ghost when under pressure and we know that if we don't improve, we won't stay at the top of the league."
The Paisley side will be without Omer Hussain and Majid Haq, who are on Scotland business along with Greenock men Craig Wright and Fraser Watts.
Prediction: Greenock to edge it.
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Uddingston v Carlton
Both teams are still strongly in contention for the title and there will be little to choose between them at Bothwell Castle Policies.
Uddy pulled off a remarkable victory over Clydesdale in a low-scorer at Titwood last weekend, while Carlton will be aiming to maintain the momentum from their cup success at Meikleriggs.
Prediction: Home advantage to count.
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Ayr v Poloc
Poloc are boosted by the return of Dan Walton for only his second appearance of the season. Spokesman Keith Young said: "We hope Dan will strengthen the batting, which again showed its frailties in both matches against Grange and West."
Ayr are due to me without skipper Craig Hunter, prevented by the weather from serving his one-match suspension.
Prediction: Ayr force.
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Renfrew v Freuchie:
Freuchie spokesman David Christie admitted to mixed feelings as his side prepared for today's crucial clash at the notorious King George V Park.
The Fifers were ousted from the British Village Cup last weekend and now only have promotion to aim for.
And Christie declared: "In some ways we are very disappointed to be out of all the knock-out competitions, but the advantage is that we can now concentrate fully on league matters.
"We are still in with a decent shout of reaching the top flight and the fact that we still have the leading two teams, Watsonians and Aberdeenshire, still to come to our place gives us genuine hope of achieving something special over the last few weeks of the campaign."
Turning to this weekend's challenge against struggling Renfrew, Christie went on: "We have never been to their ground, but we have heard a few pretty negative remarks about it.
"We can't afford to dwell on how good or bad the pitch and outfield might be - we simply have to focus on our performance and get the cricket basics right. If we do that, then the result should fall our way."
Prediction: Freuchie on fire
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Stirling County v Edinburgh
County will be aiming to shake off the memory of their surprise home loss at the hands of second-top Dunfermline.
And they ought to be strong enough - physically and mentally - to brush aside the challenge of Edinburgh CC at New Williamfield.
Skipper Phil Rees will be looking for more solid batting from Ian McGhee and Grant Robbins, but also a more meaningful contribution from the rest of the team.
Prediction: County back on tracks.