GRANGE’S ambitious bid to bring former England star Ryan Sidebottom to Raeburn Place has been thrown into doubt.

The international seamer had been due to link up with the club for the second half of the Eastern Premiership campaign.

However, it has emerged that Sidebottom has been offered an extension to his contract as a red-ball bowling consultant with Surrey.

The connection with Grange had been made through player-coach John Blain, an ex team-mate of Sidebottom’s at Yorkshire.

Blain said: “Ryan’s deal with Surrey had been unexpectedly extended. It could be an issue - we will have to wait and see.”

Without Sidebottom, Grange cruised through the first half of the league programme with a 100 per cent record - and they will be expected to continue in the same vein today at the expense of Aberdeenshire at Mannofield.

Blain added: “We are a match for any team at the moment, while also bringing through our young talent from our Academy. This is very important to us.”

Chief chasers Heriot’s, who have lost only once, make the short but tricky trip to face RHC Lions.

Forfarshire - perhaps the surprise packages of the term thus far - are sitting handily in third place and ready to cash in on any slip-ups by the top two.

The Broughty Ferry boys opened their season in ideal fashion by crushing Watsonians, however skipper Umair Mohammed is expecting a much tougher examination in the return encounter at Myreside.

Mohammed said: “Sonians are always a handful, especially when they are on home turf.

“Since we beat them at Forthill they they have been gathering some momentum now with some good wins.

“But if we stick to our game plan we can come out on top again.”

Forfarshire will be without Scotland all-rounder Michael Leask, who is appearing for Tigers in the Norwegian T20 Premier tournament in Oslo.

Captain Marc Petrie is likely to be still on paternity absence from the Arbroath line up as they tackle Stew-Mel at Inverleith.

Arbroath bring back Craig Cameron, Craig Ramsay and Bryce Carnegie for Ryan Cameron, Craig Ross and Murray Clark

Stand-in skipper Ross McLean stated: “It was a disappointing performance against Heriots last week, especially with the bat.

“We will be looking to bounce back with a strong display.”
.
And winless Glenrothes will mean the start of the second half of the championship will signal a change of fortunes when they go into battle with Carlton at Grange Loan.