WITH Ferguslie apparently charging to the Western Premier title, the battle for survival takes centre stage as Ayr, Greenock and Dumfries step-up their dogfight to beat the drop.

It looks like two of these three will be heading down but all of them could yet suck more teams into the scrap at the bottom and that is the case at Hamilton Crescent this afternoon where West of Scotland entertain Ayr.

West eased their own worries last week with a thrilling one-wicket win at Greenock and a further victory today would all-but ensure top flight cricket.

However, Ayr, having gone rock-bottom as a result of last week’s defeat to Ferguslie, are ready for the battle ahead.

They go into action without their honeymooning skipper Andi McElnea but the captain is confident his men can get the necessary results during what is sure to be a tense run-in.

He said: “We’ve got six huge games left this season starting at West.

“We haven’t quite got over the line in two or three matches that could have gone either way - that’s why we are where we are.

“However, I do feel that we have the quality in the side to get some important results over the next few weeks and avoid the drop.

“We need big performances from key members of the squad.”

West counterpart Gregg Watson has little intention of looking over his shoulder and said: “We’ve been looking up the way all season as we know how well we can play as a team.

“Four of our last six games are at home so hopefully we can push for a top four finish.”

West are boosted by the return of fast bowler Robbie McCallum following a spell with Grange.

Greenock must shrug-off the disappointment of their loss to West when they head down the coast to face outgoing champions Prestwick.

They travel without Harry Briggs, Jon Hempsey and Sailesh Prabhu but Chris Hempsey returns along with Scotland U15 star Sean Fischer-Keogh.

A club spokesman said: “We can’t dwell on last week but we have to take the lessons from it and concentrate on trying to get the win we need against Prestwick.”

Dumfries travel to face Clydesdale in high spirits following an excellent team performance against Prestwick but the home side, lying second and still with an outside chance of lifting the title, could welcome back Angus Guy following his superb double century for Scotland U17s in midweek.

It is so tight in mid-table that the winner of Uddingston’s clash with Poloc could jump several places while, despite their comfortable lead, Ferguslie will take nothing for granted when in-form Stirling, aiming for a fifth straight win, visit Meikleriggs.