Ferguslie deserved champions
William Dick (CricketMedia Scotland)
WIN or lose, Ferguslie will today be confirmed as Western Premier champions for the first time following their clash with Greenock at Glenpark.
Such is their advantage at the top of the table that even a couple of losing bonus points will clinch the title, assuming second top Clydesdale take a maximum haul from their trip to Prestwick.
Ferguslie, though, are determined to do it in style and they know they will have to be at their best against a Greenock side for whom one more win could be enough to secure top flight survival.
The Paisley team are also angling for a bit of revenge after suffering their only defeat of the campaign to their Renfrewshire rivals back in June.
Skipper Jamie Carruthers said: “We’re just focusing on producing another good performance as we have all season.
“There is a lot at stake for both teams and we know we are in for another tough game against Greenock.”
The Glenpark men appear to have timed their bid to beat the drop to perfection, winning three of their last four completed matches, and a club spokesman said: “Our performance against Ferguslie was one of our best of the season and we will need another one like that.
“Ferguslie will be deserved winners of the title but we have beaten them once and would love to do it again. Recent wins mean it’s now in our own hands to stay in the premier division.”
Greenock are without Chris Hemspey but Harry Briggs returns while skipper Neil Flack, the league’s leading wicket-taker, will pit his wits against visiting opener Michael English, the division’s most prolific batsman.
Elsewhere, only victories will do for Dumfries and Ayr as they attempt to claw their way to top flight safety.
Indeed, it already looks like a lost cause for 2012 champions Dumfries who must beat Stirling at Nunholm and hope their relegation rivals slip up.
Ayr, who won the title in 2014, are also in grave danger but victory over Poloc at Cambusdoon would increase the pressure on Greenock.
Such an outcome would also drag Poloc into the dogfight and the Shawholm side are clearly going to play a part in determining the relegation issue since their remaining three matches are against the bottom three. Pace bowler Ihtesham Ul Haq remains unavailable for the visitors who are also without Lewis James.
Pride is at stake as outgoing champions Prestwick entertain a Clydesdale team who, despite a transitional season, look likely to finish as runners-up.
Defeat for Prestwick would pave the way for the winners of the Hamilton Crescent clash between West of Scotland and Uddingston to move into the top four.