Grange going for the treble
William Dick (CricketMedia Scotland)
GRANGE will today attempt to complete an unprecedented treble when they face derby rivals Heriot’s in an eagerly anticipated Scottish Cup Final.
The Stockbridge club already have the Eastern Premier and CS Grand Final titles in the trophy cabinet and start favourites to land the country’s premier knockout competition – especially since the match will take place on their own Portgower Place pitch after twice being postponed at Meikleriggs, Paisley.
Player-coach John Blain, whose five wickets helped Grange win the Grand Final seven days ago, said: “The big games keep coming for us and a cup final against your local rivals is pretty special.
“We beat them comfortably at their place in the league a few weeks ago but conditions played into our hands that day and we expect a much different game on Saturday.
“Our guys have got good momentum but we know Heriot’s will be up for this one and they have some dangerous players whom we respect.
“However, we do our homework well and hopefully our preparation will pay dividends.”
Blain also paid tribute to former Scotland batsman Neil McCallum who, having announced his retirement, will be bidding to mark his last competitive match by claiming a winner’s medal.
“Macca has been a fantastic servant to both Scotland and Grange – it’s not just what he does on the park but also his influence in the dressing room and the training ground. He has a great ability to pull people together,” added Blain.
If there is a huge incentive for Grange, the same is true for Heriot’s who will be attempting to lift the Scottish Cup for the first time since 2012 when they prevailed in another capital derby – against Watsonians.
The Goldenacre side will also participate in Murgitroyd T20 Cup Finals Day tomorrow (Sun) and club president Kevin McLaren, a survivor of the 2012 winning side, said: “It’s a huge weekend for the club with two titles up for grabs.
“Of course, we go into the game against Grange as underdogs but I have absolute confidence in the squad and fully believe we can win tomorrow.
“I don’t think the venue will make much difference as both clubs have been fully consulted by Cricket Scotland and our players were very comfortable playing at Portgower Place.”
As well as lifting the trophy with Heriot’s, McLaren memorably claimed a cup final hat-trick to help Greenock beat Carlton in 2007 and he added: “If any of our boys get the luck I got that day we’ll stand a good chance.”
Both sides are at full strength with Scotland pair Dylan Budge and Preston Mommsen returning for Grange while another former Scotland man, pace bowler Sean Weeraratna is available for Heriot’s.