Cricket: Grange are just happy to have a home for the day

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GRANGE have been dealt a boost ahead of the exciting Cricket Scotland Eastern Premier Division run-in with the news that their encounter with Arbroath tomorrow is due to be played at Portgower Place.

Flooding at the famous Stockbridge ground earlier in the summer has meant that the club had to relocate home matches to Fettes College and Newfield in both league and cup recently.

However, head groundsman Lee Spendlove and his team have done a power of work over recent weeks and the first XI are set to play just their second home match there this term.

So far in 2012, home encounters with Stoneywood-Dyce, Watsonians and Carlton in the league and Renfrew, Fauldhouse and Uddingston in the Scottish Cup have been lost.

In the only first XI match to have beaten the weather, opening batsman Gregor Maiden hit 85 as his side defeated Forfarshire back in June.

It is perhaps then no great surprise that the former Scotland man is itching to get back there with the leaders.

He said: “It is always a pleasure for us to play there and we are all looking forward to it. What has happened this term has been frustrating with the weather and, in a way, with three league matches left it feels like the season has just started.

“Nevertheless, we have been in pretty good form all season except for the Watsonians match a few weeks ago and we are now focused on the run-in and winning our last three matches to top the division.”

This season, Maiden has been opening the batting with former skipper Sanjay Patel. The partnership seems to have brought out the best in the experienced duo and they give a solid base to an exciting looking line-up that includes Scotland man Ryan Flannigan, captain Neil McCallum and Stuart Moffat.

“Myself and Sanjay have played in the same team for a number of years and I think our styles complement each other well and hopefully we can play our part tomorrow,” Maiden explained.

In terms of the bowling attack, although Stuart Davidson will be missing tomorrow there are plenty of options.

Seamer Raj Routray has had a great first season since arriving from Watsonians with him 
getting good back up from George Munsey, Ryan Flannigan, Andrew Brock, Maiden and McCallum.

Will Edwards is back in the seconds, so former SMRH spinner Brock returns to the starting line-up against Arbroath along with teenager Duncan Player.

Player has been involved with the Scotland under-17 team this week against Guernsey in 

On Sunday, Grange are also in action in the CS Trophy semi-final up at Aberdeenshire, and both matches will allow Arun Pillai to show off his all-round abilities.

Tomorrow, in the absence of Simon Smith, who is helping coach the Scotland under-19s in Australia, he will keep wicket, and 24 hours later in the north east he is set to be part of the bowling attack. The return to a spinning role should hold no fear for him given that he has bowled regularly for the second XI this summer and took five wickets against Glenrothes, including a hat-trick, in May.

Elsewhere in the top flight in the East tomorrow, second-placed Watsonians will be looking to recover from last week’s loss to Carlton when they host Stoneywood-Dyce at Myreside.

Third-placed Carlton are on the road to Mannofield to play Aberdeenshire, with Heriot’s hosting Forfarshire.

In the Cricket Scotland Eastern First Division SMRH will look to keep their title charge going at home to RH Corstorphine with West Lothian at Freuchie, Edinburgh Accies away at Falkland and Fauldhouse taking on Penicuik.

In the regional leagues, Carlton II host Dunfermline looking to keep their East One title hopes alive with just two matches remaining.

On Sunday at Goldenacre, Heriot’s take on Carlton in the Scottish Cup semi-finals with Watsonians at The Tryst playing Stenhousemuir in the other last four tie.