Week 1 Preview

The 2014/15 season of the EKPL kicks off this week with the group stages of the League Cup.

The tie of the night goes to the Group D match with back to back holders Hustlers taking on old rivals Top Guns. League Champions Hustlers will be looking to get their campaign off to a good start as they bid to be the first team to win the trophy three times in a row, however it won't be an easy ride against the Top Guns, who always seems to get a positive result against Stevie Kelly's team at least once a season.
Key player: Stevie McCrimmond - This match could hinge on his performance as he will no doubt have a point to prove and will look to turn it on against his old team.

In section A, group favourites Murray travel to face the Cuesters. The Murray pushed for the title until the last couple of weeks last season, and despite losing one or two players, they will be favourites to topple the Cuesters. Darren Greer's team won't bother with the underdog tag however, after upsetting the odds on a few occasions last year. They will be especially hoping new signing Tam McCluskey (previously with the Buck's Head) inspires them to a win in this one.

Elsewhere, the EKPL welcomes the Hotshots back in to the league with Titch taking the helm once again. Not much is know about their full squad at this point, with a few old faces rumoured to be coming back into the league, but their experience will no doubt see them compete closely against the Aces. The Aces have lost their talisman Stevie Buchanan this season, and may need to look to replace him if their are to maintain their mid table status.

In Group B, league runner's up Entertainers will be out for revenge against the Hunters side which effectively cost them the league last year. With just three games remaining and three points ahead, the 'tainers could even afford a draw at home against the Hunters to set them up for their third title in a row, however Chris Main's side upset all the odds and pulled out an 8-6 win. It was the second year in a row the Hunters had a major say in the title, after they upset the Hustlers the year previous.

Elsewhere the Greenhills look to blood new signings Tam McGuire and Brian Dempster as they take on the Tower. Having finished runner's up in consecutive seasons in this tournament, the 'hills will be desperate to break the hoodoo and finally bring some major silverware back to the Greenhills for the first time.

Group C, sees a closer runner for the tie of the night when the Diamonds take on Club 72. The story in this one will see ex diamonds Jamie "Jamie" Thom, and joint POTY winner Lee Crawford returning to their old stomping ground for the first time. After some close battles last year, it remains to be seen if the Diamonds can maintain their consistency after losing two of their key players.

Another team having lost two key players is the Shooters. Despite home advantage, they face a tough task against an always improving Langlands team. With two other tough teams in the group, this is a must win for both teams to have a chance of going through.

Full fixtures as follows:

Group A
Cuesters v Murray
Murray Hotshots v Whitehills Aces

Group B
Entertainers v Hunters
Tower v Greenhills

Group C
Greenhills Diamonds v Club 72
Greenhills Shooters v Langlands Legion

Group D
Hustlers v Top Guns
Team X v Greenhills Sharks

Week 37 Preview

This week sees a huge week in the EKPL and could be the week that decides the destination of the 2013/14 title.

In the game of the week, the Hustlers travel to play Club 72 knowing that a win will keep them top of the table with just three fixtures to play. Stevie Kelly's team will be focused knowing that the Entertainers slip up two weeks ago against the Hunters has opened the door to them winning their first title in 3 years, but they will have a tough task against fourth placed Club 72. Despite being five points ahead of the Diamonds at this late stage in the season, Club 72 have not yet secured fourth place. With the Diamonds having a week off, the 72 boys will be looking to wrap things up with an upset over the Hustlers.

The Entertainers will be kicking themselves after their last fixture ended in defeat against a spirited Hunters side, however all is not lost in the title race just yet as they sit level with the Hustlers on points. They are 16 frames worse off however, which makes a large victory in this weeks fixture against second bottom Shooters of the utmost importance. With the Hustlers playing the Club, the Entertainers will be looking to make inroads into the frame difference deficit to set up a nail biting end to the season.

A defeat against the Hustlers in their last fixture essentially ended the Murray's title challenge, as they now site a point adrift having played one game more. Never ones to give up however, the Murray boys will be looking to win their reaming three fixtures to put maximum pressure on the contenders above, starting with the Ospreys.

The Greenhills may be feeling the heat from the Hunters who are now just three points behind their sixth spot after last week. The 'hills face a tricky away tie against John Burn's Cuesters side who are in a five way dog fight in the bottom half of the table.

The Hunters face a similar task as they take on Langlands in a local derby. Chris Main's team shocked the EKPL last week defeating the Entertainers, just as they had last year at this stage when they upset the Hustlers. They have gotten themselves in a good position in the fight for sixth now, however last weeks effort will be for naught if they don't gain maximum points in this one.

The Tower and Top Guns will battle it out with both teams desperately needing a win in their respective quests. Last time round, this fixture ended in a stalemate, and there's much to suggest this could end the same.

The Aces are currently leading the way in the scrap for 9th over the other four teams, and a big win over the Baptists to improve their frame difference could be worth an extra point come the season.

Full fixtures as follows:

Club 72 - Hustlers
Cuesters - Greenhills
Greenhills Shooters - Entertainers
Hunters - Langlands
Murray - Ospreys
Tower - Top Guns
Whitehills Aces - The Baptists

Week 34 Preview

Tonight sees two massive games effecting both the title race and the teams battling for fourth spot. In the first, league leaders the Entertainers will take on Club 72 who are five points clear in fourth. Both teams will be gunning hard for a win which could see them all but seal their respective spots if results elsewhere are kind. The Entertainers fought to a draw last week against rivals Murray, however they will be disappointed to have not gotten over the line at 7-5 up which would have afforded them some breathing room in the title race. Instead, they'll be under pressure in this one to gain the three points. The Club come into this match in a rich vein of form, undefeated in seven, and will be looking to put in another top performance to give them confidence ahead of the cup tie next week which again sees the teams compete.

In the second match, the Hustlers face a local derby match against Marty Thom's fifth placed Diamonds. The draw between the Entertainers and Murray last week will have galvanised Stevie Kelly's team, knowing that they are now just three points behind the leaders and right back in the title race. With a much better frame difference, the Hustlers could return to the top of the table with a win coupled with a 'tainers loss. The Diamonds will have other ideas however, and will know that this is a big chance to turn the heat up on the Club if they can pull off a win. They've been rather up and down in recent weeks however, and they'll know they'll have to be at their best if they are to take anything from this one.

The Murray will be reeling from last week's disappointment against the Entertainers, having led 5-4 at one point in the match. They will have took some comfort in the fight back which saw them claim a draw, however they now find themselves a point off the lead having played a match more. They will be favourites tonight against the Langlands, however with Davie Bonners team improving every week, the Murray will definitely have their hands full.

With six games to go, the Baptists visit the Shooters in a match which may decide who avoids the wooden spoon. The Shooters are six points ahead currently, and you have to imagine that if the Baptists can't gain their first win in this one, it just won't happen at all for them this season.

The Hunters take on Greenhills in what should be a tough battle for both teams. Chris Main's side have shot up the table in recent weeks and are now gunning for sixth place. The 'hills meanwhile have been on a slide, winning just once since mid February, and have let their lead slip leaving both teams sitting level on 33 points. With games running out fast, this one is a real six pointer.

Elsewhere, the Cuesters face the Aces, and the Ospreys take a trip to the Tower. With just four points separating the four sides, these will are must win matches for all involved to ensure they maximize their finishing place come June.

Full fixtures as follows:

Club 72 - Entertainers
Cuesters - Whitehills Aces
Greenhills Diamonds - Hustlers
Greenhills Shooters - The Baptists
Hunters - Greenhills
Murray - Langlands
Tower - Ospreys

Week 33 Preview

Tonight sees one of the biggest games of the season with a clash between title rivals Entertainers and the Murray. A narrow win for the 'tainers over the Diamonds coupled with the Murray dropping points to the Greenhills has saw a massive swing in points in the title race, leaving the Entertainers a point clear with a game in hand. The Murray will have their backs against the wall in this one, knowing that if they are to claim their first ever title, nothing less than a win is required. The Entertainers will have the comfort of knowing they still have a game in hand are are a healthy five points ahead of the Hustlers, however they will be craving the win which would effectively be a knock-out blow to the Murray. This one is really is anyone's call, with both teams having recorded heavy wins over each other in the RB cup, and having drawn in the league early.

The Hustlers will be watching on with keen eyes, hoping the Murray can do them a favour and blow the title race wide open again with a win. However they'll need to ensure they gain maximum points from their match against the Tower before they start a run of three tough fixtures, including their own clash with the Murray.

A big win over the Baptists last week saw Club 72 increase their lead in fourth to five points, however they face a much stiffer challenge this week with an away tie to the Greenhills. The 'hills currently lie someways back in sixth, however they have proved they can be a match for anyone so far this season having had positive results against the top three so far this season.

An 8-6 defeat to the Entertainers last week has seen the Diamonds slip five points behind Club 72 in the race for fourth, however they'll be hoping they can get back to winning ways when they visit Langlands. Davie Bonner's team, however, are coming off one of their best ever results in a massive 10-4 away victory in the Tower and will no doubt be full of confidence going into this one.

The Hunters are sitting clear in seventh spot one point ahead of the chasing pack for a top half finish. They'll be looking to continue putting pressure on the teams below with a win away to the struggling Baptists.

Just one point behind in eighth, the Top Guns face a tricky test against the Cuesters. Last time out Andy Mason's side narrowly won the fixture 8-6, and all signs point to this being another close match.

The Aces fought to a draw against the Hunters last week but will be looking to go one better tomorrow with a victory at home to the Shooters. The three teams immediately above them could all be viewed as second favourites in their respective matches, and the Aces will be hoping by Tuesday night they have leap-frogged them into tenth.

Full fixtures as follows:

Entertainers - Murray
Greenhills - Club 72
Hustlers - Tower
Langlands - Greenhills Diamonds
The Baptists - Hunters
Top Guns - Cuesters
Whitehills Aces - Greenhills Shooters

Week 32 Preview

Tonight will be a telling week in the title run in with both the Entertainers and Murray facing tough Greenhills teams while the Hustlers have the week off hoping that they will not lose further ground to their rivals.

The Entertainers continue their grueling April schedule (which sees them with four fixtures against top five teams) with an away match against the Diamonds. Last time out this was a close 9-5 win for the Entertainers, but this match will be a different kettle of fish with the Diamonds having added to their squad since then. While the majority of the pressure will be on the Entertainers to win to ensure they go into next week's top of the table clash with the Murray with the best possible chance, the Diamonds themselves will be under pressure knowing Club 72 could go further clear in the race for fourth.

The Murray also have a tough fixture against the Greenhills, albeit tackling this one with home advantage. The Murray have been rejuvenated after their 10-4 victory over the Entertainers in the cup, and they'll be looking to continue their good form with a result to keep them top going into the big game next week.

Club 72 will be hoping the Entertainers can do them a favour while they take on the Baptists in a match which could see them with a healthy five point gap in fourth. While the Baptists have shown marked improvement in recent weeks, it'll be a massive task to get first points on the board in this one.

The Ospreys take on the Top Guns in a match both teams will need a win in if they are to finish in the top half. Both sit on 26 points, and lie 3 behind the Hunters in the chase. There's been nothing to separate the sides so far this season, and this looks like it might be a close one again.

The Hunters have flew under the radar for most of the season, but three consecutive wins have now propelled them into the top half for the first time this season. They face a stiff test from an always capable Aces team and the Hunters will know nothing less than a win is required to keep them ahead of the pack below.

The Tower put in a good showing against the Entertainers last week and were unlucky not to gain something from the match. They'll be looking to pick up where they left off and gain a win over Langlands to keep them in with an outside chance of finishing in the top half. Just four points separates the sides however, and Langlands themselves will be looking to nick the win to close the gap.

The Cuesters have been in a real slump of late, having won just one match since December, and now find themselves down in 13th. They'll know they need a win against the Shooters to pick them up for a final charge up the table in the last few games.

Full fixtures as follows:

Club 72 - The Baptists
Greenhills Diamonds - Entertainers
Greenhills Shooters - Cuesters
Hunters - Whitehills Aces
Murray - Greenhills
Ospreys - Top Guns
Tower - Langlands

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