Perth County Cricket Club, one of the oldest in Scotland with one of the proudest heritages, are facing closure later this week.

The organisation, founded in 1826, won nine Scottish County Championship titles during a halcyon period in the 1950s and 1960s, as well as attracting international stars of the calibre of Australian duo Adam Gilchrist and Justin Langer to their North Inch ground in the early 1990s. But they are grievously short of players, their facilities have been vandalised several times recently, and the final curtain could fall at the club's annual meeting tomorrow night when captain and secretary, Graham Ferguson, spells out the gravity of the situation.

Speaking yesterday to The Herald, Ferguson made no effort to disguise his anxiety at how a variety of problems, stretching back over the last decade, have combined to bring Perth to the brink of extinction.

"Some people think we are dealing in brinkmanship, but nothing could be further from the truth and there is every chance we will go down the tubes. As things stand, we have eight players for our first fixture of the season against Huntly in May and there is no point in kidding ourselves we can continue on that basis," said Ferguson who, together with his colleague, David Armstrong, have been carrying out about 15 different duties at North Inch in the past few years.

"This isn't something that has happened overnight, but we have lost 11 or 12 of our first-team players to other clubs, our facilities are sub-standard, our membership doesn't seem to want to get involved in the day-to-day running of the place and we are simply not functioning as a club, where there is any chance of keeping things going 10, 20 years from now."

In Ferguson's own judgment, Perth have been slipping down a perilous slope since their great days and it seems an awfully long time since Scotland recorded their first-ever victory over English county opposition when they defeated Lancashire in the former B & H Cup at the North Inch in 1986.

Since then, despite the appeal of such foreign luminaries as the Australian trio, Gilchrist, Langer and Dene Hills and Indian maestro, Lal Rajput, the numbers have dried up, both on the pitch and in the committee rooms and although the club were granted a stay of execution following an egm last January, Ferguson said yesteray that he is much less optimistic that a solution will be found on this occasion.

"There is a lot of history around this place, but that will only take you so far if nobody is coming through the door to join us now, and David and I are spending an increasing amount of time working on administrative chores which we simply don't have time for.

"We have looked at all the alternatives, and we are very sad to be in this position, but placing the club into abeyance, prior to the 2009 season, is firmly back on the agenda, and if the response isn't there, we will have to wind things up. "