Arbroath have had a tough start to their Eastern Premier League campaign, but wicketkeeper Marc Petrie has faith in the young players coming through at the club.
He and the other experienced heads in the Lochlands squad know that it is a big step up from junior and second XI cricket to playing at this level.
However, he has been impressed by the way the newer faces have adapted to the challenges in front of them and believes that bodes well for the long-term future.
“There is no getting away from the fact that it has been a tricky start, for one reason or another we haven’t managed to get a settled XI out on the field while plans to bring in a professional [South African internationalist Wihan Lubbe] and an overseas amateur have been stalled by visa issues,” former skipper Petrie, 32, said.
“Over the years this club has always been build on bringing local talent through and while the opportunity to play in the firsts just now has come a bit quicker than some of the teenagers might have imagined, they have come in and done a good job.
“Take Luke Hayes for example, he is only 14 and he has been tasked with opening the bowling in a couple of games. It is a big learning curve for him, but going forward the experience will stand him in good stead.
“All-rounder Matthew Salmond has played pretty much every game so far while top order batter Pranav Saravanan has come in from Gordonians and there is another youngster Gregor Fraser who has been involved too.
“As up-and-coming players, they missed a period of development in their cricket because of the pandemic, but I and the other senior players couldn’t be prouder of the way they are coming through and sticking to their task.”
On Saturday, bottom side Arbroath, led by Bryce Carnegie, are at home to third placed Forfarshire and Saravanan, Fraser and Craig Ross come into the XI that lost to Falkland for Ross McLean, Matthew Hurst and Hayes.
Christian Robertson and Fraser Ross are in for a Forfs side who will be looking to bounce back from defeat to RH Corstorphine last weekend.
Watsonians have won just one of four completed league matches in 2022 ahead of a home encounter with Stoneywood Dyce, but there is faith in the Myreside ranks that they can move up the table from seventh spot soon.
Since pre-pandemic, there have been a number of changes to their first XI squad and one of the major plusses has been the emergence of 20-year-old left arm spinner Gregour Carr.
Having played his youth cricket at Carlton, his passion for the sport really grew when he moved to George Watson’s College for senior school.
In his teens he began to play for the school and the Watsonians club and he said: “It was [former Scotland cap] Willie Morton who helped me turn myself into a spinner.
“Having been a left arm spinner in his playing days himself he put in quite a bit of work with me and as I progressed through senior school I was really enjoying my cricket and it started to click.
“I played first XI cricket at school in my final three years thee while, after a couple of fours and threes games, I was chucking into the deep end and played quite a bit of senior cricket for the club’s second XI when I was quite young.
“Looking back that was a great experience for me because I learnt how to bowl to different players and more experienced players.”
Carr had played a few first XI games for Watsonians before he left school in 2020 and then, in the winter of 2020/21, he went over to Australia for sixth months.
“I was part of the Darren Lehmann Academy in Adelaide while I was out there and I was playing regularly for Payneham Cricket Club too, I look back on that time fondly,” Carr, who is just about to finish first year studying politics and international relations Lancaster University, adds.
“It was so good playing in different conditions and coming up against different types of cricketing challenges and I took what I learnt there into last summer with Watsonians.
“We reached the Scottish Cup final last year and did okay at times in the league in 2021 and now we want to kick on from there.”
For this weekend’s game, second placed Stoneywood Dyce have Lennard Bester and Ewan Davidson coming into their XI to face Carr and Watsonians.
Elsewhere this weekend, leaders Heriot’s travel to Barnton to take on fourth placed RH Corstorphine.
Tayyab Rashid, Elliot Ruthven and Dylan Wilson come into the Heriot’s line-up for this one for Callum Martin, Michael Shean and Peter Ross. Wilson will keep wicket.
RHC have had a great few days, defeating Forfarshire in the league last Saturday and then getting the better of Thorntons Penicuik in the Masterton Trophy T20 event on Tuesday evening.
Sean Fischer-Keogh returns to their XI for this game.
Fifth placed Carlton are at Inverleith to take on ninth place Stewart’s Melville.
With regular skipper Tom Simpson missing, Ally Evans takes on leadership duties in a much-changed Carlton side.
Young Gavin Murray will debut with Angus Beattie, Ben D’Ulisse, Harris Aslam and Umair Mohammed coming in too.
Carlton were beaten on the last ball by Gen!us Grange on Thursday night in the Masterton Trophy – Max Hancock hitting a four – and the latter are at home to Falkland.
For sixth placed Grange, Scott Blain, wicketkeeper Harris Carnegie, Ryan Flannigan and the aforementioned Hancock come into the side that edged past Stoneywood Dyce last weekend.
Falkland, now eighth, got a confidence boost from defeating Arbroath in week four and, for their Edinburgh trip, Devon May and Adam Ferguson come in for unavailable duo Graeme Watson and Cameron Nellies.
Saturday, May 28’s fixtures:
Arbroath v Forfarshire (Lochlands)
Gen!us Grange v Falkland (Portgower Place)
Watsonians v Stoneywood Dyce (Myreside)
RH Corstorphine v Heriot’s (Barnton)
Stewart’s Melville v Carlton (Inverleith)
Arbroath’s Marc Petrie is pictured by David Potter
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