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Domestic Preview – Week 3

Cricket Media look ahead to the third week of action in the Eastern and Western Premier Divisions

Lizzie Sleet @CricketScotland
May 11, 2018 3 years

Current Tables 

Western Premier
Eastern Premier

High-flying Ferguslie will today bid to ‘home-in’ on another victory when they host Ayr in the Western Premier’s top match.

The Paisley side played in front of their own supporters during the first two weeks of the campaign and with another game at Meikleriggs they have the chance to make it three-in-a-row.

However, skipper Jamey Carruthers believes the best is yet to come from his team who survived a middle order collapse to beat Uddingston a week ago.

He said: “Two wins without playing our best is promising but we are looking for a more complete performance and we will need it against an Ayr team who are always tough.

“They have a strong bowling attack so we can’t afford any more ‘iffy’ shows from our middle order.”

That area of the team should be strengthened by the return of former Scotland batsman Omer Hussain who makes his first appearance following several seasons with derby rivals Kelburne. Dave Stafford also returns to bolster the batting.

Meanwhile Ayr skipper Andi McElnea, who almost single-handedly destroyed Greenock a week ago, is looking for his team to display their credentials during a demanding weekend which also sees them host Grange in the Scottish Cup.

McElnea, who has named an unchanged side, said: “We’re in good shape after last week and are looking forward to the challenge of a big weekend.”

Meanwhile Greenock, who visit West of Scotland, are looking for a much more solid batting display than the one which saw them skittled for just 84 at Ayr.

However, they face a buoyant West team who celebrated their first win of the campaign at Dumfries seven days ago.

The home side are without experienced opening bowler Dave McNulty who is injured while Greenock’s Harry Briggs is replaced by Sehmat Pandher.

Elsewhere, Clydesdale will bid to kickstart their campaign when they host Poloc in an eagerly anticipated southside derby.

Both sides were idle last week, meaning Dale were denied the chance to bounce back from their opening day defeat at Ferguslie while Poloc missed the opportunity to build on their win at West.

Much interest will focus on the performances of young left-arm seamers Ihtisham Malik and Ihtesham Ul Haq who swapped clubs during the close-season, the former joining Clydesdale from Poloc while Ul Haq moved in the opposite direction.

Uddingston are looking to open their account but are wary of their Bothwell Castle visitors Stirling who upset champions Prestwick on the opening day of the season while either Prestwick or Dumfries will break their duck when they meet at the Henry Thow Oval.

New RHC Lions pro Hammed Azam will be battling against the elements as well as Aberdeenshire when he makes his debut for RHC Lions at Mannofield.
 
Azam has been sweating in temperature approaching 40 degrees in his native Pakistan.
 
By stark contrast, the mercury will do well to nudge the double-figure mark in the Granite City t0morrow afternoon.
 
RHC star Majid Haq said: “We are looking forward to seeing Hammed in action – along with our overseas amateur Jake Wood.
 
“Hammed is a genuine all-rounder – a very similar type of player to my former Saltires colleague Jon Kent.”
 
Spinner and batsman Wood has arrived from Queensland, where he plays for Toombul in the First Grade.
 
His father also has experience of playing in the capital having been attached to Royal High in the early 1990s.
 
Elsewhere in Edinburgh, champions Heriot’s entertain Carlton, who will be without chief run-maker Rory McCann, while Grange welcome Watsonians.
 
The Tayside and Fife sides are determined to make amends for the woes of last weekend.
 
Two of the teams who plunged to defeat face each other at Lochlands – Arbroath and Glenrothes, while Forfarshire head across the bridges to face Stew-Mel at Inverleith.
 
Arbroath are boosted by the return of skipper Marc Petrie and his deputy Ross McLean.
 
The former said: “I felt we have been short in the seam bowling department, so we have brought in Shaun Christie.
 
“He has been a very consistent performer in our second team over the past couple of seasons and more than deserves his shot in the first team.
 
“Last week’s performance up at Aberdeen was disappointing.
 
“Our fielding and bowling was below par, so we’ve worked hard at training.
 
“Glens are a club improving year after year and they will be keen to get their season going, so we must be on top of our game.
 
“Saffyan Sharif has been in great form over the winter for Scotland but they have more match winners than just him.”
 
Captain Sharif is buoyed by having Yasir Arfat and Robert Hutchison back in action, while new recruit Farzan Hafeez makes his debut.
 
“We must quickly learn from the mistakes we made last week.”

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