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Domestic Preview – Week 4

Cricket Media preview the fixtures for this weekend's matches in the Eastern and Western Premier Divisions

Lizzie Sleet @CricketScotland
May 20, 2017 4 years

Western Premier

They consolidated their place among the elite last year, finishing fourth during their first campaign in the top flight, and now Prestwick are aiming higher still.

The Ayrshire side sit proudly at the top of the table, one of just two teams boasting a 100% record at this early stage of the summer, and today they will aim for a third straight win when Uddingston visit the Henry Thow Oval.

While satisfied with the start, coaching consultant Andy Tennant is neither surprised nor complacent.

He said: “The guys worked really hard during the winter and are reaping the rewards of that so it’s not unexpected that we’ve made a promising start.

“But a start is all it is and we have to keep going and make sure we improve on last season – finishing higher than we did last year has to be the target.

“To be honest, we haven’t played particularly well yet so it’s a good sign when you can win when you’re not at your best.”

Tennant knows his team will have to be at their best against an Uddingston side smarting from their Scottish Cup exit at the hands of Strathmore & Perthshire Union minnows Meigle.

He added: “We’ll take nothing for granted. Obviously Uddy will want to recover from that result and they are more than capable of doing that.

“They have some really good players and, like lots of teams in the league, are capable of beating anyone on their day.

“That’s what makes this season’s league so interesting: I don’t think there is an outstanding team but there are a lot of good ones.

“I think the title is wide open and hopefully we’ll be one of the teams up there challenging.”

Poloc, the only other unbeaten side, face a tricky trip to Cambusdoon where Ayr’s Kiwi professional Michael Papps will be eager to add to the 147 runs he scored in Sunday’s Scottish Cup win over East Kilbride.

Poloc, did experience defeat in a midweek McCulloch Cup encounter with Weirs and a club spokesman said: “We must put right the mistakes that led to that reversal.”

Akram Shakoor returns from injury for the visitors.

Elsewhere, champions Clydesdale will bid to bounce back from defeat at Dumfries a week ago when they entertain Ferguslie and they must do so without in-form Richie Berrington.

The Scotland batsman, who is on international duty, has already amassed 323 runs in three innings and also boasts the best bowling analysis – 5-22 – in the league so far.

Dale, though, can call on the division’s leading wicket-taker in captain and coach Con de Lange who will travel to Kent to lead Scotland against Sri Lanka after the match.

Ferguslie, meanwhile, have shrugged-off their opening day defeat to Poloc with victories over Ayr and last week’s Scottish Cup win over Marchmont, a match in which Riyaad Henry hit form with a century.

Clearly the absence of Berrington is to Ferguslie’s advantage but skipper Jamey Carruthers declared: “Being honest I’d prefer if Richie was playing as want to test ourselves against the best players.

“We will have to beat Clydesdale at full strength at some point if we want to be challenging at the top.

“But we’re looking forward to the match and the mood is good.”

Greg Cameron returns to the Ferguslie team after injury to replace Anup Vejandla.

Dumfries, buoyant after that win over Clydesdale, travel to East Kilbride while either Kelburne or Greenock will be celebrating a first win following their meeting at Whitehaugh.

Eastern Premier

Arbroath skipper Marc Petrie has backed young pace bowler Adam Brewer to make a big impression in the top-flight.

The 16 year old makes his league debut for the joint leaders in today’s clash with Heriot’s at Goldenacre.

And Petrie believes he is more than ready for the challenge.

He said: “Adam has made a huge impact in our second team and also shone for the first eleven in the pre-season matches.”

On the challenge of the hosts, the captain added: “They have looked quite strong in the opening weeks of the campaign.

“They have been well-led by Keith Morton, and knowing him as I do, they will be motivated to perform against us.

“In addition, Mark Watt has been in terrific form with both bat and ball and they have other potential match-winners in their line up.

“However, even without a few regulars, we are feeling confident after three victories and we will be tough to beat.”

Forfarshire – eager to bounce back after their shaky opening to the season – also have a tricky trip to the capital to square up to Watsonians.

Skipper Umair Mohammed has refused to be panicked into making changes to his line-up, saying: “We have the ability and if we play the way we can then we will have a good chance.

“Sonians are a steady team with guys who show consistency. They will be a big threat on their own pitch.”

Also unchanged are Glenrothes, who will be out to atone for last weekend’s surprise defeat by newly-promoted SMRH.

They welcome Aberdeenshire to Gilvenbank, with Glens captain Safyaan Sharif observing: “We have to keep the shackles on their pro, Chris Venske, who is a game-changing batsman.”

Co-pacesetters Grange will be expected to keep up the momentum at the expense of Falkland at Scroggie Park.

And SMRH are hoping to claim another notable scalp – that of champions Carlton, who broke their duck last time out.

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