Citylets Scottish Cup Preview
Cricket Media preview the first round of Citylets Scottish Cup action ahead of some fascinating opening fixtures taking place on Sunday 15 May.
Arbroath skipper Marc Petrie has set his sights on a successful defence of the Scottish Cup they won for the first time last season.
The Lochlands men prevailed in a memorable and hard-fought final against Grange and will start as favourites when they tackle SMRH at Inverleith in this season’s first round.
However, Petrie insists his men will not lower their standards despite facing a side from a division below.
He said: “We were excited and proud to win the Cup last season and we are just as hungry to do so again.
“Just because we are facing a side from a lower division doesn’t mean we will approach the match any differently.
“First and foremost, we will be determined to concentrate on our own display and deal with anything that may arise.
“We have respect for every opponent - and we are aware that, as holders, we will be the scalp that everyone wants to take.
“We don’t know much about the current SMRH line-up, but the fact that their pro (Tom Beaton) has been appearing in the Big Bash means he will be a player to keep shackles on.
Arbroath have Fraser Burnett back but Brendon Ford is still struggling with a groin injury and Elton Willemse is back in South Africa for a family event.
SMRH, who won their opening two ESCA Championship matches, will look to Beaton to rise to the challenge of shooting down the cup holders.
Elsewhere, one of the ties of the round sees Kelburne fly the flag for the Western Union at the home of Eastern Premier big guns Aberdeenshire.
The Paisley outfit - and a sizeable travelling support - head north in determined mood after just falling short against Carlton in last season’s tournament.
Skipper Qasim Sheikh said: “It’s going to be a great day out for our supporters and the players will enjoy the occasion as well.
“But we’re going up there with a real sense of purpose. We had a very strong Carlton team in trouble last year in the quarter finals and our batting failed us in a very gettable target of 173.
“So this time round against another good outfit I’m challenging my players to step up and make a name for themselves.
“If we can put a complete game together then I am very confident we will travel back to Paisley in buoyant mood and ready for the 2nd round of the competition.”
Other intriguing east v west ties see Aberdeenshire’s Granite City neighbours Stoneywood-Dyce host West of Scotland while Poloc are unlikely to be overawed by a visit from Heriot’s.
Prestwick, having made a promising start to the first Western Premier campaign, host a Carlton side who may be contenders to go all the way and Ayr and Forfarshire should be closely matched at Cambusdoon.
Last season’s beaten finalists Grange entertain city rivals Watsonians while tournament newcomers Dunnikier and Marchmont face tough tests at home to Clydesdale and away to Drumpellier respectively.