CSL East and West Previews - 30th May
Cautious Arbroath skipper Marc Petrie has rejected the notion that the scalp of basement boys RH Corstorphine will be an easy capture today.
Petrie’s troops have established themselves as championship contenders in the wake of a shaky start to the campaign - and they will go into battle in Edinburgh in confident mood on the back of their away day triumph over holders Aberdeenshire.
On paper, it would be a major surprise if newly promoted RHC were to break their duck, however Petrie insisted there will be no complacency in his camp.
He declared: “We recorded a great win against a very strong Aberdeenshire team last weekend, but that is history now and we regard RHC as a testing challenge.
“We always take each match as it comes with no reference to what has happened previously and we know our opponents will be well-prepared.
“We are heartened by the fact that our top-order batsmen are beginning to establish partnerships and the bowlers are hitting the right areas.
“Our aim is to focus on ourselves and continue the momentum we have built up.”
Arbroath welcome back Calvin Burnett, while Craig Cameron replaces Jack Plomer.
Forfarshire, routed at home by new pacesetters Grange last time out, face another tough task when they make the short jaunt across the bridge to face a strong-running Falkland outfit.
Grange ought to galvanise their status by taking care of Stoneywood-Dyce at Raeburn Place, and Aberdeenshire - who head to Carlton - will be hard pressed to get back to winning ways.
Elsewhere, the capital derby between Watsonians and Heriot’s at Myreside has the makings of a close encounter, with much hinging on the toss.
CSL Western Premier
WITH a record of two wins and two defeats, Drumpellier have quietly manoeuvred themselves into a comfortable mid-table position.
Victory over upwardly mobile Kelburne a week ago was particularly impressive and suggests their goal of a top-half finish may be attainable.
However, today they will receive their sternest test yet when champions Ayr come calling at Coatbridge.
Overseas duo Sudesh Fernando and Louis Venter have been stand-out performers for the Langloan club so far and spokesman Gordon Shaw believes the locals must play their part if the table-toppers are to be toppled.
Shaw said: “Ayr have had a great start and look a strong side again this season with big contributions from the overseas players as well as the local guys, so we need to be at the top of our game if we are to get a result.
“It has been a mixed start in the league but we are improving with every game. “We have a good mix of youth and experience and have set ourselves a target of a top half finish.
“Our overseas guys have started well and look top players. Sudesh played a match-winning role last Saturday to get us over the line but it is time for the rest of the team to stand up and be counted.”
The end of the school exam period could be good news for Drumpellier who are able to welcome back rising talents Humza Sabri and Ayaz Qasim.
Meanwhile defeats for Kelburne and Clydesdale meant Ayr found themselves back at the top of the table last weekend and the Cambusdoon side aim to stay there.
Having recovered from defeat at Dumfries a fortnight ago with a commanding performance against Ferguslie, Ayr name an unchanged team with Neil Smith and South African Lenert van Wyk, with 100 and 87 respectively against Ferguslie, aiming to maintain a prolific start to the campaign.
Skipper Andi McElnea said: “Neil was sensational last weekend and scores more club runs than most every season. Lenert again was clinical with his knock so we’re looking for more of the same from them.
“But we know Drumps is a hard place to go and we will have to be at our very best if we are to get a result.”
Clydesdale, beaten at East Kilbride last week, have been handed a timely boost with the return of Majid Haq for today’s visit of Uddingston.
Haq missed the first three weeks of the season through suspension before flying to Pakistan for a short break.
However, Scotland’s most capped player was due back in the country last night and will return to the side along with Neil Fulton and Adil Ghaffar.
Manager Colin Mitchell said: “It’s good to have Majid back as his extended break has clearly affected the team.”
Dale can expect a tough challenge from an Uddingston side who appear to be finding their feet after a shaky start.
The 2013 champions are looking for their third win on the trot though skipper Bryan Clarke is not getting carried away.
He said: “We're starting to go okay and we're improving with each game so we're pretty content with where we are at present.
“Clydesdale rightly are the favourites for the title again. They are the best team but they've had a sticky week or so and we'll go to Titwood and back ourselves as we always do.”
It promises to be tight at Nunholm where Dumfries and East Kilbride aim to continue promising starts while Renfrew are seeking their first win when they make the short trip to Ferguslie.
West of Scotland, the other side without a victory, host Kelburne.