CSL Previews - 16th May
Arbroath may have broken their Eastern Premiership duck last weekend - but they are preparing for a fierce backlash from Watsonians at Lochlands today.
While the Angus men were grinding out a win at Falkland, Sonians were being torn to pieces by champions Aberdeenshire - and 10-wicket Adrian Neill in particular.
And Arbroath skipper Marc Petrie will warn his troops to gear up for a determined response from the shellshocked hosts.
Petrie said: “They will still be feeling the pain and they are sure to come hard at us from the start.
“We are perfectly aware that Watson’s are a much better team than that result might suggest.
“They have several dangerous players who can turn matches with strong performances on their day.”
Arbroath are without Blair Carnegie, who has work commitments and Matthew Hurst will take the new ball.
Petrie added: “We will be concentrating on building on our victory at Scroggie Park.
“It was a scratchy but gutsy performance on a difficult pitch and we are still well short of where we want to be - though it was hugely important to get that win after a disappointing start to our season.
“The aim will be to minimise errors in the field and build meaningful partnerships in the top order.”
Falkland should be able to bounce back when they square up to basement boys RH Corstorphine in the capital.
The Fifers are, however. weakened by the absence of the Hepburn brothers, so Matt Surry and Cammy Nellies are handed their opportunity.
Forfarshire will need to raise their game another couple of notches if they are to continue their revival by beating Carlton at Grange Loan.
Shire are strengthened by the return of Scotland all-rounder Michael Leask.
Elsewhere, Stoneywood-Dyce have home advantage in the Granite City derby with Aberdeenshire and Heriot’s welcome form-horse neighbours Grange.
David Hinchcliffe, the West of Scotland player-coach, is still finding his feet following a winter switch from south Wales.
However, the new man in charge at Hamilton Crescent, expects to learn a lot during a weekend which sees his side host Western Union favourites Clydesdale and CS National champions Aberdeenshire in the space of twenty-four hours.
It has been a tough start for Hinchcliffe’s charges with two defeats in as many games.
However, he remains confident the sleeping giant that is West of Scotland can be roused from its slumbers.
He said: “West is a big club so I know have taken on a big job and I am excited about the challenge.
“So far results for the first team haven’t gone our way but I am interested in developing a culture that runs throughout the club.
“Winning every week may be unrealistic just now but we want to get to a stage where we come off the field every week and know we have given ourselves the best possible chance to win.
“If we lose to a team that plays better then we can accept that as long as everyone in the team can say they gave everything.
“I’ve already seen a difference and we are heading in the right direction but, having lost two, I’d have to say our potential is not being realised.
“That’s a confidence thing more than anything to do with talent and so it’s something we can definitely improve.”
Defeats to East Kilbride and Drumpellier leave West sitting at the foot of the table and they may have to raise their standards if they are to upset derby rivals Clydesdale who have won their opening two fixtures, nor will it get any easier when Aberdeenshire arrive in Partick on Scottish Cup duty tomorrow.
Hinchcliffe will select from a settled squad while Clydesdale are again without the suspended Majid Haq but Kasim Farid returns.
Dale manager Colin Mitchell said: “West are always a difficult side at Hamilton Crescent and they will be desperate to make a big impression in their first home match under the new coach.”
Derby day also sees an eagerly anticipated clash between Paisley rivals Ferguslie and Kelburne at Meikleriggs.
The pair were promoted together last season and the early signs are that both could make their mark on the top flight.
Ferguslie recovered from an opening day defeat by beating Uddingston seven days ago and captain Gregor Preston-Jones declared: “We have trained hard over the week and we believe we can beat anyone on our day.
“Kelburne have started the season well but we are confident that with our team and at Meikleriggs we can get the win we need.”
The visitors have indeed started well, beating Renfrew and Dumfries in the league and following up with a West League Cup win over West in midweek during which Bradley Williams scored a century.
Skipper Qasim Sheikh said: “We go into the game with good momentum and want to keep it going.”
Ferguslie are unchanged while youngster Alex Gilmour replaces the unavailable Fraser Macdonald in the visitors’ line-up.
Having attended to league business, Ferguslie will gear up for tomorrow’s cup visit of Heriot’s while Kelburne have home advantage against Renfrew.
Renfrew themselves today entertain an East Kilbride side who are bidding to build on last week’s win over West before heading to Weirs on cup duty.
Champions Ayr welcome back Heynrych Nel for the trip to Dumfries but know a third straight victory cannot be taken for granted against a side on the rebound from last week’s heavy defeat at Kelburne.
Drumpellier, with one win, and Uddingston, yet to open their account will focus on a crucial derby before the former entertain Stoneywood-Dyce while the Bothwell side head to the capital to challenge cup holders Grange.