Domestic Preview - week 6

04 Jun

Cricket Media preveiw the sixth weekend of action from the Eastern and Western Premier Divisions

MOMENTUM will be the key-word on the lips of player-coach Graeme Beghin when Forfarshire go into Eastern Premiership battle with Aberdeenshire today.

The sides lock horns on the back of victories against Arbroath and Glenrothes respectively, however the Broughty Ferry brigade are hoping home advantage will sway matters in their direction in the showdown of the Shires.

Beghin, whose batting inspired his side to glory at Lochlands last weekend, declared: “We have been building foundations which are based on focussing on the basics - and executing the skills we have been developing in training.

“If we keep on taking these qualities into the matches, then the right results will materialise.

“The aim to keep getting better every week”

Arbroath are desperate to shake off the inconsistencies that have plagued the opening month of their campaign and this afternoon they make the tricky trip across the bridge to square up to Falkland.

Lichties skipper Marc Petrie misses the tussle to attend a wedding, however he has placed his faith in a squad who have proved so often their capability to bounce back from adversity.

Handing the captain’s job to Ross McLean, Petrie said: “It is important that the guys put last weekend behind them and concentrate on the job.

“We know we have had a shaky opening portion of the season and this is the time for every player to step up and take more responsibility.”

Arbroath are also without Greig Peal, who has work commitments, though they welcome back Elton Willemse and Craig Cameron.

Glenrothes face one of the biggest and most crucial weekends in their history.

Today, they collide with fellow league strugglers Stoneywood-Dyce at Gilvenbank, before welcoming champions Grange in the Scottish Cup.

Glens have been looking stronger and stronger throughout May and they will fancy their prospects of breaking the sequence of defeats by imposing themselves on a SD line-up missing several frontline men.

It is derby day in the capital, where title pacesetters Watsonians face their biggest test of the season against Carlton at Grange Loan.

There is another neighbourhood encounter in the north of the city as Heriot’s and Grange scrap it out at Goldenacre.

AN enticing and potentially pivotal Paisley derby takes centre stage as leaders Ferguslie entertain second placed Kelburne in the June sunshine at Meikleriggs.

The hosts boast a perfect record of five straight wins while their neighbours have slipped-up just once in the opening month of the campaign and it looks too close to call.

That was certainly the case when the pair met in a West League Cup clash a couple of weeks ago, the match going to the final ball before Ferguslie prevailed by a single run.

Home skipper Gregor Preston-Jones said: “We’re in good shape - and not just in the league as we’ve also been keeping up the winning momentum in midweek cricket which is excellent.

“Games against Kelburne always have an edge to them as it’s a game neither team wants to lose. 

“The rivalry is good for Paisley and good for Scottish cricket and it’s great both sides are in the top league in the west. 

“We will aim to stick to our plans, do our jobs well and hopefully we can come out on top to keep the good run going.”

There is similar optimism in the visiting camp with Preston-Jones’ counterpart Qasim Sheikh in buoyant mood.

He said: “I think the West League Cup game showed how evenly matched the sides are at the moment. 

“Ferguslie are clearly a very confident side with a number of players in top form. 

“However I would like to think that we are also in a similar place with our own form players. It really is a 50/50 battle on paper and one I am confident we can come out on top.”

Both sides are at full strength with Michael English one of the form players for Ferguslie after a brilliant century for the Western Warriors in midweek while Kelburne’s Brad Williams boasts four half-centuries in five league outings.

There is another derby at Cambusdoon where Prestwick are the visitors for what will be a poignant afternoon for Ayr CC who are paying tribute to former captain and chairman of selectors Ian Masterton.

Masterton died at the age of 55 eight years ago and a bench will be unveiled in his honour during the tea interval.

Former team-mate Bruce Patterson declared: “It’s fitting that there will be a lasting memorial to Ian.

“The club meant so much to him and vice versa. He was a larger-than-life figure who had a hugely positive impact on Ayr Cricket Club.”

Elsewhere, Uddingston and Clydesdale clash at Bothwell Castle Policies in the first of a league and cup double header.

The action switches to Titwood twenty-four hours later and both encounters will be keenly contested.

Champions Dale, who hand recalls to Ahmad Chaudhry and Akram Shakoor, have looked convincing on home turf but have lost their two away fixtures while Uddingston are aiming for a third consecutive win to take them above today’s visitors.

Stenhousemuir, still looking to break their top flight duck, entertain a Dumfries side on the rebound from a last-over defeat at East Kilbride who themselves make the short journey to Langloan where Drumpellier are in high spirits following two midweek victories.

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