Cup Preview - Week 2
From Cricket Media
Dundee HSFP knew life would be tough when they accepted an offer to replace Fauldhouse in the CSL Eastern First Division this season.
Their elevation from the Strathmore and Perthshire Union included the chance not just to play in a higher league but also to test themselves against some of the country’s top players in the Scottish Cup.
Having come a poor second to Renfrew in their opening Group G fixture last week, the Dalnacraig side face another step up this afternoon when they visit mighty Grange.
It is a classic David v Goliath encounter and, all the more so, since Dundee are still awaiting the arrival of their two overseas players – the first Bhutan international to play in Scotland and a 6ft 4in Australian who weighs in at 18 stones!
It is that sort of muscle which the underdogs could badly do with if they are to make a game of it against the aristocrats of Scottish club cricket.
Alas, however, Ben Strachan will not step off the plane at Edinburgh Airport until 7pm this evening.
“It’s a pity it wasn’t 7am!” said Graham McLaren, Dundee’s President.
“We know it looks like a mis-match but the players have got to treat this as an opportunity to be savoured.
“Some of them have never even been to Portgower Place, far less played at what is one of the best grounds in Scotland.
“It’s a great chance to learn from the experience and hopefully make a game of it.”
McLaren believes his side may be ready to challenge in the league by the time Strachan and the highly-rated Jigme Singye arrive.
“Maybe going back into the national set-up has come a bit early for us but it’s not an opportunity we could turn down.
“The overseas guys will make a big difference when they come and we believe we may have unearthed a gem in Jigme Singye.
“He’s a 21 year-old leg-spinner and exciting batsman who’ll be the first internationalist to have played for our club.
“Given his size it’s no surprise that the Aussie is a fast opening bowler who also hits the ball a mile so the pair of them will add real value to the side.
“For now we just have to go to Grange and remember that freakish results sometimes happen.”
Grange, who opened with a six-wicket win at Greenock, are without injured Saltires bowler Gordon Goudie and hadn a debut to Chris Sole.
Greenock welcome Renfrew in the other group fixture.
Elsewhere, SMRH host Clydesdale in one of several east v west confrontations.
The Inverleith side, newly promoted to the Eastern Premier, showed their credentials with an emphatic win over West Lothian but expect a tougher test against the Titwood side.
“We played them at this stage of the competition last year and lost fairly narrowly,” said skipper Greg Bisset.
“Today will give us an indication of how much we have improved since then.”
Clydesdale are in action for the first time after last week’s trip to East Kilbride was called-off.
Saltires all-rounder Majid Haq skippers the side for the first time but is without international team-mate Safyaan Sharif who has a back injury.
President Colin Mitchell said: “Majid has brought a real sense of enthusiasm and professionalism to pre-season training but we’re under no illusions about what a tough fixture this will be.”
Meanwhile West Lothian will attenmpt to put their first points on the Group A table at East Kilbride’s expense.
Holders Heriot’s staved-off the threat of a shock at Falkland last week but may not relish their trip to meet a Ferguslie side buoyed by an excellent win over Western Premier champions Dumfries.
The match provides another chance for Scotland youth player Michael English to impress following his century a week ago.
Dumfries meanwhile will attempt to get back on the rails against Falkland.
Prestwick, dismissed for just 41 by West of Scotland, face another exacting challenge when they host Carlton while West bid for a second home win against Corstorphine.
Aberdeenshire and Uddingston have home advantage in Group E against Glenrothes and Stenhousemuir.
Drumpellier will attempt to upset last season’s beaten finalists Watsonians while Freuchie host Weirs in Group C.
Ayr will emerge as Group D favourites if they can beat Penicuik and Poloc do them a favour against Stoneywood-Dyce.
Group B pacesetters Arbroath and Kelburne meet at Lochlands while Forfarshire host Stirling.