FORFARSHIRE skipper Umair Mohammed insists going head to head with champions Grange on their own patch is the ideal way to start their competitive campaign.
The Broughty Ferry boys will go into battle as clear-cut underdogs – but upbeat Umair can’t wait for the action to get under way.
He said: “Everyone in the squad is hugely looking forward to the challenge and there is no better way to launch the season than testing yourselves against the title holders.”
Forfarshire lost two prominent performers during the winter with Matty Parker returning to local rivals Arbroath and Liam Sweeney going back to his roots at Strathmore.
Mohammed added: “Of course they will be sorely missed, but we have lots of young talent who will have a greater chance of displaying their skills at first eleven level.
“As far as this weekend at Raeburn Place is concerned, bowler Christian Robertson will have a late fitness test.
“We are determined to hit the ground running.”
Grange coach John Blain observed: “Forfs have some excellent young guys and they will be a year older and wiser.
“They certainly will provide us with a stern challenge, however we are keen to get off on the right note as we launch our quest to repeat the feats of last season.”
Parker’s reunion with the Lichties is on hold as he missed the home-turf tussle with RHC because of work commitments.
Calvin Burnett is also absent injured, however captain Marc Petrie is excited about the potential of Daniel Salmond, son of club stalwart John and nephew of ex-Scotland World Cup skipper George.
Petrie stated: “Young Daniel will play a big part this season after impressing on debut in the final game of last summer.
“He has progressed well in the nets over the winter months and he will definitely be one to watch.
“We are expecting an extremely tough start against RHC. They had a strong campaign a year ago and they will take great confidence from that.”
Petrie confirmed that newly-recruited overseas amateur, South AfricanFerdi Snyman, will face the Edinburgh side, but their new pro won’t be arriving until next week.
Aberdeenshire, under new captain Kenny Reid, entertain Stew-Mel at Mannofield, while Carlton – for whom Pete Steindl starts his second stint as coach, play host to Stoneywood-Dyce.
The northerners were the beneficiaries of Falkland’s decision to compete again in the Strathmore and Perthshire Union in spite of becoming champions.
And it is derby day at Goldenacre where Heriot’s square up to Watsonians.