LEADERS Ferguslie want to savour the joy of six when they head down the M74 to face Dumfries this afternoon.
The Paisley side, with five straight wins, start strong favourites against their joint-bottom hosts who have yet to break their duck.
Ferguslie have been forced to dig deep to achieve their flawless start, no more so than last Saturday when they recovered from a disastrous start against Poloc.
For once, an in-form top order failed to fire but that merely allowed others to demonstrate the side’s strength-in-depth as a superb century stand between cousins Omer Hussain and Taimoor Ahmad led the fightback.
Having returned to Ferguslie from neighbours Kelburne during the close-season, Hussain is beginning to rediscover the form that earned him 25 caps a decade ago and skipper Jamey Carrurthers clearly feels the left-hander could be a key figure in his team’s title bid.
Carruthers said: “Omer has looked better and better every week and last Saturday’s knock was a quality innings.
“His partnership with Taimoor was one of the best I have seen at Ferguslie. Taimoor, too, is beginning to show what a top quality cricketer he can be.
“It’s great to keep winning but, as I’ve said before, we are still looking to improve.”
For their part Dumfries will require more support for talismanic Scott Beveridge if they are to forge that elusive first win.
Beveridge is second in the batting averages but last week’s collapse to 116 all out at Uddingston summed-up a disappointing start to the campaign for the Nunholm side.
Elsewhere a couple of intriguing derbies stand out with West of Scotland welcoming back James Fennah for the visit of in-form Clydesdale.
West suffered a setback last week when they went down to champions Prestwick but victory today would see them leapfrog a Dale team who held off the challenge of Greenock to secure a third consecutive win.
Meanwhile Ayr will bid to repeat their midweek McCulloch Cup win over Prestwick at Cambusdoon.
Poloc draft in 17 year-old Ahmed-Raza Hanif as they bid to end a three-game losing streak when they entertain Stirling at Shawholm.
The visitors have made a bright start to life in the top flight and a Poloc spokesman said: “They have a good blend of youth and experience and are well led.
“We are looking to improve in all departments. Last week’s defeat at Ferguslie summed-up our early season form when we threw away promising positions in both innings.”
Greenock, for whom Neil Flack’s brilliant century was in vain at Clydesdale a week ago, entertain an Uddingston team who have their tails up after three consecutive wins.
RHC player-coach Majid Haq will warn his side to prepare for their biggest ever test when they square up to pacesetters Grange today.
Haq and his team-mates have acquitted themselves well since being promoted to the top flight.
But the experienced internationalist knows the Barnton tussle against the unbeaten Raeburn Place outfit will be another huge step up.
Maj said: “This game is as big as it gets – but we are really looking forward to the challenge.
“We are close to being at full strength and we hope to make the most of home advantage.
“Jim McFadyen has done a tremendous job on the ground and it is looking fantastic.
“From our point of view, we believe that if we get the basics consistently right throughout the contest, we possess the quality and fighting spirit to earn us an important win.”
Forfar will be in buoyant mood as they welcome Aberdeen to Forthill in the battle of the Shires.
But as host skipper Umair Mohammed emphasised, the Dons will arrive in equally confident fettle.
He declared: “They are always dangerous – and they showed their talents to the full last weekend by claiming the scalp of champions Heriot’s on their own turf.
“That was no easy task and the result will be stark reminder to us that they are not a team to be taken lightly in any way.”
Mohammed’s troops go into the fray after pulling off an equally meritorious and emphatic victory over Arbroath at Lochlands.
So recent form would suggest that an intriguing spat is on the cards at Broughty Ferry.
Arbroath face a tricky jaunt to Myreside to face a Watsonians line-up refreshed by their success at the expense of Glenrothes.
Visiting captain Marc Petrie said: “Lichties skipper Marc Petrie said: “Sonians are definitely a much better side than the table suggests at the moment and I’m sure they will be ready to go on a big run at any moment.
“With some of the game winners they have, we have to be very wary.
“We were very disappointed with last weeks performance, we were second best in every department and it simply wasn’t good enough.
“But training has been productive this week and we feel we are ready to bounce back.”
Heriot’s will be fancied to quickly repair some of the damage as they face struggling Glens at Gilvenbank.
And basement boys Stew-Mel are in for another tough afternoon when they cross the capital to tackle Carlton at Grange Loan.