THE quarter-finals of the Citylets Scottish Cup feature three intriguing West v East ties in addition to the all-Eastern Premier clash between Heriot’s and Forfarshire.
All of the west teams have home advantage and hopes are high at Cambusdoon that Ayr can take another step towards the cup glory they last savoured in 1999.
Riding high in the Western Premier, Andi McElnea’s side have already proved too strong for East Kilbride and Meigle but they face a stiffer test when Watsonians arrive in Burns Country at Sunday lunchtime.
The Myreside men last featured in the final in 2012, losing to capital rivals Heriot’s, and would love to go one better this time.
McElnea said: “We have been playing well without putting together a complete performance yet.
“However, we see the cup as a great chance to test ourselves against a top Eastern Premier side.
“If we perform at our best we can get a positive result.”
McElnea has been one of the stars of Ayr’s season so far with both bat and ball but, as always, the performance of former New Zealand Test batsman Michael Papps will be important.
Indeed, Watsonians may have a special plan for a player who scored 147no in the first round against East Kilbride and followed-up with 127 against Meigle.
That plan may involve Papps’ countryman and fellow ex-internationalist Andy McKay who already boasts twelve league wickets and the best economy rate in the Eastern Premier.
Having knocked out 2015 winners Arbroath in the first round, Ewan Chalmers’ side may start slight favourites.
Teams from the capital will also be fancied to progress from the ties at Shawholm and Langloan.
In the former, Poloc entertain a high-flying Carlton side who return to Glasgow’s south-side having easily knocked-out holders Clydesdale in the previous round.
However, this match will not now go ahead until July 2 after Poloc had a request to postpone the fixture upheld due to player availability issues as a result of Eid.
At Langloan, the lowest-ranked team remaining in the competition entertain the favourites when Western First Division outfit Drumpellier await mighty Grange.
The Lanarkshire men were good enough to beat Greenock in the previous round but will surely have to reach another level if they are to have any chance against a Grange who are looking to land the silverware for the third time in five seasons.
It is likely to be close at Goldenacre where Heriot’s, third in the Eastern Premier, welcome a Forfarshire team who are starting to find form after a shaky start to the season.
The Edinburgh side perhaps hold a slight psychological edge, having won the league encounter at Forthill at the start of May.