Domestic Preview – Week 6

Cricket Media preview the sixth week of action in the Eastern and Western Premier divisions

Lizzie Sleet @CricketScotland
June 2, 2017 6 years

Derby day in the west throws up a series of potentially pivotal fixtures, among them the Titwood meeting of Clydesdale and Poloc.

More than the south-side bragging rights are up for grabs with both sides also desperate to rekindle their title challenge following disappointing recent results.

Clydesdale, having suffered back-to-back defeats, felt in a strong position at Uddingston last week until the weather denied them the chance to cash-in.

Poloc have also lost twice in a row in the league though the Shawholm side bounced back strongly with an impressive Scottish Cup win over Ferguslie on Sunday.

Today’s match is given added intrigue by the appearance in the visiting ranks of Abdul Sabri and Akram Shakoor, two players who surprisingly defected from Titwood after helping Dale win the double last season.

Sabri and Shakoor are among a number of new faces at Poloc this season and home spokesman Colin Mitchell believes strength in depth gives his derby rivals the edge.

He said: “I think given the squad that Poloc have assembled most people would expect them to push for the league.

“Their power-house performance against Ferguslie shows what they are capable of and they will go into the match with momentum.

“But we don’t want to be concerned about their personnel – we’d rather concentrate on continuing the development of our young side though obviously we want to compete.”

Clydesdale are without Calum Drummond who has university commitments at Loughborough, paving the way for Shreyas Chitnis to return.

Poloc, meanwhile, must do without their consistent captain Craig Young who has a knee injury and Azeem Dar comes in while player-coach Jurie Snyman will skipper the team.

The “favourites” tag is disputed by Poloc whose spokesman said: “Clydesdale start as favourites with home advantage while, in Richie Berrington and Con de Lange, they have the two standout players in the division.

“Inconsistency has been our Achilles Heel and we’re looking for improvement in that department from both batters and bowlers as the season moves into its second quarter.”

East Kilbride’s Torrance House clash with Uddingston is another which features two players who swapped allegiances during the close-season.

This time las year Ross Lyons and Harmanjit Singh played a pivotal role in EK’s title bid but now they are attempting to propel Uddingston back to the top of the table after their tenure was cut short by last week’s rain.

New Leaders Prestwick, who claimed top spot after their win at Poloc, will bid to stay there by beating Ayr at the Henry Thow Oval.

However, they will encounter local rivals who are desperate to bounce back from defeat at Greenock.

Kelburne prop up the table but they hope a derby clash with Ferguslie might inspire them to a first win of the season at Whitehaugh.

The home side are looking for overseas duo Brad Joynt and Jacques Porter to hit form while Ferguslie will attempt to put their cup exit behind them knowing they could end the day at the top of the table should Prestwick slip up.

Greenock, having carved-out consecutive wins, expect another tough assignment when they make the journey to Dumfries.

Former Greenock star Chris Bellwood is among the home side’s most prolific batsmen in the league so far while Dumfries also boast the leading wicket-taker in Scott Beveridge.

Glenrothes chief Eddie Gibbs says his troops just can’t wait to face the challenge of squaring up to their former player-coach.

The Fifers take on a Forfarshire outfit, who have struggled to find momentum so far this season.

But the Glens are all too aware of the damage that Chris Greaves is capable of inflicting when he returns to Gilvenbank.

Club chairman Eddie Gibbs stated: “Most people will be surprised that Forfarshire haven’t yet notched a win in the campaign.

“And in spite of that fact, they will certainly be favourites this weekend.

“The return of Craig Wallace is huge for them, especially added to the fine form of Matthew Parker and the very special talents of Chris.

“We obviously know all about Chris’s ability having witnessed it first hand for six years!

“He has yet to fire on all cylinders for Forfs, but anyone who scores a century at Lords like he did last month is clearly a very dangerous prospect.”

Glens will be without in-form batsman Fred Culley and Scott Lucas.

In come Vasu Reddy and Jamie Penman.

Table-topping Arbroath will have quick revenge on their minds when Watsonians come calling at Lochlands.

Sonians ousted them from the Scottish Cup three weeks ago – and the Lichties are in no mood to suffer the wrong kind of double.

Skipper Marc Petrie said: “We are delighted with our league campaign so far, especially having been without some leading lights.

“Watsons have shown us what they are capable of doing, so we expect another stern challenge.

“We are confident, however, after our derby win last week.

“Calvin Burnett and Brendon Ford in particular are in great form with the ball and we are building solid partnerships with the bat.

“Their obvious danger men are Andy McKay with the new ball and the Chalmers brothers with the bat, so we must make sure we take any chances that come our way.

“Ewan Chalmers has led them well over the past few seasons and Watson’s will be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.”

Jack Waller is working so Blair Carnegie comes in. Elton and I are still sidelined

Elsewhere, it is sure to be a tense affair at Mannofield as Aberdeenshire collide with Falkland in a basement battle.

Carlton should be too strong on home turf for Heriot’s, and in the other capital derby SMRH hope to shock Grange at Inverleith.

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