Domestic Preview – Week 8

Cricket Media preview week 8 of the action in the Eastern and Western Premier Divisions.

Lizzie Sleet @CricketScotland
June 22, 2018 5 years

AS team-mates, Michael Leask and Safyaan Sharif played major roles in Scotland’s recent stunning triumphs over England and the Netherlands.

But the all-rounders will be rivals when Forfarshire and Glenrothes at Broughty Ferry.

The hosts will be hoping that Leask will help to propel them back into the title race, while Sharif’s struggling Fifers reach the midway point of the campaign still seeking their first victory.

And both players made it clear they are looking forward to the contest.

Leask declared: “I hope to continue my good form and carry on where I left off.

“I am sure Saffy will feel the same and it will be great for us to pit our skills against each other.

“He is a class act – the best seamer in the Scotland ranks – and if we can keep him quiet we will enhance our chances.

“We have a strong line-up and I can’t wait to get back into league action.”

Sharif insisted Glens’ position in the table does not reflect the true abilities of the team.

He said: “It should be an excellent contest at Forthill.

“Forfarshire are a powerful outfit, but I am confident that if we perform to our capabilities, we can earn the result we are looking for.”

Pacesetters Grange make the short trip to Inverleith to tackle Stew-Mel.

Spokesman Andrew Brock is excited at the prospect of squaring up to his old club and he stated: “The Grange boys are confident of finishing the first half of the season undefeated.

“But Stew-Mel have had a couple of decent wins and they will have a degree of confidence.”

Champions Heriot’s are at home to an Arbroath side who are without skipper and new dad Marc Petrie.

The Lochlands men will be eager to get back to a winning consistency and enter the second half of the summer with at least a chance of claiming silverware.

Scotland batting hero George Munsey will be the main danger man for Watsonians against Aberdeenshire at Mannofield.

And RHC will be favourites to come out on top in the capital derby with Carlton at Barnton.

PRESTWICK players will pay tribute to Johnny Hubbard before today’s clash with leaders Ferguslie at Meikleriggs.

Club legend Hubbard, who died during the week, was better known as the ‘Penalty King’ of Rangers.

But he also enjoyed a long and distinguished cricketing career with the Ayrshire club and former team-mate Andy Tennant, now Prestwick’s coach, said: “The boys have still to decide whether it will be black armbands or a minute’s silence or both but they will certainly remember Johnny.

“He will be sorely missed at the club and from a personal point of view I have my own special memories of him.

“He was still playing for the second eleven in his 40s when I first came into the team and he had a huge influence on me.

“Enjoyment and belief were the things he kept emphasising and he led by example, always playing with a smile on his face. But he was also a really tough competitor and an inspirational figure.”

Once the action begins Tennant’s men will focus on trying to rekindle their title defence by beating a Ferguslie side who lost for the first time a fortnight ago.

Their clash with West of Scotland was rained-off last week while Prestwick failed to take advantage when they lost to Uddingston.

Tennant added: “It was a poor one for us last week and makes today a game we must win. The players are determined to respond.”

Meanwhile Ferguslie know victory today will see them take another important step towards winning the title and they welcome back Hamza Tahir who played a key role in Scotland’s Tri-Series success in Holland during the week.

Greg Cameron also returns for the leaders but Prestwick are without in-form batsman Fraser Macdonald.

Elsewhere, Poloc and Greenock are both bidding for a third consecutive win when they clash at Shawholm.

The pair were promoted together in 2016 but have yet to meet in the top flight as both matches were cancelled last season.

With Calum James unavailable, Poloc hand the keeper’s gloves to Saif Sajjad while Greenock are without young opener Harry Briggs but Sam Sanghera returns from injury.

Uddingston, boosted by beating the champions a week ago, host a Clydesdale team who moved into second place with their win at Ayr.

The visitors welcome back Scotland star Richie Berrington.

Ayr, who have failed to win since the second Saturday of the season, host a Dumfries side who are still searching for their first victory while West of Scotland will stay in touch with the top three if they win at Stirling.

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