RH Corstorphine and Gen!us Grange are the sides currently in second and third spots in the Eastern Premier League table behind leaders Heriot’s heading into week eight of action on Saturday.
The chasers both had commanding home wins in week seven – against Stoneywood Dyce and Forfarshire respectively – to leave them both with five wins and one loss from their completed league matches so far.
Heriot’s have the same record and this time around two exciting, young cricketers Brandon James (RH Corstorphine, 20) and Angus Brown (Grange, 19) will be looking to keep their respective clubs’ good form going.
James and RH Corstorphine are on the road to ninth placed Falkland and the Zimbabwean all-rounder is having a great time with the Barton outfit in his second season in Edinburgh.
“I was born and grew up in Zimbabwe, but I spent the end of my schooldays down south at Epsom College on a cricketing scholarship,” James, who helps out at times coaching the club’s youngsters, explains.
“When I finished school I was keen to continue my cricket and also see a new place so I came up here first about midway through last season.
“The guys at the club made me feel welcome straight away, but we were fighting away towards the bottom end of the table and I felt quite a bit of pressure, especially with the bat, to do my bit. I dearly wanted to contribute, but as a young guy getting used to a new league I wasn’t able to do as much as I’d have liked.
“The team rallied though and managed to stay up and, after a few months back in Zimbabwe, it was always my plan to return to Edinburgh this summer.
“Since I came back it has been like a breath of fresh air. The guys who played last year don’t want to be in the same position as we were while new guys like Liam Naylor and others have come in and made a real difference.
“Training is enjoyable, everyone is pulling in the same direction and to be able to learn from guys like George Munsey is excellent.
“James Dickinson, the captain, has created a great atmosphere and we just want to kick on and take each game at a time.
“Any away game is tough in the league and we have already seen that most teams can beat others on their day, so we know we will have to play well at Falkland.”
James mentions skipper James Dickinson, but he is unavailable, so Elliot Rousen leads the team. Robert Taylor comes into the XI.
Falkland have Andrew Gamble, Ryan Hepburn and Adam Ferguson coming into their team for Jack Henderson, Euan Sloan and Logan Briggs.
Meanwhile, in terms of Grange, English batter Brown moved to Scotland last year to begin working at Belhaven Hill School in Dunbar.
He trained with Grange for a part of last summer and now he is fully settled north of the border he has played a number of games for the first XI so far this year.
“I have loved the environment at Grange so far, it has been excellent getting the chance to play with some full international players while the ground at Portgower Place is just a magnificent place to play, it is unbelievable, it is up there with places like Wormsley and Arundel down south,” Brown, who grew up in Hampshire playing for the Hartley Wintney club and county age-grade sides, said.
“The squad is quite a young one at Grange this year, but we are learning all the time and there is some really talent coming through at the club.
“A couple of tight wins in the league have boosted our confidence and we want to keep things going this weekend while wary that Watsonians are a good side too.”
One highlight of the season so far was when Brown and fellow young player Jack Jarvis put on 276 runs for the first wicket in a comfortable Scottish Cup first round win over Meigle at home in May.
Brown made 132 and Jarvis 144 and it was a record opening stand.
He missed the triumph over Forfarshire last weekend as he was down south playing for the England physical disability team against The Lord’s Taveners at Worcestershire’s New Road ground.
“I have dyspraxia which affects my balance at times, so I have been in the Hampshire physical disability team since I was 15 and the England set-up since I was 17,” he explains.
“There are a great bunch of lads in those squads and it is interesting learning about each other and our disabilities, but in general we mainly talk about cricket and there are some very good players in those teams who all play for clubs too.”
For Grange in week eight, Brown returns along with Scotland seamer Chris Sole, Max Hancock and Freddie Huddleston.
Sixth placed Watsonians will travel across Edinburgh after a good win over Heriot’s on Thursday evening in the Masterton Trophy T20 event.
Talking of Heriot’s and Lloyd Brown’s men are on the road to fourth placed Stoneywood Dyce.
The Aberdeen side have Lennard Bester back and he will skipper the XI while Shaun Coetzer also returns.
Fifth placed Forfarshire host eighth placed Carlton at Forthill.
Both sides lost in week seven and for this one the Broughty Ferry outfit are boosted by the return of Scotland all-rounder Michael Leask while Fergus Duncan is also into the XI.
Bottom side Arbroath host seventh placed Stewart’s Melville at Lochlands.
Ryan Plomer, Craig Cameron, Craig Ross and Marc Petrie all return for the home side.
Saturday, June 18’s fixtures:
Forfarshire v Carlton (Forthill)
Stoneywood Dyce v Heriot’s (People’s Park)
Falkland v RH Corstorphine (Scroggie Park)
Arbroath v Stewart’s Melville (Lochlands)
Gen!us Grange v Watsonians (Portgower Place)
RH Corstorphine’s Brandon James is pictured
The Cricket Scotland Podcast will include a round-up of the men’s and women’s regional, premier league and cup action from across the country every Tuesday, with player interviews from our featured games. Follow @ScotlandPod on Twitter for all the latest information.
And if you or your club has a story for us, please email Jake Perry at email@example.com or Gary Heatly at firstname.lastname@example.org – we look forward to hearing from you!