FALKLAND will today bid to claim the scalp of Scottish Cup holders Heriot’s as a new cricket season bowls into action.
The Fifers, who ply their trade in the CSL First Division, may be underdogs against the Premiership outfit, but that is a status they relish. And they believe the cold weather could be an ally.
Falkland all-rounder Paul Watson said: “The conditions will be difficult for both sides but they could be a leveller.”
Watson himself misses out as he continues to recover from ankle surgery, but the Fifers hand a debut to Ukrainian-born wicket-keeper Alex Bychkov.
Bychkov, who was brought up in Australia and played at Shane Warne’s St Kilda club, has joined the Scroggie Park outfit as a second overseas amateur, though South African Nick Lockyear will not arrive in time for today’s game. Heriot’s start favourites to progress from Group E, but face a tough challenge, not only from Falkland, but also Dumfries and Ferguslie, who meet at Nunholm.
Elsewhere, Arbroath entertain Angus rivals Forfarshire in one of the matches of the day. Arbroath skipper Marc Petrie is wary of a backlash after Forfarshire were relegated last season. He said: “They will see this as an opportunity to put one over their derby rivals. It was disappointing in a way to see them go down but it will make it even more important to both sides when we do face each other.”
Brendon Ford, who played for Forfarshire last season, turns out for Arbroath, while former Lichties favourite Matty Parker is in the visiting line-up.
Dundee HSFP return to the big time with a home clash against Renfrew, but these two may struggle to emerge from a Group F which also includes cup favourites Grange.
The Edinburgh side, having recruited Saltires star Gordon Goudie from Stoneywood- Dyce and Lions all-rounder Josh Edwards from Stirling, begin their campaign at Greenock.
Ayr are still awaiting the arrival of Neal Parlane, but another New Zealander, Michael Schofield, is in their line-up to face a Poloc side boosted by the return of two Kiwis in Carl Huyser and Mike Allcock. There will be much interest in the Bothwell Castle meeting of 2010 and 2011 cup winners Uddingston and an ambitious Glenrothes side, who are about to embark on their first season in the national set-up.
In the same group, Aberdeenshire will hand a debut to Daya Singh, their young fast bowling recruit from Australia, when they visit Stenhousemuir. Watsonians host Freuchie, while Carlton entertain Corstorphine and Prestwick travel to Hamilton Crescent to face West of Scotland in the same group.