Cricket: Petrie upbeat as Arbroath enter crunch period

Skipper Marc Petrie has guided his Arbroath side to nine consecutive victories in league and cup

Skipper Marc Petrie has guided his Arbroath side to nine consecutive victories in league and cup

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Arbroath captain Marc Petrie knows that the next two weekends will have a big say in how his team’s season pans out – and his players are looking forward to today’s key clash with Carlton in the CSL Eastern Premiership.

The 2013 league champions lost their first two league matches of the summer – to Carlton and Mazars Grange – but since then they have been in cracking form, winning nine matches on the spin in league and cup.

Today the third-placed side travel to Grange Loan for the return fixture with second-placed Carlton before hosting leaders Grange in seven days’ time.

Tomorrow they also have a Scottish Cup quarter-final against Ferguslie, so it is no surprise that training this week has been pretty intense at Lochlands.

“I have been really pleased with the way we have bounced back from those two opening defeats,” Petrie said.

“We always knew that it was going to be a tough start, but the week after the Grange loss we sat down at training one night and refocused.

“Since then we have played some great cricket and in other matches we have had to dig a bit deeper for wins, but I know that the team spirit in our team can get us through at times.

“Now we face Carlton again and this match, the Ferguslie cup tie and the Grange match next week are huge for us.

“What is so good about the division this year is that every team has genuine match winners in it. We saw that last week when Falkland won at Grange, so every week you have to be focused on the job in hand.”

This weekend Arbroath will be without the unavailable Elton Willemse, but that loss is offset by the first appearance in the first XI this summer for Jack Waller.

Waller is seen as a top batsman in the making and was this week named in the Scotland under-19 squad for next month’s tournament in Jersey.

Carlton come into today’s match on the back of a good win at Watsonians seven days ago and they are boosted by the return of Scotland duo Preston Mommsen and Ali Evans to the XI.

Grange look set to have opening batsmen George Munsey and Caiden Lang back as they head to Watsonians while the hosts have Mike Carson returning along with teenage Tom Dryden.

Fourth-placed Aberdeenshire are unchanged as they prepare to welcome Falkland to Mannofield.

The visitors have skipper Safyaan Sharif back while Mo Morris, Craig Hepburn and Grant Doig also come in.

Heriot’s head to Autoecosse Forfarshire with Mark Watt, fresh from his Scotland T20 debut, back in the team with Hamish MacLeod dropping out.

Forfarshire skipper Craig Wallace returns from Scotland duties too, but Umair Mohammed is unavailable.

Finally, Stoneywood-Dyce make four changes as they travel to RH Corstorphine.

Martin Reid, Ryan Williams, Andrew Maclaren and David Kidd are the men coming into Shaun Coetzer’s team for the match in Edinburgh.

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