SALTIRES skipper Preston Mommsen is happy to welcome the old and the new as his team bid to break their YB40 duck.
The Scots head to Durham tomorrow before continuing their journey south to face Lancashire and Derbyshire on Tuesday and Thursday.
Mommsen believes the week gives them an ideal chance to end a five-game losing streak and is backing debutant Ruaidhri Smith and Neil Carter to make their mark.
Smith, the Glamorgan and Scotland U19 all-rounder, could feature for the first time at the Emirates Durham ICG, while Carter joins the squad at Old Trafford.
Mommsen said: “To be honest, I don’t know that much about Ruaidhri but it is always exciting to welcome a talented young player into the squad. I’ve heard a lot about him and everything has been positive so, hopefully, he can bring something new to the team.”
The captain is also convinced that former Warwickshire all-rounder Carter will have an impact on and off the field.
The all-rounder will make his first YB40 appearances after playing in T20 and ODI matches for Scotland and the skipper added: “I think Neil is a huge addition to the squad. He brings much more than just what he does on the park – he’s a great guy to have around the dressing room. I’m confident he can bring that missing dynamic that can get us our first win.”
Key player Majid Haq also returns, after recovering from a hamstring injury.
SQUAD (v Durham, Lancashire & Derbyshire 16, 18, 20 June): P Mommsen capt, F Coleman, T Latham, R Berrington, C MacLeod, M Iqbal, M Cross, M Leask, G Goudie, G Drummond (Durham only), N Carter (Lancashire and Derbyshire only), R Smith, C Burnett, M Haq.
The most intriguing CSL match of the weekend will be at Scroggie Park, where Falkland square up to the Glenrothes in the Division One Eastern Zone table-topper.
Forfarshire should be much too strong for Dundee HSFP, even on away territory, but West Lothian against Corstorphine at Boghall is a hard one to call.
At Muir Road, Freuchie face Penicuik, while Western Zone leaders East Kilbride will be without Umair Saeed against visitors Kelburne.
Cash required by Watsonians
In-form teenager Chris Cash has been called-up to the Watsonians team for this afternoon’s clash at Aberdeenshire as the reigning champions look to get their season up and running.
Last summer, Watsonians won both the Eastern Premier Division and then the overall title after defeating Western Premier Division champions Dumfries, but so far in 2013 they have yet to win a match and are bottom of the table.
Injuries to players such as Fraser Boyd and Andrew Chalmers has not helped and Stuart Chalmers, skipper last week in the absence of Saltires’ duo Ewan Chalmers and Dewald Nel, is a doubt for the trip to Mannofield with a shoulder problem. With Ewan Chalmers on Scotland duty, Nel captains the side. Andrew Fraser-Harris is unavailable.
Fourth-placed Aberdeenshire will be keen to bounce back from last week’s loss to Arbroath as quickly as possible.
For the encounter, Ryan West misses out due to exams so Callum Martin returns to the middle order while the league’s leading wicket taker Daya Singh leads the attack.
Craig Cameron and Euan Small return to the Arbroath XI as the leaders prepare to welcome SMRH to Lochlands. Opening bowler Calvin Burnett is with Scotland.
Second placed Barclays Grange have vice-captain Andrew Brock in the fray as they travel to Stoneywood-Dyce.
Spinner Brock replaces Giles Holmes with the rest of the team the same as the one that defeated Heriot’s seven days ago.
Carlton welcome Heriot’s to Grange Loan and give a league debut to young Fraser Allardice after he took three wickets in a Masterton Trophy tie in midweek against Penicuik. Gordon Drummond also returns with Ruari Macpherson and Ahmed Shah dropping out while Heriot’s have Calum McDougall and Toby Hardwick in for Dave Ross and Ali Farooq.
Clydesdale out to make amends
The day’s top clash sees pre-season favourites Clydesdale host unbeaten Drumpellier in a match which may have a significant bearing on how the season unfolds.
Maximum points would take Dale above their visitors but the Titwood side find themselves playing catch-up following defeat to Uddingston a fortnight ago. That result still rankles in the Clydesdale ranks as team manager Colin Mitchell confirmed, saying: “We should have been able to defend the total we had but naïve captaincy cost us.”
Mitchell is therefore happy to welcome back Saltires star Majid Haq to skipper the team after recovering from the hamstring injury that has kept him out of the Uddingston defeat and last week’s win at Stirling.
Drumpellier saw their 11-game unbeaten run in all competitions come to and end with a West League Cup loss to Uddingston on Wednesday. However, the Coatbridge side bounced back with a revenge Rowan Cup semi-final win 24 hours later. Player-coach Muhammad Ramzan has recovered from the eye injury that saw him taken to hospital during last week’s tie with West of Scotland. However, Imran Adrees, Ally Rawlinson and Zaheer Mohammed are out.
Following their maiden win at Dumfries a fortnight ago, Renfrew were brought back to earth by league leaders Uddingston last week, but they start favourites against Stirling. Renfrew also boast the league’s top scorer in Pakistani professional Ahmed Said, who will be looking to add to his 220 runs.
Stirling skipper Graeme Taylor is happy to welcome back Richie Carswell whom he believes will bolster both the batting and bowling departments.
Uddingston have the chance to strengthen their position against an Ayr team who are yet to record their first win. Uddingston welcome back Saltires star Calum MacLeod, while Ayr have Callum Leck and Neil Logan in for Elliot Speirs and Calum McLaughlin.
West showed both their fragility and resilience during last week’s thrilling tie at Drumpellier and player-coach John Blain is looking for more of the latter against champions Dumfries.