Cricket: Pupils come first as Powell misses out on derby clash

GRANGE will have to do without the services of former England A cricketer Mike Powell for tomorrow's SNCL derby trip to Carlton in the SNCL Premier Division.

The news is a blow given that it looks like pro Warren McSkimming will now not be joining the club for the summer after he suffered a stress fracture of his back in his native New Zealand.

Powell, an ex-Warwickshire skipper, who is director of cricket at Loretto School, was ineligible to play in the SNCL in 2009 as Grange were pipped to the title by Aberdeenshire.

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Now free to play he took two wickets in the win over the National Academy at Raeburn Place last weekend. However, school commitments mean that he will not be in the XI that take to the field against Carlton tomorrow.

Powell said: "It is frustrating to miss out tomorrow after being involved last week, but during term time the school cricket sides have to be my priority."

Sanjay Patel once again captains Grange this season with experienced players such as Stuart Davidson, Andy Wilson, Gregor Maiden and Cameron Coles still part of the first team.

Carlton are captained by Scotland man Fraser Watts this term and they warmed up for tomorrow's opener with a comfortable friendly win over Stirling County last Saturday.

New recruit Preston Mommsen, signed from RH Corstorphine, is one to watch with the bat and may well break into the Scotland set-up this summer. And, in seamer Mohammed Habib, they have an unknown quantity who has been impressive during pre-season nets.

Elsewhere in the top flight tomorrow, Watsonians open with a trip to Forfarshire with new signings Tim Weston, Craig Wright and Stuart Chalmers in the line-up. Pro Weston arrived from New Zealand earlier this week and teenage seamer Paddy Sadler may also play after recovering from a broken thumb.

Promoted Dunfermline Knights start at home to reigning champions Aberdeenshire.

In the First Division, Heriot's hand a debut to young Australian Adam Lockhart-Krause and have Scotland man Sean Weeraratna back from Greenock as they head to Falkland while Penicuik, skippered by Keith Morton, host Ayr.

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RH Corstorphine will start their Second Division campaign away to Kelburne.

SMRH are at Inverleith against Freuchie, Edinburgh are on the road to Renfrew and West Lothian host Weirs.