Cricket: Aussie teenage ace Tracey gives Stew-Mel confidence

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Stewart’s MELVILLE cricket captain Mark Burgess has praised the contributions of free scoring teenage Australian amateur Brayden Tracey as his side aim to consolidate top place in East Division One against Corstorphine at Inverleith on Sunday.

Earlier this week, Tracey hit 70 runs as Stew-Mel overcame a Heriot’s target of 127 to win a Murgitroyd Masterton Twenty20 quarter-final with six overs to spare.

However, it is in the extended format that Tracey has really excelled with centuries against Prestwick (115) and Penicuik (111) in the Scottish Cup along with a league knock of 117 against Edinburgh Accies last weekend.

Says Burgess, who makes one change to his unbeaten team for a match delayed 24 hours and switched due to ground improvements at Barnton with Chris Bissett replacing Rich Hannam: “Obviously Brayden’s contributions have been a major factor and reflect his application and dedication at practice.

“Our win at Heriot’s was testament to the focus on performing our individual roles and taking responsibility, but I am also really pleased with the tightness of our bowling and the standards we have set for our out-fielding.”

Tracey’s latest “ton” featured seven sixes and 11 fours off 105 balls leaving Accies requiring to re-group quickly before entertaining Falkland.

In the Premiership, Heriot’s will be without captain Steve Knox when they travel to Forfarshire attempting to build on an opening victory against Aberdeenshire. Knox has been receiving hospital treatment for damage to his rib cage area and, in his absence, Sean Weeraratna takes over the captaincy in a rich vein of form.

Weeraratna hit 72 in the Masterton Trophy defeat to follow on from sharing a stand with Cammy Farrell which yielded 97 from the concluding ten overs to take the initiative away from Aberdeenshire last week.

Knox says: “We knew Aberdeenshire had four very strong bowlers and our tactics were to hang in and hope to take advantage of any subsequent bowlers plus the power play which means only three fielders can stay out of the ring for the last five overs. Cammy Farrell’s last two league scores have been 57 and 85 not out so he is obviously in great shape and we’ll need him to be as Forfar made 280 against us last year.”

Returning to the Heriot’s ranks are Keith Allan, Jed Case and Craig McKellar, the former Scotland seamer who makes his first appearance of the season following shoulder surgery.

Another ex-cap, Kevin McLaren, is unavailable.

Top meets bottom when Barclays Wealth Grange head for bottom place Arbroath showing one change; Will Edwards comes in for the unavailable Ryan Flannigan.

Key man for Grange could be Raj Routray who claimed his first five-wicket haul for the club he joined over the winter from Watsonians when Forfarshire were seen off by 106 runs last week.

Says Grange skipper Neil McCallum: “Raj’s medical career determined that he squeezed the match in between two night shifts which makes his efforts all the more praiseworthy.”

As for Scottish champions Carlton, they are still seeking a first Premiership win after two defeats.

They entertain Aberdeenshire at Grange Loan but are refusing to press the panic button with the lone change being the return of Preston Mommsen from a stint at Leicestershire to replace successful Scotland under-15 captain, Ruari Macpherson, who led the side to a 31-run win over Derbyshire last Sunday.