Cricket: Something has to give as unbeaten City teams meet

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Heriot’s latest cricket centurion David Ross has warned team-mates to expect a step up when entertaining Carlton in the opening round of the new East Premier League at Goldenacre tomorrow.

Both teams are unbeaten after the opening three rounds of Scottish Cup ties which ushered in the new campaign.

But, as the focus switches to league matters, 30-year-old Ross, who returned to Heriot’s recently after a stint at RH Corstorphine, is looking to build on a landmark innings.

“I had three centuries for Heriot’s 2nds and once held the school scoring record (124) but to get a ‘ton’ for the 1sts against Edinburgh Accies last week was definitely a highlight.

“We are under no illusions, though, that Carlton are going to present a much tougher challenge, with all due respect to Accies.”

Heriot’s skipper Steve Knox was delighted with the display of a batsman whose 136 against Accies was just 13 runs short of Hamish More’s all-time club record.

Said Knox: “When Accies brought their fielders in David had the shots to hit through them to the boundary. They were simple tactics and he struck the ball very cleanly.”

Ross, who has worked hard on his fitness over the winter, added: “I was a bit nervous about returning to Heriot’s but after having to take a bit more responsibility at RH Corstorphine I was able to relax a bit more which maybe helped.”

The absence of Andre van Niekerk, Kevin McLaren and ex-international seamer Craig McKellar, whose shoulder injury currently sees him bowl spin for the 2nds, doesn’t detract from a new-found depth in the Heriot’s ranks.

And they may need everyone firing against a Carlton side who promote batsman Ross Burns for the unavailable Steve Gilmour and who have also been developing strength in depth. Says skipper Fraser Watts: “Cheeky Gosain, Matt Wells, Kyle McPherson and Ben Falconer all contributed to a solid Masterton Twenty20 win over Murrayfield/DAFS in midweek and Haris Aslam will have opportunities after deciding to return to the club with the blessing of SMRH whom he joined for a brief spell.

“There is a bit of extra pressure on us after winning the Scottish League last season but so far everybody is rising to that challenge.”

Barclays Wealth Grange are also bringing through some burgeoning talent and will give a league debut tomorrow to 16-year-old seamer Duncan Player at home to Stoneywood Dyce while there is also an opportunity for all rounder George Munzie who was at Loretto School last year.

Captain Neil McCallum says: “Duncan showed his potential by clean bowling the Uddingston pro for two in the Cup.”

Elsewhere, Watsonians, also unbeaten, entertain Forfarshire, while in the East First Division RH Corstorphine’s Arnie Sathay will bat through the pain barrier against Penicuik.

The fixture has been switched to Kirkhill on Sunday due to on-going drainage work which sees Barnton out of commission until late next month and Sathay aims to shrug aside a damaged wrist bone after X-rays showed to cracks in two places.

Sathay says: “I went on to make 65 against East Kilbride after being hit on the wrist early. However, I’m confident the injury won’t affect my batting.

“We have Kevin Mayer and Ozzie Malik out due to school exams but that still doesn’t really affect the youthfulness of a side where the average age is 21 and our captain, Michael Yellowlees, is one of the older guys, aged 22.

“Gordon Lamb returns and Michael Kelly is the latest 16-year-old in line to turn out so pretty soon we are going to derive real benefits from the work being put in at youth level.

“The Penicuik match will be our seventh outing so far taking into account a pre-season tour to Perthshire and another opportunity for new recruit, Richard McCorkel, to shine.

“Richard has looked the part so far and there is a big innings waiting to come from him.”

Also in Division One Edinburgh Accies, who came off second best in a Masterton Trophy tie with neighbours Grange this week, visit Freuchie while SMRH entertain West Lothian.