Northern Counties gearing up for last chance at Inverness bragging rights ahead of Highland friendly at Fraser Park
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Northern Counties Cricket Club have one last chance to stake their claim for superiority in Inverness this weekend, and captain Shaun Thomas wants to make sure they take it.
Tomorrow Fraser Park will see a derby match between Counties and their hosts, city rivals Highland.
Last season Highland went through the entire league campaign without defeat as they lifted the Nosca Senior League title, notably defeating Counties twice along the way.
This year, with Covid-19 forcing the cancellation of all Nosca competitions, friendlies are the only way the two sides can compete against each other to prove who the better team is.
They were supposed to face off three weeks ago at the Northern Meeting Park, but that fixture was called off when Counties could not raise a team.
Thomas has no such availability issues for tomorrow though, and is motivated by the idea of finally getting the upper hand again.
“We definitely want to have the bagging rights,” he insisted.
“Last year they had a really good season, they are a very good side, but we want to be up there with them.
“Next year when the league hopefully resumes, we want to be up there challenging for the title, and this will be the type of game we have to win.
“Hopefully this weekend we can test ourselves and come away with the win.”
Both sides might be forgiven for feeling a little rusty, with Highland being inactive for the last three weekends thanks in part to poor weather.
Counties, meanwhile, only played their first game of the year last Saturday, but did win at Ross County.
There will be one eye on next season from all involved, but Thomas suspects that will only push his side to perform.
“We’ve picked up Alex Green this year, and the juniors have come through from our second team and the development squads,” he explained.
“We’ve got competition for places. This year, yes there are only a few games, yes they are only friendlies.
“But I think everyone wants to show what they can do to put themselves in the mix for the first team next season.”
“This weekend, we’re likely to have another junior who has come through playing as well, so for us that’s good to see because the juniors have put in a lot of effort.
“They’ve come down to training a lot this year, so it’s good to see them getting a chance in a game situation.”