South Scene

This season’s SFA Regional Cup (South) kicks off this weekend with some mouthwatering ties.

Gretna 2008, who play in the East of Scotland Premier League, travel to play Creetown at Castle Cary Park and, although beaten 5-1 last Saturday by Spartans, will start as favourites. Although the Raydale Park side are a young team, some of their players have experience of a higher level and will be a good test for the youngsters at Creetown. The home side will be outsiders in this contest, which would be true of most of the South sides with the exception of the top two or three. However, they will, as usual, give a good account of themselves and have a real go at winning the tie.

All the other ties involve South teams playing each other. At Meadow Park, Threave Rovers will be strong favourites to see off the challenge of Mid-Annandale but, again, although the Lockerbie side are not experiencing the best of starts to the season, they will make things difficult for their opponents. However, the Castle Douglas side are expected to win this match to progress to round two.

Heston Rovers travel to play Fleet Star at Gatehouse and, on present form, should be opti- mistic of going through. But the home side are not the easiest team to beat at Garries Park and a close encounter could be on the cards with extra time perhaps needed.

There is a Stewartry derby at Islecroft where Dalbeattie Star host St Cuthbert Wanderers. There is little to choose between these two sides at present, making this another contest that could go either way. Both know the way to goal and it will be the team on the day who hits best form that will go through. There is another close match scheduled for Hospital Park where Crichton entertain Wigtown and Bladnoch. Form would suggest the Trammondford side to progress. Crichton are not yet setting the heather on fire this season and could be vulnerable to a Wigtown side who, following a faltering start, are now beginning to find their feet. Nithsdale Wanderers host Abbey Vale at Sanquhar for what looks like the closest tie of the round. Both are enjoying a good run so home advantage for Nithsdale could be the deciding factor. However, there is little separating these sides and this match looks too close to call. Newton Stewart have a South of Scotland league match against Stranraer. With the recent clash at Stair Park much in the Creesiders’ minds, they will go all out to make amends to reverse that 4-1 defeat at the hands of what was almost Stranraer’s first-team squad.

The youngsters on both sides know each other well, with players swapping from one club to another over the recent years, so this should be an exciting encounter for the large crowd which is expected to attend. The Creesiders have a good record in recent seasons in matches against Stranraer and will be looking for this to continue. The visitors will also be keen to keep their good run going so a good close contest is in prospect.

n Terregles U13s 0, Galloway Thistle U13s 11. Thistle travelled to Dumfries for this league fixture and got off to a flyer with a goal in seven seconds from McCreath. After that, the football was a joy to watch, with Marco Whyte putting in a tremendous striker’s display. After scoring a record-breaking 65 goals in 30 games last year, he has already got six in two this season. Thistle, with debutants in Thornton and Syed Tollan, were out of sight by half time at 5-0. Centre-back pairing Parlane and McCaig gave nothing away. Scorers were Whyte five, McCreath three, an own goal and singles from Adair and Potter.