1st XI down south seeking another league win

The 1st XI are back on the road once again this weekend. Having travelled to Aberdeen for a first round Scottish cup tie last Sunday, the team will travel to the opposite end of the country on Saturday to meet Dumfries at their Nunholm ground.

On the opening day of the Western Premiership Two last Saturday both the 1st XI and Dumfries had comfortable wins against Hillhead and Glasgow Accies respectively.

Saturday's fixture brings together the two sides who were relegated from the Western Premiership One at the end of last season and both will be keen to make a quick return to the top tier. So there will be added importance to the game as the winning team will have gained an early season advantage.

In the two pre-season friendlies against Kelburne and Renfrew, the Glenpark side scored 200 plus runs in each game, and last weekend in the opening competitive matches, 226 runs were scored against Hillhead and 197 against Aberdeenshire.

Much of the credit for these innings totals must be given to the Club's two young Australian amateurs Connor Nowlan and Angus Tolhurst. Newlan scored a century against Kelburne in one of the pre-season matches and also 79 runs against Hillhead at Glenpark last Saturday. Tolhurst showed his batting class last weekend with 84 runs against Hillhead and then 105 against Aberdeenshire at Mannofield in the Scottish Cup.

If the season is to be a success, then other players in the side must also work to stay at the crease and develop good run-scoring innings which will make the team difficult to beat.

Last season in the matches between the two sides honours were even with one win each.

It should have been two wins for the 1st XI, as the match at Nunholm at the end of April last year seemed likely to go their way until a strong, lower order partnership by the experienced Alan Davidson (66 not out) and Scott Beveridge (41) swung the match in favour of the south of Scotland side.

It was a game in which the advantage ebbed and flowed and at one stage during the Dumfries innings, it looked as though Greenock could be on course for victory with the home team on 56 for 4 chasing a target of 193 to win. But the Dumfries middle order stood firm and eventually won the game by 4 wickets in the second last over of the match.

In July, at Glenpark, a fine innings of 74 not out from the home side's Indian professional Rahul Dalal helped seal a comfortable win for the local side who chased and overcame Dumfries score of 143 for 4 wickets by scoring 145 for the loss of 6 wickets in just 25 overs, a win which gave hope that relegation might be avoided - but records show that did not happen.

Dumfries will be a difficult side to beat at Nunholm as the team has a good balance of younger and more experienced players. Johnathan Van Zyl is a young South African wicket-keeper batsman and he showed his worth to team with an innings of 140 last Saturday. He was ably supported by Chris Bellwood (27), Jordan Maritz (52 not out) and Andrew Dawson (39).

James Hobman, Alan Davidson and Tommy McGrath collected nine of the Accies wickets and proved themselves to be a potent group of bowlers whom the 1st XI must take care with when they are in the home attack.

Of course, they have shown that they too have a group of bowlers who will present problems for the Dumfries batsmen.

Usman Mansoor is developing into a very useful opening bowler and along with Cammy Calder provides a good pace attack to trouble the Nunholm team's top order.

Connor Nowlan and Angus Tolhurst may be the key to breaking through any resistance from the home team's batters. Both have shown a real quality since their arrival at the start of the season and picked up a number of wickets.

Tolhurst, in particular, with his slow left arm bowling has given opposition sides problems and as well as wickets, he has been frugal in terms of runs conceded. Last Saturday against Hillhead the young Aussie gained 3 wickets for just 11 runs from his ten overs.

The match at Nunholm has the makings of being a very interesting encounter and if the team can emerge with a win it will be a huge confidence booster at this early stage of the season.

No team selection has been announced as yet for the match which will start at the usual time of 12 noon.

The Glenpark XI came up just short last weekend against the Bees but will fancy their chances against Stirling County's 3rd XI who visit Glenpark on Saturday. Like the 1st XI, no team has as yet been announced for this fixture which will similarly start at 12 noon.

The Club is grateful for the continued sponsorship from Cleaning Supplies 4U.