1st XI face daunting task against league champions

The 1st XI are at home this weekend for a second successive Saturday and play host to high flying Renfrewshire rivals, Ferguslie. The Paisley side are unbeaten in both of their Western Premiership One league matches completed so far and were also victorious in their first round Scottish Cup tie last Sunday against Stirling County CC.

The match on Saturday will therefore be a very stern test for the Glenpark side.

Ferguslie were last season's Premier Division winners and also won the Champions play-off against Edinburgh side, Heriots CC who were winners of the Eastern Premier Division. Their win saw them crowned the top side in Scotland for 2022.

The Meikleriggs team is a strong one but perhaps not invincible. In the Scottish Cup tie against Stirling County, Ferguslie lost six wickets as they chased and overcame County's low score of 84 runs.

And in the league, while winning both opening fixtures it has not all been plain sailing for the Paisley side. In their opening match against West of Scotland at Hamilton Crescent, the home side were bowled out for 117 after just 35 overs, but Ferguslie lost 7 wickets as they chased down their target in 28 overs.

However, last Saturday at Meikleriggs, a very strong performance saw the Paisley team win convincingly against the much fancied Prestwick CC who were runners-up in the Premier Division last summer. Ferguslie scored 196 for 7 in their innings and then bowled out Prestwick for 145 in 41 overs.

The Paisley team's professional is Mohammed Mayat. He has played cricket in the Bradford area and is an opening batsman but has not made a big impact in the matches to date. Mayat is also a bowler and led the Ferguslie attack against West taking 3 wickets for 38 runs from 8 overs.

Saturday's visitors will provide a strong bowling line-up, a number of whom are well known to the Glenparkers. Adil Ghaffar, Haroon Tahir, Daoud Tahir and Taimoor Ahmad have all played against them in recent seasons and will aim to make time at the crease challenging for the Glenpark batsmen.

The 1st XI have not made the start to the league programme which had been hoped for by both players and supporters. In the opening match away at Dumfries, the Glenparkers came close to getting a winning result. However, with just eight balls of the match remaining and with 6 wickets down, the south of Scotland side overcame the team's substantial innings score of 192.

The loss of that match was a blow for the local side who had been looking good for a win when Dumfries were in trouble early on in their innings at 56 for 4 after 17 overs. But the home team rallied and a couple of good partnerships turned the game in their favour.

Last Saturday was an altogether different match against Ayr as they were outplayed in all areas of the game and ended up well beaten and without picking up any bonus points.

This Saturday against Ferguslie, they will need to consider carefully their match tactics as they take on a team which is arguably one of the very strongest in the country.

If Ferguslie lose the pre-match toss of the coin, team captain Greg McDougall will have a decision to make. Should he bowl first and try and pick up some early wickets and then bowl out the visitors for a total which his own team can beat? Or should he bat first and aim to get a large total which his bowlers can then defend and win the match?

Much may depend on the weather leading up to Saturday and the condition of the wicket on the day if McDougall has the decision to make.

A number of changes to the side which lost to Ayr. Into the team for Saturday come Harry Briggs, Shailesh Prabhu, Aryan Sanghera and Sam Sanghera all of whom were unavailable last weekend. To balance that top scoring batsman Tom Polkinghorne is unavailable due to work which is a big loss to the team.

Briggs and Prabhu in particular should add some strength to the batting line-up while Aryan and Sam Sanghera will offer some bowling options for McDougall.

Key for the team will be the its ability to get runs on the scoreboard. Partnerships, especially early on in the innings, could be crucial. The locals will look to build a total which will be a challenge to overcome, or a total which takes the team to its first competitive win of the 2023 season.

A good turnout from supporters from both sides is assured, as although the teams may be competitive rivals, there is also a long-standing friendly association between the two clubs. The match will start at 12 noon.

The Glenpark XI have a 100% record in their league from wins in both of their opening matches against Blackhill and Galloway and on Saturday they travel to Glasgow to take on Anniesland (Glasgow Accies 2nd XI) at their New Anniesland ground. Captain Eddie Ahmad is unavailable and it falls to his vice-captain Sudeep Chaudhary to ensure that the winning run is continued. A strong team has been selected and should have every chance of success. This match will start at 1pm.

Finally, on Sunday the Hillend XI travel to the west end of Glasgow to play an Hillhead XI in a friendly match at Hughenden. This fixture gives an opportunity to some of the younger players to get some decent match practice and an interesting team has been selected under the captaincy of Greg McDougall. The match is scheduled to start at 1pm.

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