The 1st XI look to break their league duck at West

This Saturday, the 1st XI will continue to seek their first competitive win for the 2023 season. The team will travel to the west end of Glasgow to play West of Scotland at their famous Hamilton Crescent ground in the Partick area of the city.

The positive news is that the team have already played and beaten West this season. However that win was in a pre-season friendly and Saturday's match will be an altogether different affair.

West have won two out of the three Western Premiership One matches they have played while the 1st XI have yet to get off the mark. Impressively, the Glasgow side have beaten two of the more fancied sides in the league, Clydesdale and Prestwick.

So the trip to Hamilton Crescent will provide a serious challenge for the local side.

Prior to the start of the season this may have been one of the games targeted as a 'must win'. But after three losses, it may now be considered as an absolute must win if the team is not to lose touch with others in the league table.

A second good omen for the team, if it is seeking another positive thought, is that the only Premiership One match which West have played at their Hamilton Crescent home ground ended in defeat.

Reports would suggest that due to ground staff difficulties the famous old ground is currently not presented at the high standard it once was and that large run totals may be less likely than in years past. Batsmen may have to really work hard for their runs while bowlers may find conditions helpful. It will be the same for both sides and Saturday afternoon will provide the answers.

The team will welcome the return of opening batsman Tom Polkinghorne who has been in fine form and notched up a half century in each of the opening two Premiership One matches. Work commitments caused him to miss last Saturday's match against Ferguslie and his availability for the West match will be a boost for the team.

Professional Rahul Dalal has yet to achieve the large competitive innings of which he is capable. However, this Saturday could be his day and if he does bat well, and for a substantial part of the innings, then the locals could well emerge with a first win of the season.

Of course, it is not a matter of relying on just Dalal scoring runs. Teenager Lukas Fischer-Keogh has demonstrated that he can score runs and at a good pace. Against Dumfries, in the opening league fixture, he scored his first 50 in a senior competitive match for the Club.

Gregor Chambers is another who has shown some early season form with the bat. He has been in double figures in each of the Saturday league matches which have been played, and last Saturday he narrowly missed scoring his first half century of the league season with 45 runs against Ferguslie.

Chirag Pandher batting at number 8 in the Greenock line-up last Saturday demonstrated some of his talent with the bat and formed a fine partnership with Chambers. The pair put on 37 runs with Pandher hitting 18 including a massive six into Fox Street.

And it will be partnerships which the team will look to build during their innings on Saturday at Hamilton Crescent. If they can get off to a sound start and then also manage to form a number of good run-scoring partnerships as the innings develops then a good score will be able to be achieved.

But it is not just runs that need to be scored to bring home the points. A good, disciplined bowling performance will also be needed.

At Glenpark against Ferguslie last weekend there were a number of good signs in the bowling department. No fewer than eight players bowled with captain Greg McDougall and Rahul Dalal both picking up wickets along with other good performances.

If fully fit then Gregor Chambers will provide a pacey opening attack and Chirag Pander showed he could be a useful bowler for the team.

West of Scotland had John Oliver and Kess Sajjad to thank for their winning total against Prestwick last Saturday. Oliver scored a fine 66 not out and former Poloc player Sajjad made 41 runs as one of the side's opening batsmen.

However, West can have a fairly brittle batting line-up and Greenock will be seeking to expose any weaknesses when the teams meet on Saturday.

It is perhaps with the ball that West may be considered most dangerous. John Oliver and the evergreen Dave McNulty will be likely to be their opening bowling attack and they often give little away. Against Prestwick they took seven wickets between them with Oliver 3 wickets and McNulty 4 wickets.

Kess Sajjad chipped in with two wickets to round off a good day for him personally and a fine win for the Hamilton Crescent side.

If these three bowlers can be kept at bay and the side bats well deep into their innings, then winning points might just be brought back down the M8 to Glenpark on Saturday evening.

A number of changes have been made to the team from the eleven that played against Ferguslie but the side does look stronger as a result and as said there are reasonable hopes for a much-needed win. The match starts as usual at 12 noon.

The Glenpark XI narrowly lost their 100% record in the league when the team went down to Glasgow Accies 2nd XI at New Anniesland last week and will hope to get back to winning ways against Clydesdale 4th XI at Glenpark on Saturday afternoon. Skipper Eddie Ahmad is available again and he will lead a strong-looking team in the quest for the winning points. This match will start at 1pm.

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