The 1st XI need to build on first league victory

The 1st XI return to Glenpark this Saturday after gaining their first league win of the 2023 season against West of Scotland at Hamilton Crescent last weekend. Opponents for round 5 of the Western Premiership One are Prestwick who were runners-up in the Premier League last season but who have had a faltering start this year.

There are no easy games in the top flight and Prestwick, who pre-season were one of the teams reckoned to be possible title contenders once again, have managed only one win out of their opening four Premiership One matches.

The home team too had a disappointing start to their competitive fixtures with no league or cup wins in the opening weeks of the season. But that changed with a first round Rowan Cup victory over East Kilbride followed two days later by a Premiership One win against fourth top West of Scotland last Saturday.

Confidence is a key factor in sport and in cricket good team performances often lead to positive personal performances. And certainly there is a positive feeling among the players at Glenpark after last weekend's win.

Inidan professional Rahul Dalal scored a brilliant unbeaten century against West which will have done his confidence a power of good as he settles into playing cricket in Scottish conditions. Others in the side should be encouraged by his unbeaten century and determined to step up and get runs to assist the team to compete in the Premiership Division.

This Saturday against Prestwick will be a test of that determination. The Ayrshire side have been one of the top sides in the Premier League for a number of seasons and although they have had a stumbling start to the league programme, there should be no doubt that this is still a team with a lot of experience and ability.

In their opening match of the season, Prestwick lost in a very high-scoring match to near neighbours and current Premiership leaders Ayr by just six runs. Chasing 239 Prestwick scored 233 all out.

Next up was a trip to last season's Premier League winners Ferguslie and a second defeat was the outcome, his time by the larger margin of 51 runs.

In round three, opponents West of Scotland returned back to Glasgow with the winning points as Prestwick ended up 41 runs short of their 202 target.

But last Saturday, just like Saturday's opponents, the Ayrshire team got their first Premiership One win of the 2023 season against Clydesdale at their home ground, The Henry Thow Oval.

Although having just one win from four, it is worth recognising that three out of their opening four opponents are recognised as being regular top half of the table teams and Ayr are currently leading the league table. Also, Prestwick have picked up a total of 15 bonus points from their three losses while the Glenparkers have only gathered in 3.

The key player in their side is team captain and former professional Sachin Chaudhary. He is well known to Greenock players and supporters and is an all rounder who leads his team by example. With 147 league runs and 7 wickets to his name in the four matches played, he is a player that needs to be kept quiet on Saturday.

Among others to watch out for are the Ayrshire side's two South African amateurs Donovan Du Randt and Matthew van der Mescht and also top order bat Euan McBeth.

The 1st XI have yet to get a settled opening batting partnership due to availability issues And that will continue to be the case against Prestwick. Harry Briggs is unavailable and so Tom Polkinghorne will likely open with either Lukas Fischer-Keogh or Shailesh Prabhu. Prabhu is an experienced opening bat and may be the player to be given the job by team captain Greg McDougall.

Whatever McDougall decides the opening duo to be, it will be important for them to try and get the innings off to a sound start. Putting runs on the board without the loss of a wicket through the first ten to fifteen overs would help to lay a good foundation for the innings.

Thereafter, Rahul Dalal, Lukas Fischer-Keogh and Gregor Chambers provide a middle order which can add significant runs. And there are still others such as McDougall himself, Chirag Pandher, Sam Sanghera and Jamie Nowell from whom runs can be expected.

A couple of changes have been made to last week's winning side. Shailesh Prabhu and Jamie Nowell are added to the side in place of the unavailable Harry Briggs and Cammy Calder.

As usual, Saturday's match will start at 12 noon.

The Glenpark XI gained their third win out of four league matches played in the Championship Division Three last Saturday against Clydesdale Cavaliers. This Saturday, the team face a trip to Glasgow to play Woodfarm who have had a good start to the league season and are unbeaten. The Glasgow southsiders will present a more difficult challenge to the Glenpark XI than has been the case in most of the earlier matches but the selected eleven will fancy their chances of further success.

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