Greenock look to bounce back after last week's loss

Greenock get the chance to put their promotion push back on track this Saturday after last weekend's disappointing loss to Stenhousemuir. The local side have a second successive home match at Glenpark this time against Coatbridge side, Drumpellier.

Last weekend's reversal, might in time prove positive for the Greenock team. It will have made the players consider where mistakes were made during the game and what tactics to employ in future to to try to make sure totals are chased down.

This Saturday's visitors, Drumpellier, have made a good start to their own league season and Greenock will need to be at their best to make sure of a win.

The Coatbridge team easily beat Poloc in their opening league match away at Shawholm and followed that up with another straightforward win at home against Irvine. However, that initial fine start was abruptly halted when they were themselves then very soundly beaten by Stenhousemuir away at The Tryst. And last Saturday, at Renfrew, a good batting performance got the Lanarkshire team back to winning ways against a side who made them work hard for the points.

Gordon Shaw and Chris Keltie were their two top run scorers against Renfrew, each with half centuries as the team won by seven wickets. And with low scores which were easily chased against Poloc and Irvine in their first two matches, their full batting line-up has had only one chance to show what it can do.

That opportunity was a couple of weeks ago. But Drumpellier were easily brushed aside by Stenhousemuir. Only four of the top five batters got into double figures and the last six in the batting order could only manage twelve runs in total as the side slumped to 126 all out chasing Stenny's 210 for 6.

It is perhaps the Drumpellier bowling about which Greenock must take most care. Nicolas Austin, Supeshala Jayathilake and Jordan Pryde have been their attack's most dangerous bowlers. Between them the trio have accounted for 25 out of the total of 36 wickets which the team has taken in the four league matches so far this season.

Last Saturday, Greenock's winning run in the league was halted when the team failed to chase down what to many would have seemed a total (157), at Glenpark, which was well within its capability to score in the second half of the match.

But following a good start to the innings, the Greenock batsmen became over defensive for a substantial period in the middle of the innings and runs dried up. So much so that the 3 runs per over run rate required at the start of the innings had risen to more than 6 runs needed per over with just ten remaining. The necessary run rate then grew to what became an impossible 12 runs per over with just one wicket and four overs of the innings to go.

A valiant last wicket stand led by team captain Greg McDougall took Greenock to within 15 runs of the Stenhousemuir total. But it was not enough. The post-match analysis would not have been difficult to pin point what would have been needed to take the team to victory.

Aussie amateurs Tom Nicholson and Ryan Walker have been key players for Greenock in the league matches to date. The duo have gained success with both bat and ball in the four First Division games played.

Walker is top of the First Division bowling stats with 18 wickets. Nicholson is close behind in fourth top spot with 11 wickets. Nicholson is also second top of the batting stats with 239 runs at an average of 79.67.

In most matches, Gregor Chambers and Sam Sanghera have opened the bowling for Greenock and generally have bowled tidily but with only a little success in terms of wickets. Chambers, with his pace, has been accurate and quite economical but only has two wickets to his credit. Sanghera has been more successful with five wickets to his name.

Walker and Nicholson have been used very successfully as the first change bowlers and have regularly gained the wickets which have disrupted the innings of Greenock's opponents and / or been instrumental in winning the match.

But cricket, many would argue, is a game about scoring runs. In the WDCU First Division, the team with most runs is the winner. So Greenock must focus on building large challenging totals if batting first and having the right tactics to chase down a total when batting second.

On Saturday, Greenock team captain Greg McDougall, will want to see his team bounce back from last weekend's result. Glenpark supporters too will be keen to see a positive all round performance that puts the team back on track to regain a top spot in the league.

McDougall had named a squad of twelve from which he will make his final selection for th ematch which will start at 12 noon as usual.

The Glenpark XI are also at home this weekend, to Renfrew's 3rd XI, in a Fourth Division match. Obviously they cannot play on Saturday so the game has been moved to the following day. Captain Jayaraj Janampally will make his final selection for the game from a squad of fourteen and the team will look for a better performance than was shown last Saturday when they were brushed aside by a strong Anniesland side. The match will start at 12 noon.


Greenock Cricket Club is sponsored this season by Cleaning Supplies 4U.