Greenock aim to beat Drumpellier and stay at the top

Newly installed as First Division league leaders following a fine win over the previously undefeated Stenhousemuir last Saturday at The Tryst ground in Larbert, Greenock are once again on the road this weekend.

It is the third successive Saturday that the team has been away from Glenpark. Opponents this weekend are fourth placed Drumpellier at their Langloan ground in Coatbridge.

Greenock will travel through to Coatbridge full of confidence after winning last week's top of the table clash. However, the players will know that Drumpellier will be no easy team to beat and will need to be at their best to gain the win needed to keep them on track for the league title.

The Glenpark team has now won eleven out of the twelve matches completed and edged ahead of Stenhousemuir by just 0.29%. So there can be no slips in the last four matches of the league season.

Drumpellier have had a decent season and have won eight out of the twelve matches which they have completed. However, the four losses have come against the top three teams in the league Stenhousemuir (twice), Greenock and Kilmarnock. Greenock won the June encounter at Glenpark by 8 wickets.

But the Coatbridge side will almost certainly provide a competitive game on their own patch and be keen to knock Greenock off their newly gained top of the league position.

When the teams met at Glenpark on the first Saturday in June, Drumpellier had lost just once and were looking like being possible promotion candidates. But the defeat by Greenock dented their aspirations and two more losses since then have made a return to the Premier Division unlikely.

Drumpellier won the toss in the early June encounter, opted to bat and were going well until they lost their third wicket in the 27th over with 99 runs on the scoreboard. Their batting line-up then disintegrated and the team was all out for just 126. Gordon Shaw with 32 and Barbadian amateur Nic Austin with 46 were the only Drumps batsmen to score any runs of note on the day.

Greenock captured the wicket of Sri Lankan professional Supeshala Jayathilake for just 14 runs, but since then he has shown that he is a player who they will do well to dismiss early once again on Saturday. Jayathilake is the third highest run scorer in the First Division. The left hand bat has scored 477 runs, with his highest score being 103 v Hillhead, and averages 79.5.

29 year old Jayathilake is also a useful slow left arm bowler and has taken 17 league wickets. But it is Barbadian amateur Nic Austin who is Drumps leading bowler with 21 wickets. Jordan and Darren Pryde will be two others who will be part of the Langloan side's attack on Saturday.

Greenock's selected team for Saturday's match show a couple of changes from the eleven who defeated Stenhousemuir with the experienced Chris Hempsey plus Tom Forrest replacing the unavailable PJ Bryceland and Jonathan Hempsey.

As ever, Greenock's two Australian amateurs Tom Nicholson and Ryan Walker will be important players for the team on Saturday. Both are fine batsmen and are second and fourth in the First Division stats for run scoring. Nicholson has 568 runs at an average of 56.8 while Walker has scored 446 runs at an average of 89.2, the highest in the league.

And Nicholson and Walker also feature in the top three of the league's bowling stats. Walker has 42 wickets and Nicholson 29.

But to get to the top of the league has not simply been the result of the efforts of the two Aussie amateurs. Others in the team have played their part as the season has progressed. Pace bowler Gregor Chambers has bowled consistently well but has not had the wickets his consistency deserves. Last Saturday at The Tryst, Chambers led the Greenock attack, bowled 7 overs and conceded just 7 runs but did not get a wicket.

Ewan Stewart has moved between the 1st XI and 2nd XI and has regularly done an important job for the team. No more so than last Saturday when he captured the wickets of Stenhousemuir's two overseas players in the space of three balls in his second over.

Team captain Greg McDougall has been an ever present and has picked up a number of important wickets as well as stepping in to score runs in the lower order of the batting line-up.

And Lukas Fischer-Keogh, Harry Briggs and Gregor Chambers have been batsmen who have contributed important runs for the team in numerous games during the season. Briggs has established himself at number three in the batting line-up and has scored almost 300 league runs in 2022.

Greg McDougall said, "Last week's win against Stenhousemuir was a huge one for the team. However, we can't let up. Drumpellier have an experienced side and have been playing well this season. Every player in the team this Saturday will be giving 100%. We need to emulate what we did last weekend to stay top of the league."

The match on Saturday at Coatbridge will start at the usual time of 12 noon.

The Glenpark XI are at home again this week in a rearranged match against Bees. The match was originally to be played at the beginning of July in Glasgow but had to be cancelled. Bees kindly agreed to replay the game at Glenpark which was free this Saturday. After the team ran Anniesland close last week, this week's selection will be keen to go that bit further this week and record the victory. The match will start at 12 noon.


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