1st XI must get back on winning form against East Renfrewshire

The 1st XI make a welcome return to Glenpark on Saturday having spent much of the month of May on the road'. The team has been north to Aberdeen and South to Dumfries with matches in Glasgow and Ayrshire (twice) also on their recent schedule.

This Saturday's opponents in the Western Premiership Two are East Renfrewshire against whom the local side have never previously played competitively. So it will be a unique occasion.

Having lost to Kilmarnock last weekend, a win over East Renfrewshire is a must for the side in order to keep alive their prospects of challenging for a promotion place at the end of the season.

In near perfect conditions last Saturday at the Scott Ellis Playing Fields, the team lost by two wickets to promotion chasing rivals Kilmarnock. Having made a useful start to their innings, they failed to capitalise and ended with a total well short of the 220 plus runs which might have earlier been expected.

Kilmarnock then overhauled their target of 187 thanks very largely to an outstanding innings of 95 runs from opener Adrian Maritz.

So Saturday's match has a lot riding on it. The teamk must win to get their season back on track. A loss simply cannot be contemplated.

Opponents East Renfrewshire gained promotion to the Western Premiership Two at the end of the 2022 season but finished season 2023 at the bottom end of the league table with just three wins from eleven matches completed.

So far this season, the visitors have won two matches against Hillhead and Glasgow Accies and lost heavily to Renfrew and Dumfries. There have been no real stand out players in the East Ren side although Wajid Zaman and Ali Qazi have both made one half century each in the matches played and Ali Ejaz has had one five wicket haul.

The 1st XI have also won just two of the four league matches completed this season, and the wins have come against the same two sides, Hillhead and Glasgow Accies, both of whom are currently occupying the bottom two places in the league table.

The side's achilles heel has been their batting form. Their two Australian amateurs have performed well and are both in the top ten run-scorers for the league. Nowlan has scored 216 runs with an average of 72 and Tolhurst 149 average 50.

Apart from these two players, no other batter has made any real impression and that is where the problem lies. More runs are needed from the others in the team.

Greater application and time spent out in the middle must be the aim for the batters and, if that can be achieved, then more runs will flow.

The East Renfrewshire bowling attack has not been the most fearful in the league so far with their opposition scoring well in the matches played - Renfrew (267), Hillhead (143), Dumfries (310) and Glasgow Accies (194).

So this Saturday should be an opportunity for the 1st XI batters to spend time at the crease and score runs.

The bowlers have fared better in the league and, unless East Renfrewshire's batting suddenly improves, then wickets should be picked up relatively cheaply especially if the two batters mentioned earlier, Zaman and Qazi, are out early.

Once again Nowlan and Tolhurst head the bowling figures and could add to their wicket haul against East Renfrewshire. But team captain Greg McDougall has others who will need to bowl and have showed that they too can have success. Usman Mansoor, Sam Sanghera, Chirag Pandher and McDougall himself.

A number of changes from last Saturday's line-up at Kilmarnock have been to this week's selected eleven. Harry Briggs, PJ Bryceland and Chris Hempsey are unavailable and into the team come Shailesh Prabhu, Mo Ahmadzai and new-comer Isuru Dissanayaka.

The match against East Renfrewshire gives the 1st XI an opportunity to get back to winning form and, if the weather plays its part, then a third league win should be achieved at Glenpark come Saturday evening.

The Glenpark XI are off on their travels this week, heading over the water to Rothesay to take on Bute & Cowal. The latter have made a mixed start to their season, with some big wins balanced by some heavy losses. Eddie Ahmad's men are likely to come up against some ex-Greenock players, such as Louis Ware and William Goan and the wicket of the former may be key as he has an innings of 182 not outalready to his name. The team will also need to be on better batting form than they showed last week against Mearns 2nd XI.

Both games will start as usual at 12 noon.

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