August 21 / August 22 Weekend Preview

Saturday 21st August- 1st XI v Dunfermline

Greenock play their last home game of a challenging season on Saturday when they entertain a strong looking Dunfermline outfit who have already hammered them by 270 runs in the corresponding fixture back in late June.

Having secured a tremendous victory last Saturday when they chased down an unlikely 268 to defeat Forfarshire the confidence levels of the locals will at least have been replenished and a repeat of that freakish June result will hopefully be most unlikely.

Dunfermline were promoted last term and have acquitted themselves admirably in their first season in the big leagues lying in third place behind Watsonians and Grange with eleven wins from their sixteen fixtures. In South African professional, and now captain, Alistair Gray they possess one of the most potent all round talents in the league as the statistics testify. To date with the bat he has scored 961 runs at an average of just under 74 with five centuries and four half-centuries whilst with the ball each of his 22 league victims have only cost about 19. He is undoubtedly the star of the team however he has been more than ably backed up by his team mates most notably Gotham Rai, Gray's predecessor as captain, Vasu Reddy, Safyaan Sharif and Apajarit Singh. They are a well balanced side with plenty of options and they will arrive at Glenpark for their inaugural Premier League outing with absolutely no fears. If they do have an Achilles heel it may well be their temperament which has seen them bowled out for a couple of very low scores including a paltry 66 a mere fortnight ago.

Greenock will again be without Richie Berrington who, if truth be told, going strictly by the numbers can consider himself extremely fortunate to still be featuring for the Saltires as the beginning of his depressing run of low scores and expensive, wicket-less spells can probably be tracked back to roughly the same time when he was being chased by a number of the English Counties. He performed outstandingly for Scotland prior to all of the disruptive talk and speculation and the young man has to try and clear these demons from his head and demonstrate what he can do. Scotland decamp to the darkest north of Aberdeen to continue their pursuit of the unachievable when they play Hampshire on Saturday and Leicestershire on Sunday in the Clydesdale Bank40 and we wish Richie all the very best.

Rowan, Begley, Bellwood and Hislop all demonstrated their obvious talents last weekend and the home supporters will be hoping for more of the same. With all of the wet weather about this week, the earlier start time of 12pm and the forecast for the overhead conditions to improve as the day gets older the toss will prove to be a vital component and McLaren will be praying that his counterpart calls incorrectly as batting second may well be the order of the day. Prabhu will be missing at the top of the order through injury so Begley should get another chance to carry on his good work of last week and indeed he may well be worth a longer term punt as a regular opener.

Betfair has Greenock at 5-1 on the exchanges for the victory and as we all know to our financial chagrin the bookies do possess this very nasty habit of being able to call it right as the visitors will arrive as firm and justifiable favourites but as last week proved, anything can happen in cricket and it normally does. Incidentally the Forfarshire side were held back in their dressing room for a full 45 minute post match post mortem by captain Watson with the sound of head scratching clearly audible in the bar. Welcome to our world, Ryan, welcome to our world.

GCC would like to thank Ball Sponsor – Gordon McQuat, Match Sponsor – Duncan MacKenzie Quality Butchers and Presidential Suite Sponsor – ECL Group

Sunday 22nd August - Weirs v Hillend XI

The Hillend XI, who have had a somewhat fractured season, travel up to Glasgow to take on Weirs at Albert Park.