May 22/23 Weekend Preview

Saturday 22nd May - Greenock v Grange

Greenock return home to Glenpark on Saturday when they entertain high flying unbeaten Grange who currently sit on top of the pile with four wins from four outings.

The ‘Stags’ relinquished their league title last season by less than 2% to surprise package Aberdeenshire but they have hit the road running this year with a series of comfortable victories and some impressive performances especially with the bat. Like the locals, Grange will not feature a Professional as their intended hired hand Kiwi Warren McSkimming cried off injured just before the start of the season with the recurrence of a back complaint but they can still boast a formidable top order even if their bowling can lack penetration.

Youngster Ollie Hairs scored his maiden league century last week against Watsonians and he is backed up by Patel, Maiden, Coles and Smith who can all wield the willow with some degree of competency. Indeed, the enigmatic and extremely likeable Gregor Maiden ran riot a fortnight ago when he posted a remarkable 166no against a not too shabby Dunfermline outfit and as he will freely admit it really depends which Gregor turns up on the day that dictates how he will perform. He has not given up on a recall to the Saltires setup and he will be keen to nudge the selectors in the right direction with another high score.

With Scotland entertaining Kent in Edinburgh on Saturday, both teams are reduced in strength as Greenock lose Berrington and Grange must make do without Neil McCallum. Both players featured heavily last Sunday when Scotland defeated an admittedly poor Leicestershire in the Clydesdale Bank 40 but the Scots outplayed their more illustrious opponents in all facets of the game with Berrington hitting a fine fifty and McCallum seeing them home with some lusty blows. All that being said I believe that the loss of Berrington will be felt more keenly by the home team as he really is the complete all round package.

Greenock will also be without their overseas amateur Courtney Kruger who injured a finger in the defeat to Carlton last Saturday and a subsequent x-ray confirmed the worst as he will be out for a minimum of five weeks with a broken digit. However the locals can still field a decent batting lineup themselves with McIntosh, Prabhu, Hislop, McLaren and the in-form Baum all capable of putting bat to ball and posting a score.

Greenock President David Campbell remained upbeat and philosophical regarding the injury to Kruger and the loss of Berrington to Scotland duty and he too saw much to admire and be positive about last weekend in the defeat to Carlton. Pragmatic as ever he stated that “Whilst circumstances have conspired against us this weekend it gives the other players an opportunity to grasp the nettle and show what they can do.” A sentiment which most Greenock supporters would undoubtedly agree with.

GCC would like to thank Ball Sponsor Bill & Helen Crawford, Match Sponsor Graham & Agnes White and Presidential Suite Sponsor The Winter Club.

Saturday 22nd May - Active Life v Glenpark XI

The Glenpark XI will be keen to make up for the disappointment of losing their unbeaten league record last Saturday when they head up to Glasgow to take on Active Life, a Govanhill-based sports integration project.

This will be a hard game for the locals, as their opponents sit just above them in the league, the Glenparkers having forfeited their top place to currently sit fifth in what is a very tight league indeed. The team selection is currently not known.

Sunday 23rd May - 1st XI v Ayr

The 1st XI begin their defence of the West League Cup with a home tie against Ayr on Sunday. The visitors have made a good start to their Division 1 campaign, after their relegation from the Premier Division last season. With a good mix of youth and experience, backed up by the classy batting of Michael Papps, they will present a difficult obstacle for Greenock to overcome. Indeed, Ayr have already demonstrated this when they demolished Greenock by 10 wickets in a pre-season friendly. The Greenock team selection is broadly the same as that for the Saturday fixture against Grange.

Sunday 23rd May - Prestwick v Hillend XI

The Hillend XI head down the coast to Prestwick on Sunday for their second fixture of the season. Last Sunday, the youthful side met a very strong Clydesdale team and struggled to come to terms with them. It was disappointing to see Clydesdale field their overseas amateur in this fixture, especially as they had been told beforehand that Hillend would be a young side. However, the Hillend XI is viewed very much as a development XI and actual results are not as important as the chance to give the upcoming talent in the club to chance to experience a longer format of the game,