Long Journey North for 1st XI

Greenock make the long journey to Aberdeen to play Stoneywood Dyce on Saturday but do so on the back of a good Scottish Cup win over McCrea West last Sunday. So confidence is raised for the local players as they take on what will be a very testing match against the north east newcomers to the Premiership.

Stoneywood finished in third position in the old SNCL 2 last season and, following the reorganisation of the leagues, became part of the new Premiership set up. They are currently sitting in mid table having gained wins over McCrea West, Tunnocks Uddingston and Greaves Clydesdale. However, last Sunday in the Scottish Cup they lost to Watsonians in a close match which saw the Edinburgh side win through to the third round by just one wicket.

In the Stoneywood ranks are Scottish Internationalists Gordon Goudie and Jan Stander, two players who on their own have the ability to change a game. Goudie has returned to Stoneywood after a spell at McCrea West of Scotland and he will spearhead their bowling along with Ed Willemse as well as provide the potential for runs in the middle order. Stander is a renowned big hitter who usually bats at number four and provides a first change option as a bowler.

Greenock anticipate being without a professional in their line up once again this weekend as the green light has still not been received to allow New Zealander Tim McIntosh into the country. It is a very frustrating situation for the local side who are hugely disadvantaged going into their Premiership matches without a professional or overseas amateur.

Richie Berrington however showed the form that he is capable of in last Sunday’s cup match. The Scottish Internationalist batted with considerable application and scored 51 invaluable runs in an innings which anchored the Greenock reply and allowed others to contribute runs which led to a comfortable win. The same application from the Glenpark players this Saturday will be important as they seek to get a win from their journey to the north east.

Greenock’s current top order batsmen such as Chris Bellwood, who batted well with Berrington on Sunday, Andy Hislop, Willie Rowan and Alex Baum have the talent to score significant runs. Bellwood aside, few of the others have managed to put together a meaningful innings to date this season, but the potential to do so is most certainly there. Ryan Begley, batting at number six, showed on Sunday that with concentration and application runs can come and important match winning partnerships can be built.

It is quite likely that in this week’s match at Stoneywood, a change in the batting order will be considered with the possibility of Andy Hislop dropping down the order to allow Willie Rowan to step up to open the innings along with Bellwood. Greenock have not managed an opening partnership of more than 20 runs in their Premiership matches to date and this poor start to their innings requires some close consideration.

Greenock used six bowlers in last Sunday’s cup win against McCrea West, but while they made a swift and significant dent in the Partick team’s top and middle order to have them 64 for 6 at one point, the bowlers were unable to finish the job as West finished their innings on 145 for 9. This Saturday Willie Rowan returns to the team in place of Dave Sharma but Dougie Wylie is unavailable.

The Glenpark (2nd) XI get back into action after weeks of cancelled matches with a home game against Nunhom, the 2nd XI of Dumfries. Remarkably, the Glenpark XI has played to a finish only two SNCL Reserve League matches so far this season and the most recent of these against Clydesdale 2nd XI was as far back as 30th April. The inclement weather has resulted in every May fixture falling victim to the rain.

On Sunday, the Glenpark XI play Vale of Leven in the Western Cup at Glenpark. What was to have been a three-way T20 day has been reduced to just a single fixture due to Bute County having withdrawn from the competition.

The busy weekend of cricket for the Club is completed by the Hillend (3rd) XI's Sunday League fixture at Helensburgh.

They too will be keen to get on to the field after a few weeks of inaction and they have selected a very youthful looking side for this encounter.