Tim McIntosh arrives at last

Greenock travel to Ayr for a three way T20 festival day on Saturday but will be viewing Sunday’s Scottish Cup tie against Greaves Clydesdale at Glenpark as their main mission for this weekend. There are no Premiership fixtures this weekend, instead Cricket Scotland have organised regional based T20 matches with either three or four clubs drawn to play each other at grounds chosen for their geographical suitability. Greenock will face Ayr and Dumfries at New Cambusdoon, Ayr.

In for these two days of cricket comes Tim McIntosh, the Kiwi test opening bat, who arrives in Greenock on Fridayfollowing his long flight from New Zealand. After almost four weeks of waiting to get his visa agreed, he finally got the document at the beginning of this week and quickly got his journey to the UK organised. McIntosh will have no time to recover from his journey however, as he will wish to get some time in the middle on Saturday in preparation for the main event, which is the Scottish Cup tie on Sunday.

McIntosh already knows what it is to be a winner of the national cup competition. In 2007, during his first season as professional at Greenock he was part of the team which defeated Carlton at Meikleriggs on a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon in August. He will certainly remember the open –topped bus journey back down the M8 from Paisley as the celebrations got well under way.

All 31 SNCL clubs are taking part in Saturday’s first ever Murgitroyd T20 Festival.  Murgitroyd & Company, who have sponsored the regional and national T20 competition for the last three years have extended their partnership with Cricket Scotland to cover the inaugural T20 Festival. The groups of three will play a round robin event, with the groups of 4 playing two semi finals and a final. The regional groupings will ensure plenty of local rivalry at each venue and hopefully attract good crowds to support their local teams.

While undoubtedly looking to do well, Greenock will be keen to simply get some much needed match practice as opportunities to play have been severely limited over the last number of weeks due to the incessant rainfall.

Scottish internationalist Richie Berrington is not available for Saturday but does play on Sunday. Back after a trip abroad is young Alex Baum who will feature in both weekend matches and into the T20 team comes Phil McIntosh who has had several good performances for the Glenpark XI.

Greenock will kick off the festival with a match against Ayr at 11.00am and they will follow this with a game against Dumfries.

Clydesdale will present a formidable test for Greenock in Sunday’s Scottish Cup match. Whilst their league performances have been somewhat mixed, they possess a number of players who are capable of winning games on their own, such as current internationalist Majid Haq and good young players like Omer Hussain and Zeeshan Bashir. Professional Nazeer Hussain has started to settle in and shows signs of being an accomplished bowler, as witnessed by his 5 for 55 for the Cricket Scotland Cavaliers against the Scotland Lions in the recent three-day trial match. Majid Haq also took 5 wickets in this match in a marathon spell of class off-spin bowling.

On Saturday, the Glenpark XI travel to Renfrew to play Moorcroft in a SNCL Reserve League fixture. The local side will be keen to get back into a winning way after suffering a defeat to Torrance House last weekend, however, the team likely to take to the field will show quite a number of changes to last week’s line up due to a number of availability issues. Out from last week’s side are Mark Robertson, Dougie Moore, Jonathan Hempsey, Greg McDougall, Phil McIntosh and John MacNab. The Glenpark XI therefore go into Saturday’s game at Renfrew with a much less experienced side.

The Hillend XI should have been playing a League fixture at Paisley against Ferguslie 3rd XI on Sunday. However due to Ferguslie’s delayed 2nd round Scottish Cup tie against local Paisley rivals Kelburne being played at Meikleriggs on this day, a new date will have to be found for this match.