Busy weekend ahead at Glenpark

Greenock have a busy weekend with both a Premiership match and a Scottish Cup tie to play. On Saturday, third top Heriots travel through to Glenpark from the capital city, while on Sunday, McCrea FS West provide the opposition for an all Premiership second round Scottish Cup tie, also at Glenpark.

With little cricket having been played during the month of May, Greenock will start Saturday’s match at some disadvantage to Heriots who have played all five of their Premiership games. The most recent two weekends have been a washout here in the west of Scotland while over in the east, drier conditions have enabled clubs to get their games on. The local side last played on the second Saturday of May at Hamilton Crescent in Glasgow when a win was gained over McCrea West .

Greenock will be further disadvantaged this weekend as Aussie pro Luke Butterworth has returned home to join the Australia “A” squad in a training camp prior to their tour of Zimbabwe, leaving the team without a professional for these two very important matches. Efforts to get New Zealander Tim McIntosh here in time to take Butterworth’s place have been thwarted by the UK Border Agency’s red tape and seeming lack of urgency.

So it will require the available squad of players to step up to the mark on both days and produce the form of which they are capable in order to produce the positive results which they, and Greenock’s sizeable support, will be seeking.

Greenock’s bowlers showed at West that they can cause damage to an opposition batting line up when they reduced the Partick men to 56 for 8 quite early in their innings. Another performance like that against this week’s visitors Heriots must be the Glenpark men’s target. Chris Bellwood and Jonathan Hempsey, who between them did the damage at Hamilton Crescent, will be among the bowlers being looked to for a repeat performance. Willie Rowan and Richie Berrington will also undoubtedly feature large in the Greenock bowling attack along with the vastly experienced Dougie Wylie.

It is with the bat, however, that Greenock must develop greater confidence. The home team batsmen must learn to be patient and build partnerships which in turn will develop scores which are competitive and give the team a chance of victory. Richie Berrington, in the absence of an overseas professional in the team’s ranks this weekend, will be the player from whom much will be anticipated as he has the ability and experience to make the big score which could give Greenock a major advantage.

Heriots will play two former Greenock players in their side in Saturday’s match. Adam Lockhart-Krause who was overseas amateur at Glenpark just two seasons ago is now with the Edinburgh club and he has made a very fine start to the season with over 300 runs to his name in the five matches played, including 2 fifties and a century. Sean Weeraratna who was in Greenock’s Scottish Cup winning side in 2007, is a also a potent force for Heriots with both bat and ball and the local side will need to have a clear game-plan to ensure he does not have a productive return to Glenpark.

On Sunday, it is the second round of the Scottish Cup. Five time winners of the national trophy since 2002, Greenock will be keen to progress into round three with a win over McCrea FS West and having had a good victory over the Glasgow side just a few weeks back, there is an anticipation that a sound team performance will lead to progress in this season’s competition.

The West of Scotland side has a number of fine players. Opening batsman Douglas Lockhart, who has only recently retired from the international scene having amassed 178 caps and scored almost 3600 runs, will be a key member of their team along with Ian Young who was on the Middlesex playing staff for a number of years. Another player of significant talent Greenock will be wary of is U/18 youngster Andrew Umeed who has become a fixture in the West 1st XI due to his ability with both bat and ball. Professional at West is Colin de Grandhomme. In the match earlier in the season he made a good start to his innings but then became one of Chris Bellwood’s five victims on the day.

The Greenock team will be without Willie Rowan for this one and of course will have no professional in their side. It will therefore take all players to produce of their best to keep Greenock’s fine record in this competition upheld.

As regards the weather which has been so much in the cricketing headlines in recent weeks, at long last the outlook for the weekend is favourable and cricket should be able to be played in pleasant, warm and sunny conditions.

The match, like Saturday's game will start at 1.00pm.

The Glenpark and Hillend XIs both have a blank weekend, which is somewhat unfortunate when the weather is forecast to be at least dry.