Greenock go in search of important win at Langloan

At long last, the weather looks set to provide conditions which will allow cricket to take place this weekend when Greenock travel to Drumpellier’s ground, Langloan, in Coatbridge. After what seems like an eternity of cloud and rain, the forecast this weekend is for the spell of warm, dry and sunny weather to continue over Saturday and Sunday.

The match against Drumpellier is pretty much a must win match for the Glenparkers as, with just four league games remaining in the season, the team is anchored at the foot of the CSL Premier Division West and only at least two wins from these will provide some possibility of avoiding relegation.

Looking for positives, Greenock will note that their one win in the CSL Western Premier Division so far this season was achieved against tomorrow’s opposition Drumpellier when the sides met at Glenpark on the first Saturday in June. On that occasion Greenock posted a score in excess of 200 runs and then bowled out Drumpellier for less than 150 runs. It was a good win and, at the time, it was hoped that the victory would act as a springboard to further successes. Unfortunately, only two further league matches have managed to be completed by Greenock since then due to the almost constant wet weather which has plagued the country.

For Saturday’s match, Greenock will field a near full strength side. Richie Berrington is available to play and if he has been able to throw off a niggling injury, then his contribution to the match has the potential to be of considerable significance. Since his record breaking T20 century for Scotland against Bangladesh, Berrington has been nursing a calf strain and he is pushing hard to get 100% fit for Saturday. Berrington did not play against Drumpellier in June due to his Scotland commitments and his abilities with both bat and ball will add strength to the Greenock team at a time when it is badly needed.

Back into the side after a couple of weeks unavailability is opening bat Shailesh Prabhu who has shown good form in several matches this season. Prabhu is an experienced opener and along with Scotland Under-19 squad player Alex Baum, has forged a top order partnership which has given Greenock a decent start in several of the matches which have been able to take place during this miserable, wet summer. At Glenpark, against Drumpellier in June, these two had an opening partnership of 91 which has been the best start Greenock have had all season. A repeat of this would set the innings up nicely.

South African professional Mpho Sekhoto is keen to complete his final few weeks with Greenock by showing the form he knows he is capable of and getting a big innings for the team. A good score from Sekhoto, or any other player, would undoubtedly allow Greenock to post a significant total and hopefully lead to a win at Langloan.

Drumpellier have gained three very good wins in recent weeks and will be full of confidence for Saturday’s game. Having languished at the foot of the Premier Division West for the first part of the season these wins against Uddingston, Stirling County and McCrea West have lifted the Coatbridge side to a secure mid-table position. Greenock now need to emulate the Coatbridge team’s recent success.

The danger men in the Drumpellier batting line-up that Greenock must seek to control are Asad Mohammed, Graeme McLaren and Rashid Yousaf. These players have been the main run scorers in the recent winning run for the Langloan team, with Mohammed in particular in fine form with 54, 63 and 80 in the last three games. McLaren has had a 45 not out and 32 while Yousaf notched 101 not out against Stirling County.

In the bowling department, Drumpellier possess a number of players who are in good form but none more so than Alistair Rawlinson. In the last three matches he has returned figures of 2 for 10 from 10 overs, 3 for 13 from 10 overs and 0 for 8 from 6 overs......or, if you like, 5 for 31 from 26 overs which is a quite outstanding performance. Rawlinson will probably be first change after opening bowlers Nazar Hussain and young Abdul Sabri both of whom are likely to offer runs to Greenock’s openers but who also have picked up some wickets recently.

So it is “stand up and be counted time” for Greenock. This game is a must win for the Glenparkers and each player in the side needs to perform to his best in order to bring back the points. In particular, Greenock must bat much better than has been the case for much of the season. Too many times the side has failed to bat through the 50 overs and as a result opposition teams have not been set a testing total to chase or Greenock have been unable to hunt down a total to win. Patience, concentration and commitment must be the watch words as the team approaches these last few crucial matches of the season.

The Glenpark XI are at home this Saturday when they welcome Drumpellier's 2nd XI, the Langloan XI in the CSL Reserve League. No team selection has been finalised as yet, due to the continuing problems of player availability. This match is scheduled to start at 1pm.

On Sunday, the Hillend XI are at home to Helensburgh in the WDCU Sunday League with the match due to start at 2pm.