Greenock in search of second consecutive win

Last Saturday’s excellent win against Drumpellier at Coatbridge has given Greenock a major boost as the last three games of the season lie ahead. Saturday's visitors to Glenpark are McCrea West of Scotland and the local side will be looking to score a second consecutive win as the club continues the quest to free itself from relegation worries. A fine game is in prospect but once again the weather may have the last word.

At Langloan, against Drumpellier last weekend, a much improved batting performance was the key to the seven wicket win. A decent start from openers Shailesh Prabhu and Alex Baum, was cemented by a very fine second wicket partnership of 129 runs by Prabhu and South African professional Mpho Sekhoto. They got in, and stayed in, and the runs gradually flowed as, over by over, they took control of the game and Drumpellier were unable to make a breakthrough until there were just thirty runs needed by Greenock and by then the winning post was well and truly in sight for the Glenparkers.

Prabhu played an excellent innings scoring 79 not out and batted through from first ball to last. He has had a good season considering the interruptions to play and has been the most consistent of the Greenock batsmen. He will be keen to continue his form against West and another good score will be invaluable to the team. South African professional, Sekhoto, has had a difficult time getting used to the conditions in the West of Scotland but in recent matches has begun to show the form that he is capable of and his innings of 46 against Drumpellier will have given him a boost. He will be a key player for Greenock in the next two weeks.

Another player who will play a big role in the remaining three league games is Richie Berrington. Last Saturday he showed his international class by bowling ten overs for just nineteen runs and picking up two wickets. He also held on to two catches and was only required to bat in the very latter part of the innings thanks to the excellent partnership built up by Prabhu and Sekhoto. If the top four batsmen fire tomorrow, then Greenock can look forward to being very competitive against West and the second consecutive win which the team is seeking could well become a reality.

Greenock must also bowl well, and with a full squad Waleed Jamal and Richie Berrington will most likely take the new ball. With their pace they have the ability to upset the McCrea West top order. Pro Mpho Sekhoto has been a regular wicket-taker and can also cause issues for West. Tony Judd may come into the side, and if so, then his bowling experience could prove an important factor in the outcome of the match. Other bowlers who will be likely to feature include Jonathan Hempsey, Greg McDougall and captain Ryan Begley. A reduction in extras must be a major target for Greenock while in the field in order to keep their opponents scoring to a minimum.

West currently occupy third top spot in the CSL Western Premier Division and have managed to complete more matches in the league than any other side. They have lost three times this season, however, and are a side which Greenock, on form, should be targeting to defeat.

Earlier in the season when the sides met at Hamilton Crescent, Greenock lost out to McCrea West in a match which was reduced in length due to a period of heavy rain mid-way through the afternoon. As a result, the Duckworth-Lewis system was required to be used to establish the total which West required to chase after Greenock had posted 136 for 8 at the end of a weather interrupted 37 overs which they had been able to complete. Duckworth-Lewis computed that West needed to score 164 from 37 overs to win and they achieved that with only a few minor alarms. In the end, it was a comfortable win for the Hamilton Crescent team.

The key players in their line-up include experienced former Scottish internationalist Douglas Lockhart , former Middlesex county player Ian Young and former Scottish Saltires pace bowler John Blain. They also have two fine young players in Andrew Umeed and Anjan Luthra in their ranks but Umeed will not be featuring this Saturday as he is part of the Scotland squad currently playing in the Under-19 World Cup in Australia.

The Glenpark XI are away on Saturday to take on the Partick 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 have a long trip to Dumfries ahead of them when they take on St Michaels in the WDCU Sunday League. At Glenpark the Clyde Sharks Under-14 team plays Ayrshire in the Inter-Area Under-14 Championship title decider. This game will start at 2pm and should provide some interesting and entertaining cricket.