Greenock in positive mood for trip to Ayr

Greenock will put last weekend’s defeat to Dumfries behind them when they travel to New Cambusdoon to meet Local Life Ayr this Saturday. Instead, the team’s focus will be on the very positive, all round team performance two weeks ago which produced an excellent win in Glasgow against Poloc. On that occasion, several good innings from Greenock batsmen enabled a total in excess of two hundred runs to be accumulated and then in the field the bowlers dominated the Poloc batsmen from the start.

Overseas amateur Craig Schlebusch was a key player for Greenock on that day with 108 not out and he also bowled 10 overs with his attacking, fast left arm seamers and took 2 wickets for 29 runs. Craig required to return home to South Africa after the Poloc match for personal reasons, but confirmation was received at the beginning of this week that he is flying back to Scotland to arrive Friday lunchtime, and will be available to play on Saturday. This is a hugely encouraging piece of good news for the Glenpark side and will give the team an added boost as the players seek to get back on to a winning way.

With Scottish Saltires internationalist Richie Berrington also available, and more or less a full squad to choose from, Greenock will travel to Burns’ Country in very positive mood. The batting line-up, which failed to fire last week, must look to the top order to build a solid base and then the middle order to push on and get the sort of total which was gained at Poloc in the Scottish Cup. New Cambusdoon is well regarded as a ground for runs, so the Greenock batsmen must get themselves in and then make the most of the scoring conditions.

Pro Mpho Sekhoto was looking in good form at Glenpark last Saturday before an unfortunate LBW decision surprised both him and the supporters and prevented him from going on to get a good score under his belt. Sekhoto will be keen to get the chance to score runs on Saturday and the conditions at New Cambusdoon will hopefully allow him to do just that. Richie Berrington, too, will want to get runs in advance of his Scottish Saltires match on Sunday against top English county side, Hampshire, in the CB40 series at Bothwell Policies in Uddingston. With Craig Schlebusch, Alex Baum, Shailesh Prabhu, Ryan Begley and Jonathan Hempsey also all capable batsmen, the Greenock line up, at least on paper, gives hope for runs a plenty.

Giving some further strength in depth this weekend is the inclusion of 2nd XI captain Chris Hempsey who last week scored a fifty against Dumfries 2nd XI at Nunholm, and also young Neil Flack who has scored over 200 runs in 2nd XI and age group games already this season.

Greenock captain Ryan Begley will have plenty of options in the field with three pace bowlers in Waleed Jamal, Berrington and Schlebusch plus change options from Jonathan Hempsey, pro Mpho Sekhoto, Greg McDougall and also young Neil Flack to choose from. It is also a side which can field well and so Local Life Ayr will be up against a good all round Greenock side.

The New Cambusdoon team made a poor start to their Cricket Scotland League Premier Division West programme last Saturday when they were on the wrong end of a 9 wicket hammering from McCrea West of Scotland. They were shot out for just 75 runs, with former Scotland and Yorkshire county pace man John Blain cashing in with 5 wickets for just 11 runs.

The Local Life Ayr team also performed poorly in their opening three Scottish Cup sectional matches losing to Freuchie by three wickets, losing to Stenhousemuir by 101 runs and also losing to Forfarshire by 9 wickets. So the men from Ayr have yet to win a competitive Saturday match in the 2012 season.

However, Greenock should beware of taking this game anything other than very professionally from the outset, as Local Life Ayr have a number of players who are capable, on their day, of inflicting damage on either batsmen or bowlers.

Andy and Scott McElnea are experienced at Premier Division level and are useful with both bat and ball. Dougie Johnstone too has been known to score runs and take wickets against Greenock over the years and Mark Renny is a very capable middle order bat. . Others who can offer strength to the Local Life Ayr team are Richard Borland, Ross Mitchell, Neil Smith and Christopher Preece, while the New Cambusdoon side also has a number of young up and coming players in Elliot Spiers, Callum Leck and Callum McLaughlin.

Local Life Ayr will want to change their playing fortunes thus far in the 2012 season this weekend, but Greenock must ensure that there is no opportunity for that to happen. The Glenpark side knows how to win this season and must turn the screw on an Ayr side which has failed to find any form in recent weeks.

The match starts at 12noon.

The Glenpark XI, will be looking to bounce back quickly from last week's disappointing defeat to Nunholm down in Dumfries when they take on the Cambusdoon XI at Glenpark and they will look to do so under the wise guidance of Dave 'The Snake' Sharma, who is captaining the team whilst Chris Hempsey gets his chance to shine with the big boys. The team selection includes many of the Club's most promising young players, who it is hoped will learn, and quickly, from this experience of playing at a senior level. This match starts at 1.00pm.

The Hillend XI play Irvine in a WDCU Sunday League fixture at Glenpark, starting at 2pm. Under skipper Kevin Flack, the team have enjoyed an unbeaten start to the season so far and the squad chosen for this match will be keen to maintain this run. Again, a healthy mix of the young and old make up the team selection.