Crucial match for Greenock as Uddingston visit Glenpark

Greenock are at home again this week with Uddingston the visitors on this occasion. After last Saturday’s wash-out, the team will be keen to get back on to the field in an attempt to get themselves off the bottom of the league table.

The Lanarkshire team are currently sitting 6th in the CSL Western Premier Division, with a percentage of 36.67 after 2 wins, one of which was against Greenock earlier in the season. Greenock have a percentage of 16.67, having won just the one game and sandwiched between the two teams come Stirling County with a percentage of 24.00. It seems likely that the team to be relegated to the Western First Division will come from one of these three.

It is clear therefore that this will be a crucial game for both teams. A victory for Uddingston would certainly greatly improve their chances of missing the drop whilst correspondingly a win for Greenock would make the final four weeks of the season a nail-biting time for all the teams.

When Greenock and Uddingston met earlier in the season at Bothwell Policies, the home team came out clear winners. Batting first, Uddingston scored 310 for 5, with Scottish internationalist, Calum Macleod, scoring an imperious 127. He got good support from his brother Allan, ex-Greenock player Aamir Gul and professional Ras Priyadarshana. In reply, Greenock never looked like getting anywhere near that total and quickly succumbed to 143 all out with Richie Berrington top scorer with just 29. The wickets were shared around with Priyadarshana, veteran Rickey Bawa, leg-spinner Davy Bill and medium-pacer Gavin Bradley each taking 2 wickets.

With the Scottish Saltires playing at home this Sunday, against Durham at Uddingston, this means that both Richie Berrington and Calum MacLeod will be free to play on Saturday and the outcome of their personal battle could be decisive in determinng the result of the game. With MacLeod coming out on top in the first game, there is even more incentive for Richie to reverse this and see Greenock through to victory. Spectators at Glenpark will be keen to welcome Richie back to the ground after his magnificent match-winning T20 century for Scotland against Bangladesh.

However, it should not be thought that this is a contest between just two players and whilst they are the stand-out performers, the other twenty players will have a key part to play in the game. For Uddingston, professional Priyadarshana is a more than useful perfomer with both bat and ball whilst Ricky Bawa with the ball has been a thorn in Greenock’s side in the past. Gavin Bradley has only played half of Uddingston’s games this year but he is another all-rounder who has caused Greenock problems in the past.

Greenock will again be missing the comforting presence of Shailesh Prabhu at the top of the order which means that Chris Hempsey will need to fill in as Alex Baum’s opening partner. Both are keen to play their strokes and if they can get Greenock off to a strong start then this will give the platform for Berrington and Mpho Sekhoto to build a good score. After them, Ryan Begley and Jonathan Hempsey are the players to give a strong boost in the middle of the order. But whatever happens, Greenock must look to use their full allocation of 50 overs, something which they have failed to do all season. Failure to do so is simply handing their opponents a huge advantage, and it is incumbent on the lower order to ensure that they sell their wickets dearly.

As far as the bowling is concerned, Greenock will be looking to Waleed Jamal to make early inroads into the Uddingston top-order and there will be plenty of backup for him from Berrington, Jonathan Hempsey, Sekhoto and Greg McDougall.

The one thing that neither side can control is the weather. Yet again, there has been significant rainfall in midweek and there can be little doubt that the pitch will be bowler-friendly. The toss may well be important as whoever wins is surely going to want to bowl first.

This is likely to be a closely-fought game. Uddingston have blown hot and cold this year, irrespective of whether MacLeod has played or not, and they are certainly not the force of recent years. But there again, neither are Greenock and every member of their team will need to be at or near the top of his game if victory is to be achieved.

The Glenpark XI travel to Uddingston on Saturday to take on the Bothwell XI. This has been a difficult season for the team with the inability to field a settled side a key factor in a number of disappointing results. Last Saturday they put up a good fight against Cambusdoon, going down by just 2 wickets in a low-scoring game and a similar performance this weekend could see the points brought back to Glenpark. This match is scheduled to start at 1pm.

On Sunday, the Hillend XI have a home friendly against Hamilton, with the match due to start at 2pm. The team have struggled in recent weeks and will be keen to get back to winning ways.