Greenock look to get off the mark against Poloc

Greenock travel to Glasgow on Saturday to play Poloc in a Scottish Cup sectional tie at the picturesque Shawholm ground which is contained within Pollok Park close to the location of the famous Burrell Collection.

This is third of the first round sectional games and Greenock go into this match with just one point from the first two fixtures and, despite two of the other sides in the section not having played a game, the Glenpark team still finds itself bottom out of the four Section E teams. Both Falkland and Poloc have gained a point from each of their two games cancelled due to weather, While Carlton occupy top spot with three points by virtue of their win over Greenock last weekend, plus one point gained from their weather abandoned match two weeks ago. Greenock have just one point resulting from their cancelled match with Falkland.

Craig Schlebusch

Player availability remains an early season issue for Greenock as the local side struggles to get its best side into action. On the plus side, overseas amateur Craig Schlebusch has arrived from South Africa and will play on Saturday against Poloc and it is also anticipated that fellow South African, professional Mpho Sekhoto will also be available. He now has his visa and is expected to arrive in Scotland at Friday lunchtime. On the debit side, out is Greenock’s number one amateur player, Richie Berrington. He is in the Scottish Saltires team to play Surrey on Sunday in Edinburgh in the first of this season’s CB40 matches and is not being released by Scotland to play for Greenock on Saturday. Also unavailable for the trip to Poloc is Greenock captain Ryan Begley who is committed to Greenock Juniors until the end of the soccer season.

Shailesh Prabhu will assume leadership of the side which travels to Glasgow, and he will be keen to see those who are in the team step up to the mark and put in performances which will bring a first competitive victory of the 2012 season.

On the bowling front, South African amateur Craig Schlebusch, who is a left arm seam bowler, will almost certainly lead the attack with paceman Waleed Jamal. Also providing back up to these two will be Jonathan Hempsey, who captured the wicket of Scotland’s most capped internationalist Fraser Watts last Saturday, Mark Robertson , Greg McDougall and Sam Sanghera.

Against Carlton, Greenock showed some good signs in the field and might have had the Edinburgh side in some trouble if there had been a larger total for them to chase. Five wickets were picked up and there was a good team spirit evident as the side sought to gain some self respect after failing to post a score that was going to give the Edinburgh side great difficulty in chasing.

Greenock’s downfall against last season’s champions was in the batting department. After a decent start with 55 runs on the board for the loss of just one wicket, and Alex Baum and Richie Berrington seemingly in control, Greenock’s collapse was of almost earthquake proportions. Nine wickets fell for just 32 runs as batsman after batsman was unable to stand firm particularly against the left arm pace of Carlton’s Australian amateur Michael Herdman who returned the stats of 5 wickets for just 6 runs.

On Saturday at Shawholm against Poloc, the Greenock batsman will be asked to show more application when in the middle and build a total, if batting first, to seriously test their opposition. Shailesh Prabhu and Alex Baum may well team up as openers with professional Sekhoto, Mark Robertson, Craig Schlebusch, Jonathan Hempsey and Christopher Hempsey making up the middle order. It will be from these seven in particular that the Glenpark side will pin their hopes of scoring sufficient runs to enable a win to be achieved.

The Glenpark XI after their travails last week in trying,and ultimately failing, to get a team out to play at Ayr will be hoping for better luck this Saturday when Prestwick's 2nd XI, St Ninians, are the visitors. This Western Cup match will begin at 1pm and and the team selection shows a healthy mixture of the young and old, with Kevin Flack at the helm.

On Sunday, the Hillend XI travel overseas to Innellan for a friendly fixture, fresh from their encouraging start to the season last week when they defeated Kilmarnock by 9 wickets. Selection for this prestige match is still being finalised but given reasonable weather, it should be a grand day out for everyone within the precincts of CastleToward.