Greenock look for win over Prestwick before Cup clash

Greenock host bottom of the table Prestwick at Glenpark on Saturday afternoon and will be seeking to gain their second win on consecutive weekends on their home patch. Last Saturday the contributions of the club’s two overseas players proved decisive. A brilliant 131 not out from New Zealander Fraser Colson, plus a fine 46 from Australian Tom Batters, enabled Kelburne’s total of 237 to be overhauled and an important win posted for the Glenparkers.

Colson has been in fine form for most of the season, but against Kelburne scored his first century in Greenock colours. It was a hugely entertaining innings with six balls hit out of the ground as well as a host of boundaries in his three figure tally, as he led the side to a six wicket win. In this form, he must be looking forward to another big innings against bottom side Prestwick on the Glenpark wicket which has been playing well this season. If Colson does get in once again, then the Ayrshire side’s bowling attack could well be in for a torrid time.

Batters, promoted to opening the innings last Saturday, could well retain his top of the order spot after a fine batting performance which was patient and disciplined and, together with Colson, provided a 140 run partnership for the second wicket which set up Greenock for the win over Kelburne. However with skipper Shailesh Prabhu back in the team this week, it may be that Batters will resume his place down the order with Prabhu partnering Neil Flack at the top of the order.

Back into the side for the match with Prestwick will come internationalist Richie Berrington who will be keen to spend a long time in the middle himself ......if he can get the chance! Berrington has been short of runs throughout much of the season while playing for the Saltires and will be looking forward to getting an opportunity to rack up some runs for his own confidence ahead of the Saltires YB40 match against Durham in Edinburgh on Sunday.

Alex Baum too should be back in the side after his week in Holland representing Scotland Under-19s in the World Cup Under-19 qualifying competition, although he is carrying a injury which makes his presence in the team slightly doubtful. Baum, as well as keeping wicket, is an entertaining batsman who has the potential to score big runs and, if fit, will probably come in at number five in the Greenock line-up.

Unavailable this week are Chris Hempsey who has been in decent form of late and provides a capable batting presence at number six in the order and Ben Peterson who has hockey commitments.

2013 has been a season to forget for the Ayrshire side, who are still looking for their first win, having lost all six Scottish Cup sectional matches and all seven matches played to date in the league. Many of these defeats have been crushing losses. In six of their matches, Prestwick have lost by a margin of over one hundred runs and in another four they have lost by eight wickets or more. In five games, they have failed to score 100 runs in their innings.

While these statistics for Prestwick, along with the excellent home win over Kelburne last Saturday , will give Greenock a great deal of encouragement and would suggest the Glenparkers should notch up a second consecutive weekend win, it would be very dangerous for the team to assume that they only need to turn up to gain the victory. Players need to ensure that they are properly prepared and execute their own game to a high standard. If they do so, it is hard to see anything other than a win for Greenock being the outcome of Saturday’s match at Glenpark and the team selection bears that out. The match will start at 12 noon.

The Glenpark XI are away to St Ninians, the second eleven of Prestwick on Saturday. After the euphoria of the win over Meikleriggs, came the crushing defeat to Whitehaugh last Saturday as the winning team of the previous week was decimated by a whole series of unavailabilities and call-offs. Just what the make-up of this week's team will be is not known at the time of writing. The match should start at 1pm.

The Hillend XI should have been playing a friendly at Innellan this Sunday but this has been postponed in light of the 1st XI's semi-final clash with East Kilbride at Torrance House in the new CSL40 Cup. This is the first year of this competition and Glenpark will host the final at the beginning of September. Greenock therefore have a double reason to seek out a win over the leaders of the CSL Western First Division. Definitely out of the Greenock side for Sunday are Shailesh Prabhu who is unavailable and Richie Berrington who will be in Edinburgh for the Saltires match against Durham in the YB40 competition.