Greenock aim for a hat-trick of league wins

This Saturday, Greenock will be keen to maintain their winning run when Glasgow side Weirs come to Glenpark. The match also provides an opportunity for the Glenparkers to notch up three league wins in a row for the first time since season 2008, a statistic which would have been unthinkable in Greenock’s period of dominance in Scottish cricket just a few short years ago.

Times have changed for the Glenpark side in the years since 2008 however, and the current team is a relatively youthful one which is rebuilding along local lines as opposed to importing players from beyond the boundaries of Inverclyde. This strategy is now beginning to bear fruit after a number of disappointing seasons and the young players, who have had to gain experience in difficult circumstances, are now showing their capabilities and gaining in confidence. There is, of course, some way to go before the standards set in the ‘glory years’ can hope to be emulated.

Last Saturday against Poloc, vice-captain Jonathan Hempsey gained a 5 wicket haul while Under 15 Scottish Internationalist Neil Flack weighed in with an excellent innings of 72 and there have been numerous other good performances from players this season.

Some of the others who are part of the emerging Greenock side which is captained this season by the experienced Shailesh Prabhu include Alex Baum, who has represented Scotland at Under 19 level as recently as April of this year, Greg McDougall, Waleed Jamal, Chris Hempsey, Ben Peterson, Mark Robertson (currently sidelined by injury), Aidan Forrest, Harry Briggs and Sam Sanghera.

These players are benefiting from the positive influence of overseas players Tom Batters and Fraser Colson, who have both provided numerous fine performances since their arrival at the end of April. Their abilities with bat and ball have helped give some much needed solidity to team performances which has been missing in recent seasons and which has led to a return to winning ways. In the weeks ahead Greenock supporters will be keen to see further winning performances from the team.

Back into the Greenock side this Saturday will be Richie Berrington. The Scottish internationalist will be making his first start of the season in CSL league business due to Scottish cricket commitments and also a period of illness. His presence will be a major boost for the team and further enhance the possibility of a third league win in a row for the Glenparkers.

Visitors Weirs will be doing their best to thwart Greenock’s ambitions but they are having one of their most disappointing seasons for some years and have yet to gain a win in the CSL Western Division One. They have recorded just one competitive win, which was against Freuchie in a Scottish Cup sectional match at the end of April, but since then the team from the south side of Glasgow has been on a slide.

Scores of 112 all out against Stenhousemuir, 87 all out against East Kilbride and 126 all out against Ferguslie last Saturday perhaps give an indication of the reason for their troubles. Their batting line up has been unable to put enough runs on the board whether batting first or chasing their opponents total. Greenock must try to ensure that this frailty in run scoring is given no opportunity to improve when Weirs come to Glenpark.

Poor form on the cricket pitch is just one problem afflicting the Glasgow south side. Their ground has been very badly affected by the heavy rainfall during the winter/spring period, and drainage was so severely damaged that sections of the ground have had to be sectioned off making Albert Park unsuitable to host games at 1st XI level. The result is that all Weirs 1st XI matches must be played away from home for this season at least and so Saturday’s fixture which should have been in Glasgow is now being played at Glenpark.

With a strong side selected for this Saturday’s match, which as usual starts at 12 noon, Greenock will look to gain a hat-trick of league wins and keep their ambitions for a challenge at the top of the table well on track.

The Glenpark XI  have to travel to the south side of Glasgow on Saturday to take on Albert Park, Weirs' 2nd XI. Last Saturday's performance at Shawholm was one that is best forgotten and the team selected for the game which will start at 1.00pm will be looking for a big improvement.

On Sunday, the 1st XI travel to Paisley to play Kelburne in the new WDCU CSL40 Cup and will be keen to avenge the calamitous league defeat suffered at their hands just a few weeks ago. If the good form displayed since that afternoon can be continued, then a win at Whitehaugh must be a real possibility. However, absentees from Saturday’s line-up will include Shailesh Prabhu and Richie Berrington who are both unavailable due to work and Scottish Saltires commitments, respectively. The match is due to start at 1.00pm. The Hillend XI do not have a game this weekend.