Greenock face county rivals Ferguslie

Greenock hope to get their CSL league programme under way this Saturday when county rivals Ferguslie are the visitors to Glenpark. The local side and their supporters will be hoping that the dreadful weather which has affected the west of Scotland recently, will relent and allow cricket to take place this weekend.

Greenock will wish to carry forward their good Saturday form which has brought victories against Renfrew and Dundee HSFP in their Scottish Cup qualifying section. But this week is league business, and no better opponents to entice a good crowd along to Glenpark than near neighbours Ferguslie. The two clubs have a long history with many excellent encounters played out between the sides over many, many years.

The Glenparkers will want to get off to a winning start, as the aim of the side this season is to be challenging at the top of CSL Western First Division and seek to bounce back to the Premier Division. But it will be no easy task and Ferguslie will have similar aspirations.

Unfortunately for Greenock, with the Scottish national side playing two One Day Internationals in Edinburgh against test playing side Pakistan on Friday and also Sunday, internationalist Richie Berrington has been refused permission to play against Ferguslie. The side will therefore be a similar one to that which gained a resounding nine wicket win over Dundee HSFP two weeks ago.

On that occasion, Greenock’s bowlers restricted Dundee HSFP to just 150 runs when at one point in their innings they looked capable of reaching at least 200. Waleed Jamal picked up five wickets in a devastating second spell of bowling which routed the east coast team, while Tom Batters had great economy bowling eight overs for just seven runs.

A fine knock of 71 not out from New Zealander Fraser Colson aided by an equally fine 50 not out from Greenock captain Shailesh Prabhu, propelled the local side to a resounding nine wicket win. Such a performance on Saturday against Ferguslie would delight the home support, but realistically the opposition is likely to be much stronger.

The Ferguslie side is captained this season by wicketkeeper batsman David Stafford and is generally viewed as a young, developing side. In the opening game of the season the Meikleriggs team recorded an outstanding win by beating last year’s Premier Division winners APD Dumfries. They did so in some style. Batting first they scored 239 for 9 with Scottish Under-19 internationalist Michael English starring with 100 not out. Zimbabwean pro Keith Dabengwa chipped in with 71. Another of Ferguslie’s youngsters, Haroon Tahir, then took five wickets for 48 as the Dumfries side were bowled out for 201.

In the only other competitive match which Ferguslie have played in this rain affected start to the season, the outcome was quite different. Playing at home against Heriots, the Meikleriggs side were bowled out for just 55 with no player in their batting line up reaching double figures, and the Edinburgh side scored the runs needed for victory for the loss of just three wickets.

Greenock will look to exploit what may be a brittle batting line-up, but will also be aware that, if certain players do get in, then there is the potential for the Paisley side to build a substantial score. The Glenparkers themselves will need to be fully focussed on their own skills if an opening league win is to be achieved but have the abilities within Saturday’s line-up to do so.

If the wet weather allows, then Saturday’s game against Ferguslie should be an entertaining match.

Greenock Cricket Club is grateful to acknowledge that Saturday’s match versus Ferguslie is kindly sponsored by  former 1st XI Captain and twice Past President Roger Hardie with the match ball sponsored by Ground Convenor, David Glancy.

The Glenpark XI  will try again to start their league campaign in the WDCU CSL Western First Division Reserve League when they travel to Paisley to take on Ferguslie's 2nd XI, the Meikleriggs XI. The team selected to play features the usual mixture of the young, the old and the very old. No match with a Ferguslie eleven is ever easy and this will be a stern test for this eleven. This match will start at 1.00pm.

The Hillend XI are faced with a long trip to Dumfries on Sunday to play St Michaels in the WDCU Sunday League. If nothing else, those selected to play will be hoping for some decent weather as it is a long way to go for no play. This match starts at 1.00pm.