Greenock look to restore pride and confidence at Prestwick

Greenock take to the road once again this Saturday with a trip down the coast to Prestwick . It is a game which the Glenpark side need to win after last week’s reversal at Kelburne and is the perfect opportunity to restore the confidence which had built up after two good Scottish Cup victories in the opening weeks of the season.

Richie Berrington is once again unavailable due to the Scotland team travelling to Southampton for their YB40 match against Hampshire on Sunday. Out too are wicketkeeper Alex Baum, due to a family commitment, and Mark Robertson, who has an injury which is likely to sideline him for several weeks.

Stepping up in their places are Chris Hempsey who scored a fine 84 against Kelburne 2 nd XI at Glenpark last Saturday, and Ben Peterson whose all round contributions in bowling, batting and fielding have been a positive feature for the Greenock 2nd XI in recent weeks.

The Greenock side selected for the game at the Henry Thow Oval at Prestwick has a good all round feel to it. It is a generally very youthful and athletic side which should provide a strong fielding performance to back up the bowling attack which has been a positive strength of the side so far this season. Overseas amateur Tom Batters has shown fine form in matches to date and last Saturday his pace was instrumental in dismantling the Kelburne top order batsmen as he picked up an excellent five wicket haul.

Batters opening bowling partner Waleed Jamal, too, has significant pace which opposition batsmen have found challenging, and he is almost always in amongst the wickets. A number of others provide a supporting role for the opening bowlers. Jonathan Hempsey, Greg McDougall and Fraser Colson will be called upon as change bowlers against Prestwick with Ben Peterson also likely to be given some time in the attack. Each is capable of wickets but consistency of line and length will be key for them.

The frailty in the Greenock side in the last couple of weeks has been in the side’s ability to build partnerships and accumulate enough runs. On paper there are enough players selected for this Saturday who are well capable of scoring, but actually getting runs is often a confidence thing. The Prestwick Oval is a ground where batsmen usually can enjoy getting runs and Greenock will be hoping that is the case against their Ayrshire opponents.

New Zealander Fraser Colson has been by far Greenock’s most prolific run scorer in the matches played to date and while he will look to be once more in the runs, the Glenpark side must provide much better support for him than has been evidenced in recent games.

Greenock captain Shailesh Prabhu will probably open the innings along with Under-15 Scottish internationalist Neil Flack, providing a right hand/left hand opening pairing which always disrupts the bowling and fielding side. Colson will almost certainly follow at the important number three slot and thereafter in-form Chris Hempsey may be given the number 4 position with Alex Baum missing.

What will be important is for the top order batsmen to use up overs and build a total. Speed of scoring will be of less importance than occupying the crease and building a score. If a sound base is built in the first half of an innings then batsmen in the lower order batting positions will almost always come in and score runs as they are not under pressure. Greenock must learn to do this and use all of the overs available to set a challenging total for their opposition to chase or to score the runs needed to win games if they bat second.

Prestwick have had a very poor start to the 2013 season and have yet to record a win in any of their competitive matches. Last Saturday in their opening league fixture they were soundly beaten by Ferguslie at Meikleriggs in Paisley. Chasing 209 to win, the Ayrshire side were bowled out for just 90.

Batting has been an issue for Prestwick with scores of 41 all out v West of Scotland, 62 all out v Carlton, 108 all out v Corstorphine and 90 all out v Ferguslie telling the story. Greenock must seek to continue the Ayrshire side’s problems of run scoring at the Henry Thow Oval on Saturday.

The Glenpark XI  had a very satisfying win last week against Whitehaugh and will be keen to build on this when they take on Prestwick's 2nd XI, St Ninian's at Glenpark. The usual mix of young and old have been selected for the team for a game which will start at 1.00pm.

On Sunday, the Hillend XI travel to Kilmarnock to play in a WDCU Sunday League Division 3 fixture which starts at 1pm at the new Scott Ellis Field. Having had their first two fixtures washed out by the May rains, the team will be keen to finally get on the park.