Greenock travel to Dundee in confident mood

Greenock travel to Dundee this Saturday to play Dundee HSFP in the third of their Scottish Cup sectional matches. The local side will do so with considerable confidence following last week's six wicket victory over newly promoted Premier Division side Renfrew.

Despite not having Scottish internationalist Richie Berrington available last week due to injury, the Greenock team, with newly arrived overseas players Tom Batters and Fraser Colson in the side, looked an altogether much improved unit from last season. Berrington is also likely to miss this weekend’s fixture as, if he is declared fit by the Scotland international team's physios, then he will be travelling south for a CB40 match for the Saltires against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

Supporters at Glenpark last Saturday enjoyed a good all round performance from the Greenock team. In the field, the opening bowling attack of Waleed Jamal and Tom Batters provided a pacey early onslaught for the Renfrew top order and they were supported by Jonathan Hempsey and Greg McDougall when changes were introduced. Indeed, it was McDougall who shone, taking three wickets in the reduced overs match which saw Renfrew reach 136 for the loss of 6 wickets.

In reply, despite losing Under 19 Scottish internationalist Alex Baum very early in the innings, Greenock were never really in trouble and comfortably overtook the visitors’ total for the loss of only three wickets in just the 22nd over.

Star of the innings was New Zealander Fraser Colson who was unbeaten with 75 runs. It was a brilliant way to start his summer with Greenock, and he demonstrated with his shot-making, that he will be a big player for the Glenpark team over the weeks ahead. Colson was well supported in the run chase by Greenock captain Shailesh Prabhu and young Under-15 Scottish international Neil Flack. Both players looked in good early season form and built sound partnerships with Colson as he dominated the visitors' bowling.

Saturday's opponents, Dundee HSFP, have yet to register a win, having lost to both Renfrew and Grange. Last weekend's defeat at the hands of a strong Grange team at Portgower Place in Edinburgh was a hefty one, with the Taysiders losing by 262 runs and the previous Saturday the deficit against Renfrew was 89 runs. However, Greenock must not assume an easy passage at Dalnacraig on Saturday, as the FPs will have their two overseas players available for the first time in this 2013 season.

Ben Strachan from Australia and Jigme Singye from Bhutan are Dundee HSFP's overseas players. The former is a powerful batsman who plays in the Northern Suburbs Cricket Association League in the Sydney area, and, in the Australian season just completed, top scored with 124 not out aggregating 547 runs at an average of 45.58. He is therefore a player to watch and Greenock will want to give him only the briefest spell in the middle in his first game in Scotland. Jigme Singye is just 20 years of age but has represented Bhutan on a number of occasions and is a middle order bat.

Dundee HSFP's batting has been very brittle with only a handful of batsmen reaching double figures over the two games played, so much may depend upon their overseas players. Bowling too has not greatly troubled the opposition in the games to date with centuries from both Renfrew and Grange opening batsmen.

Saturday's game in Dundee is a game which Greenock will be approaching with some confidence, but team captain Shailesh Prabhu is taking nothing for granted, "We must ensure we work hard throughout the game and be fully focussed on our skills and match tactics. If we do that, I am confident we can do well."

The Glenpark XI  play Inverclyde at Glenpark on Saturday in the Western Cup with a 1pm start. This is the first competitive local derby match for many a year and both sides will be keen to get the bragging rights with a victory. The Glenpark outfit have struggled to put a team on the field in their two starts to date, so much so that long-retired stalwart, David Campbell, was tempted back into whites last week to help out. This week a squad of 12 has been selected and the hope is that they will be able to see off their local rivals in what is sure to be a keenly contested match.