Weakened Greenock face Poloc

Following on from a much improved performance against league leaders Stirling County last weekend, Greenock welcome Glasgow south side club Poloc to Glenpark on Saturday afternoon.

Poloc currently occupy a league position one above Greenock, but have three wins out of their five matches played while the Glenparkers have just one victory to show for their efforts so far this season in the WDCU CSL First Division.

After a flying start to the league campaign which brought three wins from their first three games, the Shawholm side have suffered two consecutive defeats over the last two Saturdays. Two weeks ago against Stenhousemuir at the Tryst a fourth straight win looked on the cards when the hosts were dismissed for just 130 runs but Poloc themselves were then bowled out for 90. Then, last Saturday at Shawholm, visitors Ferguslie compiled 299 for the loss of 7 wickets and Poloc were bowled out for exactly 200 runs.

The south side club will be smarting after these two reversals and be keen to get back on the winning trail when they come to Glenpark on Saturday. Key players in their side include Pakistani Syed Aslam, who has had a number of fine innings already this season, and South African youngster Malcolm Nofal, who also has recorded several fine scores, including 99 against Prestwick at the end of May and 56 last Saturday against Ferguslie.

Poloc also have a number of bowlers in their line-up who have had good success this season. Hasseeb Zaker, Hamid Mahmood and youngster Intisham Malik have each had occasions when they provided fine performances with the ball and gave opposition teams a very difficult time.

The current Greenock side is very much in a transitional phase with a young side which needs to build experience and a ‘know how’ to bat through a full innings. Last Saturday at Stirling County the team did bat out the full fifty overs of their innings and posted a total requiring their opponents to score two hundred runs to win. County achieved that goal and Greenock did fail to win the match but the local side must see their batting performance as a very positive achievement.

It was all the more laudable as it was two young teenagers who have come up through the junior ranks who were the mainstay of the innings. Neil Flack just 16 years of age hit his maiden senior competitive century with an outstanding 117 not out, while 19 year old Aidan Forrest scored 60 in a 186 run partnership with Flack.

These two young players showed what can be achieved with application and their team-mates must try and show the same attitude, concentration and willingness to build partnerships at Glenpark on Saturday afternoon.

Greenock will be without a number of 1st XI regulars this Saturday. Aussie amateur and opening pace bowler Tom Batters misses out due to a relative's wedding in Preston, Chris Hempsey has an injury, and out too, also through injury, is Mark Crichton. Still missing from the Greenock line-up is wicketkeeper/batsman Alex Baum who played for Scotland Under 19s in the U19 World Cup in February but who has, as yet, not been available for selection this season.

Back into the 1st XI this weekend comes another of Greenock’s promising young players 14 year old Harry Briggs. Despite his tender years, Briggs has gained quite significant experience already at 1st XI level and last weekend scored 43 for the 2nd XI against Stirling County 2nd XI at Glenpark and 75 not out (retired) against Inverclyde in a friendly on Sunday.

Also featuring will be another extremely promising 14 year old player, Louis Ware. He has already gained selection along with Briggs for the Western Warriors under 15 side. He is a tall very pacey bowler who has been taking wickets regularly in the 2nd XI and also scoring runs. Sam Sanghera, a useful all rounder with experience of playing in the 1st XI from time to time , also moves up this Saturday.

Greenock will undoubtedly look to West Indian amateur Dwight Thomas to get amongst the runs against Poloc. If he can get into his stride, Thomas has the ability to score a major innings and he will be hoping to do so in front of the home support against the south–siders on Saturday.

The match will start at 12 noon with the Greenock team showing four changes from that of last week with Prabhu, Briggs, Sanghera and Ware replacing Batters, Flack, Godsman and Mountford.

The Glenpark XI are away to Shawholm XI (Poloc’s 2nd XI) on Saturday in a WDCU CSL First Division Reserve League match. After the win over Whitehaugh, the performance last week against Williamfield was disappointing with the team unable to build on the good start provided by Harry Briggs and Chris Hempsey and subsequently failing to apply any pressure to the Williamfield batsmen. In part, this was due to the relative inexperience of some of the players as the side struggled to cope with the selectorial difficulties of the 1st XI and this will be a factor again this week. On the positive front, the fact that a number of the club's younger players are getting a chance to sample senior cricket can only be a good thing in the long run. This match will start at 1pm.

Greenock Cricket Club is sponsored this season by Cleaning Supplies 4U.