1st XI face long trip to play St Michael's

Greenock make the long, one hundred mile journey to Dumfries on Saturday for their league match against lowly Queensberry St Michael's at their Kingholm ground on the banks of the River Nith. It is a match the Glenparkers will expect to win and doing so should maintain their fourth top spot in the league table.

Saturday's opposition, Queensberry St Michael's, have struggled in their league programme to date this season and have recorded just one win. That win came way back on the opening day of the league season on the first Saturday in May when the Dumfries side travelled to Glasgow and easily overcame Glasgow Accies. But since then it has been all downhill. One win from nine matches completed, and with five others abandoned or called off due to rain, has meant a pretty miserable season for them.

And the Dumfries team had its worst defeat of the season last Saturday at Irvine in one of the few games which beat the weather. Chasing Irvine's quite lowly total of just 104 all out, Queensberry St Michael's must have thought a second win was quite realistically on the cards but they themselves were then bowled out for the humiliating score of just 23. Perhaps the wet weather which was around and the affect the conditions may have had on the Marress ground played a part in low scores.

Greenock will look to add their own contribution to Queensberry St Michael's disappointing season by recording a win when they make the journey south on Saturday.

The summer weather has been a significant factor in the 2015 season with a large number of matches affected by the persistent wet conditions which have affected much of the country since the season began in mid April. Indeed, the match between Greenock and Queensberry St Michael's scheduled to have been played at Glenpark in early June was called off due to the miserable wet conditions rendering play impossible. At the time Greenock were 'on a roll' and looking for their fourth consecutive league win.

However, it has been the weather which has been the 'winner' for so much of the season. Greenock's 1st XI have had ten competitive matches in league and cup competitions either cancelled or abandoned due to rain and the Club's other senior and junior XIs have been similarly affected.

On Saturday, Greenock will line up for their match at the Kingholm ground in Dumfries with a few regular first team players missing. 1st XI captain Shailesh Prabhu is unavailable, as is Ty Gilmore, Phil McIntosh is still unfit following an injury several weeks ago and Louis Ware is away with the Scotland Under-15 squad at the European Championships in Rugby. Greg McDougall may also miss tomorrow's match as he is struggling to regain full fitness after having suffered a thigh injury at Poloc two weeks ago. So into the side will most likely come Sehmet Singh Pandher, Kevin Flack and Harry Briggs, now recovered from an ankle break suffered playing rugby in March.

Greenock's bowling and fielding in many matches this season have been their strong areas of performance. Opening pace bowler Blake Taylor from Queensland has learned how best to use the conditions in the west of Scotland and his six wicket haul against Kilmarnock in mid July was his best of the summer. And Jonathan Hempsey has been in good form also with the ball, as his 4 wickets for 22 runs from 14 overs at Poloc two weeks ago demonstrated.

In the batting department, Neil Flack will be keen to show the form which made him the top runs scorer of the recent U19 World Cup qualifying tournament in which Scotland triumphed and qualified to play in finals tournament in Bangladesh next year. Trent Keep, overseas amateur from Australia, has been in fine form since his arrival in late June and his century against Stirling County clearly signalled his talent. Others who should be capable of getting runs include Harry Briggs, Chris Hempsey and Aidan Forrest and each will be keen to do so.

1st XI coach, and former First Class professional back in his native Australia, Darren Walker, has been a major contributor to the renaissance of the Greenock side. His understanding of the game and tactics, along with his own playing skills and high quality motivational influence, has been a big factor in bringing on many of the players and improving the overall team performance.

There is still some way to go before the current side can hope to reach the levels of success enjoyed by Greenock teams in the first decade of this century, but the signs are definitely to be seen at Glenpark that a return to more successful times may not be too far away.

Young players such as Neil Flack (current U19 Scotland captain), Louis Ware (a regular in U15 Scotland) and Harry Briggs (who would likely have been playing representative cricket this summer but for his rugby ankle break) are just some of the fine young players who have emerged from Greenock's youth coaching scheme...and there are more to come.

Saturday's match at Dumfries should be a positive outing for Greenock. A win should be reward for their long trek south and, if achieved, then the return home will be a very enjoyable journey.

A squad of twelve has been chosen for the match which starts at 12 noon.

The Glenpark XI are at home to Kingholm on Saturday in the Reserve League. The Kingholm XI have done much better in their league than their senior eleven and currently sit third in the table. Earlier in the season, they confortably beat the Glenparkers at Dumfries and therefore this game is likely to be a tricky one for the locals. This match also starts at 12 noon.

Match Sponsor for this game is British Polythene Industries (BPI)

On Sunday afternoon, the Bell Cup will be contested between the Hillend XI and Inverclyde Cricket Club. This very old trophy used to be the top cup competition played for locally by clubs such as Hillend, Ingliston, Octavia, Scotts, Rankin Park, Port Glasgow, Kilmacolm, Phoenix, IBM, RNTF, Greenock Accies, Jerviswood, and Babcock & Wilcox. This match will be played as a 20-over contest and starts at 2pm.

Match Sponsor for this game is ACT Contsruction (UK) Ltd


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