Greenock meet West in vital promotion encounter


Greenock travel to Glasgow this weekend for what is a must win match against West of Scotland. Just three matches remain in the league programme and just under four percentage points separate Poloc in top spot from West in third position, with Greenock one percent ahead of their Glasgow opponents in second position.

Last weekend's results blew the promotion race wide open with West beating Poloc and Greenock losing to Renfrew. It was the worst possible set of results for the Glenparkers and so Saturday's match at Hamilton Crescent now takes on huge importance. A win for Greenock should mean promotion to the Premier Division is a realistic possibility, but a loss could condemn the Glenpark side to another year in Division One.

WDCU CSL First Division Table - top 4 positions (at 6th August)

Bonus Points
Penalty Points
NVT Poloc
West of Scotland
Stirling County


When the two sides met earlier in the season at Glenpark, Greenock were clear winners in a well contested match. Greenock consolidated their second place in the WDCU Division One table with a fine three wicket win and kept up their weekend winning ways thanks to good all round team performance.

West won the toss on the day, elected to bat, and scored 189 for 9 after their 50 overs. Ian Young was top scorer with an excellent 65 while Neil Flack with 5 wickets for 50 runs was Greenock's most successful bowler.

With just under two hundred runs needed for victory, Greenock were set a very significant total to win and were indebted to Australian amateur Damon Rootes and Chris Hempsey for setting them on the road to victory. They put together a fine 96 run partnership for the third wicket, with Rootes going on to provide a match-winning innings of 81 runs.

Another exciting match is in prospect on Saturday with so much at stake for both teams. West will be brimming with confidence after overcoming top side Poloc at Shawholm last weekend while Greenock will be smarting from their defeat at home to Renfrew.

West are also undefeated in the league since their reversal at Glenpark in June, and have won seven straight matches in the competition leading into this weekend's fixture. The team's strength is in its bowling attack which has dismissed four of these opponents for under one hundred runs.

The Glasgow side have a number of bowling options and usually open with Gavin Smith and David McNulty to be followed by Brock McLachlan, Toby Gardiner and young Lucas Farndale. The latter has had considerable success and Greenock will do well to be wary of the youngster when he comes into the attack on Saturday. Over the last four league matches, Farndale has picked up a total of thirteen wickets against Poloc, Renfrew, Weirs and Stirling County.

If West have a weakness, it is perhaps in their batting line-up. Since Ian Young's 65 at Glenpark, no player in the West side has scored a fifty, with young Farndale once again being their most consistent performer scoring 20s against Poloc and Weirs, and 41 against Renfrew.

Greenock must look to target the West batsmen and limit their scoring, and they have the bowling line-up to do that. Declan White posed problems early on in the Glasgow side's innings in June and, on Saturday, could be the bowler to cause damage to what has frequently been a brittle top order.

Neil Flack and Jonathan Hempsey will also be key bowlers for Greenock. Flack is the Glenpark side's top wicket-taker in the league this season and against West in June picked up 5 wickets for 50 runs. Hempsey was on form last week against Renfrew with 4 wickets for just 23 runs from 10 overs and will feel confident of getting some more success on Saturday.

Availability is Greenock's main issue for what is undoubtedly their most important match of the season. Out through injury are Phil McIntosh and Chirag Pandher, with Sam Sanghera likely to make a late decision over his fitness. Also unavailable this weekend is Sehmat Pandher.

Teenager Harry Briggs has taken over McIntosh's opening bat slot in the last two league matches and has done well against both Irvine and Renfrew. His opening partner, Neil Flack, will be keen to show more of the form which brought him a fine century against Irvine, and if he can get runs, then the Greenock line-up should do well as there are numerous others also capable of building good innings.

Damon Rootes too has regularly looked in good form during the season, and also has a century to his name, while Shailesh Prabhu, Chris Hempsey and U17 Scotland international Louis Ware are each capable of scoring important runs.

Saturday's match, which starts at 12 noon, should be an exciting game and the Greenock side will surely be up for a game which is likely to determine where they play their cricket next season.

The Glenpark XI face Reserve League leaders Partick at Glenpark on Saturday with a 12 noon start. This will be a significant test for the Glenpark side which currently occupies a mid-table position. In three out of the last four league matches they have scored over two hundred runs in their innings but have failed to record a win on each occasion and on Saturday will be without their main run scorers Harry Briggs and Rod Mountford who have both been moved up into the 1st XI.

Abigail Calder will also be missing from the side on Saturday as she will be in Edinburgh playing for the Scotland Under-17 Girls team against Ireland. Abigail has progressed tremendously during this season, becoming a regular in the Glenpark XI and also in the Scotland Under-17 Girls side for whom she is now the team's opening bowler.

The Hillend XI have no game this Sunday as Glenpark is being used to host the WU40 Cup final between Clydesdale and Ferguslie. This should be a cracking game between two very good sides and should provide plenty of entertainment for the neutral spectator. The match starts at 1pm.

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