Greenock face busy weekend with league and cup games

Greenock have a busy weekend of cricket with two home fixtures to be played. On Saturday it is league business with Glasgow Accies the visitors to Glenpark, while on Sunday it is the 1st Round of the 2016 Citylets Scottish Cup and Stenhousemuir provide the opposition.

Following a bright start to the season, Greenock have suffered a couple of reversals in the last week losing last Saturday to Poloc at Shawholm in a league fixture, and in midweek, losing once again, this time to high flying Ferguslie in the West League Cup at Meikleriggs in Paisley.

However, the Glenpark side will keep in mind that both Poloc (top of Division One) and Ferguslie (top of the Premier League) are unbeaten in all matches so far this season and are early favourites to be challenging for success this summer.

In the circumstances, Greenock will do best to concentrate on the opponents whom they will face over the weekend and plot to gain a couple of wins. Doing so will keep the local team in a good position in the league and, with a cup win on Sunday, a place in the second round draw of this year's Scottish Cup.

Good batting performances on each day will be key for Greenock and building strong partnerships will enable the locals to post sizeable totals which can be match-winning scores. Concentration, patience and hard graft from the top order batsmen will be needed on both days to get the Greenock innings off to solid starts from which later batsmen can push forward. And there is talent-a-plenty in the team to make this happen with Neil Flack, Aussie Damon Rootes, Chris Hempsey and Phil McIntosh in the top order all capable of scoring substantial runs.

Aussie Declan White is leading the Greenock bowling attack well and, in the matches played to date, his pace has been too much for a number of the opposition batsmen. White has picked up wickets in each match he has played and will surely land a large haul this season. Giving good support will be Phil McIntosh, whose ability to swing the ball has enabled him to pick up seven league wickets in the two league matches played to date. Further back up bowling will come from Jonathan Hempsey, Neil Flack, Louis Ware, Greg McDougall and Damon Rootes

Saturday's opponents, Glasgow Accies have a similar early season league record to Greenock with one win and one loss, so Saturday afternoon's match will allow one of the teams to keep close contact with the league leaders while the other will slip down the league placings. The likely danger men for Accies are Farhan Shah, who recently transferred from Kilmarnock, and Habib Malik. Both of these players have returned fine bowling analyses in the opening league matches. Indeed, last Saturday at Renfrew, Malik finished the match with bowling figures of 5 wickets for just 3 runs from six overs bowled.

This is a game which Greenock must win if the club's aim to gain promotion back to the Premier Division this season is to be kept on course. Getting runs on the board on Saturday will be a key focus for the Glenpark side and so it is in the batting department, in particular, that the team must be more robust if a positive result is to be achieved.

Greenock's team for the match, which starts at 1pm, is unchanged from that whch lost to Poloc last week.

Saturday's match is very kindly sponsored by The Bluebird Cafe


On Sunday, Greenock welcome back to Glenpark the same team who dumped them out of the competition last year ... Stenhousemuir.

The Stirlingshire side had a fine season in 2015 and, as well as beating Greenock in the Scottish Cup, they also won both league matches played between the two sides on their way to winning the First Division title and promotion to the WDCU Premier League. So Greenock will be looking to put in a strong performance today and gain some revenge for the recent reversals.

Stenny have found life in the top division a struggle in the first two competitive weeks of the season and have lost to both Ferguslie and Kelburne. On the opening Saturday at Meikleriggs, the Larbert team were bowled out for just 86 runs as they chased Ferguslie's 197 for 8. While last weekend, at The Tryst, Kelburne set Stenhousemuir a target of 205 to win but the home side could manage just 160 for the loss of 9 wickets and fell 34 runs short of the Paisley side's total.

There have been no real comings or goings in the Stenhousemuir playing line-up and as in previous seasons, Amir Shahzad and South African professional Rushdie Jappie will be key players along with opening bowler Yasar Arfat. Of the three players, Jappie has shown best form with a half century against Kelburne and three wickets against Ferguslie.

So the scene is set for an interesting first round Citylets Scottish Cup match at Glenpark on Sunday and Greenock will be keen to shake off the hoodoo which Stenhousemuir have had on them in recent seasons

Greenock's team for the match, which starts at 12 noon, shows the one change from Saturday's selection with Sehmat Pandher replacing his brother Chirag.

Sunday's match is very kindly sponsored by Bathroom Elegance and Wet Wall Works


The Glenpark XI will be looking to bounce back from the heavy defeat that they suffered last Saturday at the hands of a very strong Shawholm outfit when they travel to Glasgow to play the Anniesland XI. Glenpark have included some of their more experienced players in their squad selection for the match to assist the younger players in the team. This match will start at 2pm due to a school match which is scheduled for the ground in the morning and will be reduced to 40 overs per side.

The Hillend XI have no fixture this weekend.

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