Greenock aim to continue winning form against Stirling


Following two very fine wins in League and Scottish Cup last weekend, Greenock travel through to New Williamfield on Saturday to do battle with Stirling County at their ground close to the Castle and the Wallace Monument. Both sides have won two out of their three league fixtures so far this season, so this will be an important match for both sides, as each seeks to maintain a strong top of the league challenge.

Only St Michael's from Dumfries have managed a 100% record in Division One from the first three league weekends, with West of Scotland, Poloc, Irvine, Stirling County and Greenock all in the chasing pack with two wins apiece.

Greenock will travel with confidence after outplaying both Glasgow Accies and Stenhousemuir last weekend. The win over Stenny in the Scottish Cup was particularly pleasing, as not only has the Stirlingshire side been Greenock's bogey team for several seasons, but also, they won Division One in 2015 and now play in the Premier Division.

Winning builds confidence, and the young Greenock team will be buoyed by the two quite emphatic wins last weekend. The victories were team efforts and the results of some fine contributions from a variety of players.

Phil McIntosh was 'Man of the Match' against Accies with 3 wickets and 53 runs, but Neil Flack with two wickets and 66 not out, ran him close. Declan White with 2 wickets for 29 runs from 10 overs provided a very tidy bowling spell and Damon Rootes with 17 not out was a steadying influence out in the middle.

Against Stenhousemuir last Sunday, McIntosh was unavailable but the Greenock side was still more than able to cope. Declan White picked up his first three wicket haul of the season and Jonathan Hempsey, Neil Flack and Damon Rootes each bagged two wickets apiece while Chris Hempsey top scored with 59 not out and Damon Rootes was again not out with 27 runs to his name.

This Saturday's opponents, Stirling County have bounced back from an opening league defeat to West of Scotland with two good wins over Irvine and Renfrew. Opening bat Graeme Taylor has led the way for his team in these two winning performances with 61 against Irvine and 57 against Renfrew. He has been well supported by a number of players, but 18 year old New Zealand amateur Kevin Loggenberg from Otago was the star against Irvine with 110 not out.

Former County captain Gavin Anderson has been a consistent wicket-taker in each of the three games played and has a total of nine league wickets to his name already this season. Young New Zealander Loggenberg has also gotten into his stride in the last two matches with two wickets against Irvine and three wickets against Renfrew. He is a fairly pacey bowler who can manage around 75 mph and can move the ball in the air and off the pitch.

Playing in the Stirling side are the two young sons of the current Scottish international team coach, Grant Bradburn, who is himself a former Test player from New Zealand. The younger of his two sons, Tom, has picked up a wicket in each of the three matches, plus he scored 51 against Renfrew last Saturday, while elder son Jack also got in the runs last week, scoring 26 before being dismissed.

Greenock captain, Jonathan Hempsey, will be keen to see his side continue the fine form of last weekend and knows that if the team performs to its ability, then there is no need to fear other sides. "This Greenock team has a very positive spirit about it and we understand that if we perform to the level that we know we can play, then we will give most teams in the league a stern test and hopefully be in there challenging at the top of the league table come August".

So, if the weather allows, Saturday's match at New Williamfield promises to be a very interesting encounter and Glenpark fans will be hoping another win can be gained and the positive momentum maintained.

Greenock's team for the match, which starts at the usual time of 12 noon, shows two changes from last week's selection with Aidan Forrest and Sehmat Pander coming into the side.

The Glenpark XI are at home on Saturday afternoon against Wiiliamfield and will looking to record their first win of the season after two disappointing defeats. Selection for the match has still to be finalised as has the start time which may be 1pm rather than the scheduled time of 12 noon.

On Sunday afternoon, the Hillend XI take to the field for the first time this season when they play host to Victoria 2nd XI in a WDCU Sunday League Division Two match at Glenpark. The team's opening Sunday League match was scheduled for the first Sunday in May, but opponents Uddingston conceded. So, without bowling a ball, Hillend topped the league. Will the team hold on to this lofty position? Only time will tell. A mix of experience and youth will form the side for the game which starts at 1pm.


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