Can Greenock beat the weather this week?


The month of July has so far been a complete wash-out for Greenock with all three league matches rained off and the Scottish Cup and WU40 Cup matches also severely affected by the rains.

At the time of writing, prospects look a bit better for this Saturday when Stirling County visit Glenpark with the ground hopefully having dried out after Wednesday's heavy rain. Greenock will certainly be desperate to play after all the previous postponements in order that they can keep their push for promotion on track.

Last Saturday's cancellation of the Glasgow Accies game was unfortunate in a number of respects. Both sides were keen to play but the umpires took the view that an area of the outfield was dangerous and called the game off. The rest of the league programme went ahead and Poloc took the opportunity to marginally extend their lead at the top of the table. West of Scotland also won and the race for the two promotion places is now a three-horse race between these two teams and Greenock. Poloc have 92.44%, Greenock 90.50% and West of Scotland 80.73%.

Greenock's opponents on Saturday currently sit in 4th place in the league, having won 7 of the 11 games that they have played. However, they have lost twice to West and once to Poloc which suggests that they are just slightly behind the level of the top three.

Greenock's first league match with Stirling in May was called off due to weather issues but the teams did meet shortly afterwards at New Williamfield in the Scottish Cup when Greenock won fairly comfortably by 4 wickets, in the main thanks to an unbeaten century from Damon Rootes.

Greenock would do well not to take Stirling lightly, despite that victory. Their opponents possess quite a strong batting line-up with South African born amateur Kevin Loggenberg a prolific run-maker. The Bradburn brothers, sons of Scottish coach Grant Bradburn, have also scored heavily at times this year and indeed Tom Bradburn has just this week scored 162* for Scotland under-15s.

The Stirling attack is probably not quite as strong as their batting. Loggenberg, Gavin Anderson, Jonathan Bowes and Mubarak Ali have all produced good performances at times but not consistently. Indeed it is this lack of consistency throughout the season which has prevented Stirling from mounting a stronger challenge in the league.

Greenock therefore need to be wary of Stirling but they should have too much strength in depth for their opponents. They have shown throughout the season that their attack, spearheaded by Declan White, has the capability of bowling out the opposition and equally their batting, but for one game, has been up to the task of overtaking their opponent's total. Even if Greenock break the habit of the season and have to bat first, there is no reason to believe that they will not be able to post a winning total.

For Saturday's match, which starts, as usual, at 12 noon, Greenock expect to be full strength.

The Glenpark XI travel to Stirling to take on Williamfield in the Reserve League. Their opponents sit in second bottom position in the table and last week were forced to concede their match with Deanpark as they could not raise a team. Glenpark for their part last week fielded a very young side, aided by 3 of the club's older players, and thanks to Harry Briggs' maiden senior century put up a good fight before losing to Anniesland. With the 1st XI at full strength this should mean that the Glenpark XI is also stronger and they will be confident of victory. This match will also start at 12 noon.

WU40 Cup

Two more efforts were made this week to play the much-delayed 2nd round WU40 Cup tie with Poloc at Shawholm. Sunday saw the game start but it was quickly abandoned when it became clear that the bowlers' run-ups were quite unfit for use. A final effort to play was arranged for Wednesday but the heavy rains of Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning ruled that out. So it was down to a toss of a coin to determine the winner and the winner was Greenock!

This means that they now meet Clydesdale at Glenpark on Sunday in the quarter-final of the competition, the game starting at 1pm. This will be quite a test for Greenock as Clydesdale are currently top of the WDCU Premier Division and in the final of the Scottish Cup. The game should see the return to Glenpark of Richie Berrington who presently plays his cricket for the Glasgow side.

The Hillend XI have had a wretched season so far, having played only 1 game so far. They were due to play Ferguslie on Sunday at Meikleriggs in the Sunday League but this game will not now go ahead due to the WU40 Cup tie with Clydesdale.

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