Greenock face Ferguslie in vital match for both sides


Greenock play hosts to Ferguslie at Glenpark on Saturday in a match which has a greater than usual importance over and above the long-standing Renfrewshire derby rivalry. Both sides have a great deal to play for, but for starkly contrasting reasons. Ferguslie must win to keep up their challenge for the Premier Division title while Greenock are battling to keep clear of relegation.

With just two Saturdays remaining in the league season neither side can afford not to be at their very best. It is the time of the year when results have a particularly meaningful impact and players and supporters find themselves increasingly aware not just of their own results but also the results of other sides.

When Greenock and Ferguslie met in their Premier Division fixture at Meikleriggs earlier in the season, it was the Paisley side who emerged as winners. Batting first, Ferguslie amassed 275 for the loss of 8 wickets from their 50 overs with Michael English top scoring with a superb 119 and overseas amateur Riyaad Henry hitting 72.

In reply, Greenock made a very spirited effort scoring 225 for 9 with Kyle Scrimegour 66 and Julien Hulbert 41 top scoring.

However, on the very next day, once again at Meikleriggs, Greenock gained revenge for the league defeat with an eight wicket win in the Western Union Cup. Ferguslie were bowled out for just 62 with English and Henry managing only 17 runs between them and the Glenparkers cruised home scoring 63 for the loss of just 3 wickets.

Since then, Ferguslie's league form on Saturdays has been sufficiently good to place them in second top spot in the Premier Division and still in with a chance of overtaking league leaders Prestwick. However, last Saturday it was a very close run thing for the Paisley side as they were bowled out by Dumfries for just 65, but they then showed their winning mentality by skittling out Dumfries for 58. Who would have believed it possible?

So, on Saturday afternoon, Greenock must use the knowledge that Ferguslie's batting line-up can be brittle and try and replicate what happened when they met last at Meikleriggs in the Western Union Cup in in mid-June.

Greenock will be at near to full strength with teenage opening bat Harry Briggs the only definite absentee. But opening bowler Julien Hulbert may also be missing if he fails a fitness test following a knee injury picked up a couple of weeks ago, which kept him out of last weekend's match at Prestwick.

The absence of Briggs means that Greenock will once again have to consider who will form the opening batting combination. Hulbert was moved up the order a couple of weeks ago when Prabhu was unavailable, and would have been the most likely choice to do so again, but his injury could rule him out and so someone else will have that job to do if he does not make the team.

Getting the innings off to a sound start has been an issue for Greenock for much of the season and on Saturday it will be important for whoever fills the role alongside Prabhu to work hard and get runs on the board early for the team. If that can be achieved, then the middle order could take the Glenparkers to a large score as Kyle Scrimegour, Louis Ware and Neil Flack are each capable of scoring big runs. It is certainly what Greenock need.


WDCU CSL Premier Division Table

Net Run Rate
East Kilbride


Greenock's strength for most of the season has been their bowling and fielding but the question mark over Hulbert's fitness could deal a serious blow to Greenock's ability to bowl out Ferguslie. He is the second top wicket-taker in this season's Premier Division with 23 wickets just behind team mate Kyle Scrimegour who is top equal with Sachin Chaudhary of Prestwick who have 25 wickets apiece.

The joint pace attack of Scrimegour and Hulbert has been an important weapon for Greenock, but if Hulbert does fail to make it then others in the side will need to step up to the mark. Louis Ware who bowled regularly early in the season, has not had many overs since about the middle of June, but last week at Prestwick he was brought back into the attack and performed creditably. He will be the most likely player to take over Hulbert's overs should he not be fit.

Team captain Jonathan Hempsey, Neil Flack and Greg McDougall will almost certainly be the other main bowlers with Sam Sanghera also likely to feature.

So all is set for another interesting, and perhaps nail-biting afternoon, of cricket at Glenpark, when, as well as watching Greenock play Ferguslie, local supporters will also be keen to be kept up to date with what is happening at New Cambusdoon where Ayr are playing second bottom East Kilbride.

Greenock have added youngster Euan Stewart, who scored an unbeaten 50 last Saturday for the Glenpark XI, to last week's squad to replace the unavailable Harry Briggs for Saturday's game which will start at 12 noon.

Saturday's match is very kindly sponsored by Lodge Greenock Kilwinning No. X11


Congratulations are due to Louis Ware, Greenock's Under-17 Scottish internationalist, who was a key player in the Scotland Under-17 team's narrow victory over Ireland in Cork in midweek. Ware scored 56 as the Scotland team narrowly defeated their Irish opponents. Ireland 166 all out Scotland 167 for 9 wickets.


The Glenpark XI are away to Torrance House (East Kilbride's 2nd XI) on Saturday in the WDCU First Reserve League. After last week's victory over Marress, the team will travel with some confidence of returning with a win. The match will start at 12 noon.


The Hillend XI make the long journey to Dumfries on Sunday for a WDCU Sunday League Division 2 fixture. The match is scheduled to start at 1pm.


***Greenock's junior cricketers have no games this Friday, possibly just as well given the weather forecast, but on Monday evening the Greenock / Helensburgh Under-18s are at home to Poloc while the Under-13 XI travel to Glasgow to play West of Scotland at Hamilton Crescent.


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