Vital match for the 1st XI


Although still very early in the season, this Saturday's fixture against Kelburne is a highly significant one for Greenock and also for their Paisley opponents. Both sides have lost their opening two Premier Division matches and need a win to keep in touch with the other teams in the league.

Greenock have a slight advantage going into Saturday afternoon's match, as they have three good cup competition wins to their credit since their last league fixture, while Kelburne have yet to win a competitive match in the 2017 season.

In the WDCU40 Cup competition, Greenock defeated GHK in a high scoring match at Old Anniesland, in Glasgow, and last weekend the Glenparkers went through to the capital city on Sunday and comfortably defeated Edinburgh CC at their Campbell Park ground, in the first round of this season's Citylets Scottish Cup. Most recently, on Wednesday evening of this week, Greenock travelled up the M8 and gained a very comfortable win over Renfrew in the McCulloch West League Cup.

Kelburne have had a much less positive time. The Whitehaugh side went out of the Scottish Cup on Sunday when they lost at home to West of Scotland, and on Wednesday evening lost again, this time to near neighbours Ferguslie, in their McCulloch West League Cup sectional match at Meikleriggs.

A number of key players who were part of the Whitehaugh side's first eleven last season have moved on to new clubs including Qasim Sheikh and Samir Zia, but they have not added any new players into their squad other than their two new overseas players who are both from South Africa, Bradley Joynt and Jacques Porter.

Joynt has been Kelburne's most consistent batsman in the matches played to date. In the four competitive matches played since the start of the season, he has scored one fifty, had two innings in the twenties and is averaging just over 30 runs per game.

The Kelburne bowling attack has yet to show that it is capable of inflicting real damage to the opposition, and also the team has chopped and changed every match. Steven McLister and Ross McLean have been Kelburne's most successful bowlers to date and they will be supported by others such as former Greenock player Dougie Wylie and overseas player Joynt.

Greenock will still be without team captain Jonathan Hempsey as he recovers from a foot injury and will also miss Under-17 internationalist Louis Ware who is unavailable, but otherwise will be at close to full strength. Neil Flack, who is in good early season form, will lead the side once again and will almost certainly open the Greenock innings with Harry Briggs, who himself has shown good form in the recent cup matches.

Thereafter, Greenock will look to the team's middle order of Phil McInosh, Kyle Scrimegour, Shailesh Prabhu and Julien Hulbert to build a good score. Prabhu has batted quite consistently well this season and his experience is an invaluable asset to the team.

In the remainder of the batting order there is still plenty of potential for runs. Aidan Forrest comes into the side for the first time this season and he is a player who has ability to score highly as has Chris Hempsey. Both have scored centuries in previous seasons and some of that form would be welcome. Sehmat Pandher, Sam Sanghera and Greg McDougall will complete the batting and once again each of these players is capable of scoring valuable runs for the side.

Greenock's bowling has been generally of a good standard in the matches played so far with Kyle Scrimegour usually leading the attack with Louis Ware. But this week Ware is unavailable and Julien Hulbert may well be asked to open the bowling with Scrimegour. Therafter, other options will include Sam Sanghera, Neil Flack, Phil McIntosh and Greg McDougall.

Last season Greenock played two matches against Kelburne and lost them both. In mid-May 2016, Greenock lost to the Whitehaugh side in the Murgitroyd Trophy by just two runs, and then in June, in the West League Cup, Kelburne ran out easy winners by the margin of seven wickets

So, Greenock must give respect to the Kelburne team and work to ensure that some good partnerships are developed when batting and that bowling and fielding skills are at their best on Saturday.

Greenock's cup form is certainly encouraging, but gaining a league win in Paisley on Saturday will be felt by many at the Club to be at least as important, and possibly more so, than the recent cup victories.

Greenock's team therefore shows one change from that which was selected for last weekend's cancelled match with Aidan Forrest replacing Louise Ware. The match will start at the usual time of 12 noon.

The Glenpark XI have a home match on Saturday against The Tryst (Stenhousemuir's 2nd XI) in the Reserve League First Division. The Glenparkers will be hopeful of gettting a first league win of the season over a team against which they have had some success in recent years. This game will start at 12 noon.

To finish off a busy weekend for Greenock's senior team cricketers, the Hillend XI are at home to Victoria 2 in the WDCU Sunday League Division 2. This match will begin at 1pm and the usual mixture of the young and old will no doubt feature and will be keen to better last week's result when they were well beaten by a Clydesdale Development XI

Junior cricketers at Glenpark also have matches in the next few days. The Under-15 team, who are combined with Helensburgh, travel to Ayr on Friday evening while the Under-13 side travel across the Clyde to play Helensburgh on Monday evening in the Under-13 League Cup, a match which should have been played earlier this week but had to be called off due to the weather.


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