Can Greenock find the winning formula against Uddingston?


Third placed Uddingston are visitors to Glenpark on Saturday for Greenock's Premier Division match this weekend. The Bothwell Policies side are flying high this season with a series of fine results in both league and cup competitions and Greenock will need to be at their best in order to emerge with a win.

Last Saturday at Titwood in Glasgow, the Glenparkers narrowly missed pulling off what would have been a quite magnificent win against leading side Clydesdale. Chasing a formidable score of 263, the local side finished an agonising ten runs short at the end of their fifty overs. Importantly, however, the signs in the team's play during the afternoon were much more positive than has been the case in some games to date.

With the warm, dry spell of weather, wickets have improved significantly and a number of Greenock players have been able to show the potential of which they are capable with the bat. Runs have begun to flow and no more so than in the match at Titwood, where Neil Flack scored a magnificent 119 and South African amateur Laurens Smit chipped in with a patiently constructed innings of 63.

Jonathan Hermpsey too has had a good spell in recent matches with 70 against West of Scotland and 50 against Ayr. And teenage opening bat Harry Briggs looked in good form last weekend with 22 at the top of the order.

Indian professional Saurabh Bandekar has yet to get any real consistency into his batting but he is a class player and he is sure to produce some fine innings in the weeks ahead. Saturday afternoon at Glenpark would be a perfect place to make a big score and he will be keen to show local supporters what he can do.

For Greenock to bring home the bacon on Saturday, the top five or six batsmen must set up the innings and at least one of them needs to bat deep into the innings and provide a substantial individual score. To do so requires patience and application. Flack and Smit showed that they possessed those abilities against Clydesdale and more of the same this weekend would be very welcome.

Opponents Uddingston have made a very encouraging start to their season and in the Premier Division their record is played 4, won 3 and lost just one, which was to league leaders Ferguslie on the first Saturday in May.

A key player in their side is former Greenockian Ross Lyons who started his cricket career with former local side Hillend alongside his late father Graham. Ross and his family moved to Glasgow when he was just a very young teenager and he joined Clydesdale where he gained international recognition at various age group levels.

A hard-hitting left-handed batsman and a slow left-arm orthodox spin bowler, Lyons made his debut for the Scottish senior international team on 26 August 2005 in a Totesport league match against Derbyshire. He played 61 times for Scotland in all formats, including 25 One Day Internationals, his first match at that level coming on 27 June 2006 against Pakistan.

Now aged 33 Lyons joined Uddingston in April 2017 following a spell with East Kilbride where he was their Player of the Year in 2016 having scored three centuries. He also took two 5 wicket hauls during a season which saw the East Kilbride club win the Rowan Cup and come runners-up in the Premier Division.

He is a player who is well known to the Greenock side and his performances with both bat and ball could well have a very important bearing upon the outcome of the game on Saturday.

Others in the Uddingston side who Greenock will need to keep in check include Mo Awais, Harmanjit 'Harry' Singh and South African amateur Jimmy Sholto-Douglas.

While having an eye on their opponent's abilities with bat and ball, Greenock must ensure that their own team performance is up to the highest standard. Two important areas which the locals will be focusing on will be their bowling and fielding.

In a number of matches to date this season, too many extras have been conceded and important catching opportunities put down. The number of wide balls bowled must be reduced, as these provide easy runs for the opposition plus extra balls to score from, and catches when presented need to be taken. The old adage, "Take your catches, win your matches" is as true today as it ever was.

A victory on Saturday would be Greenock's first of the season in the Premier Division and would be very welcome as the locals are currently propping up the league and need to start winning and gaining points in order to climb up the table.

Greenock's selection shows one change from last week with Shailesh Prabhu avaulable again and replacing Tom Forrest while promising young bowler Seasn Fischer-Keogh keeps his place. The match will start at 12 noon.

The game is kindly sponsored by Blair & Bryden Solicitors

The Glenpark XI, having lost two games on the spin, will look to get back on the winning trail when they travel to Helensburgh on Saturday to play Ardencaple in the WDCU Third Division. Skipper Ally Calder has a stonger squad to pick from this week and will make his final selection from a squad of 15 players. The match, of 40 overs per side, starts at 1pm.


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