Greenock look to build on last week's win

Greenock host Poloc at Glenpark on Saturday and will be eager to gain a second successive win following their fine start to the league season at East Kilbride last weekend. The Glenpark side beat their Lanarkshire opponents by the comfortable margin of 65 runs to provide the perfect start to their bid for a quick promotion back to the Premier Division.

But Poloc will be no easy team to overcome if meetings on league business in recent seasons is anything to go by.

The two teams have had a very similar history since 2016 when they were promoted together to the Premier Division. In the years since then both clubs just narrowly managed to survive in the top flight. However, last summer relegation eventually caught up with them at the end of the season.

Interestingly, while in the Premier Division for the four seasons when play was possible 2017 - 2021 (there was no league cricket in 2020 due to the pandemic) the teams met only three times. Wet weather seemed to follow the fixtures between the teams and all four matches scheduled for Glenpark during these seasons failed to take place.

On the three occasions when matches were possible, all were at Poloc's home ground, Shawholm, on the south side of Glasgow and Greenock failed to return with a win.

So there is an added incentive for the Glenpark side to do well this Saturday afternoon.

The Glasgow southsiders have made a poor start to their 2022 league campaign. On the opening Saturday of the league season they were away to Loc Hire Stenhousemuir. The match at Larbert near Falkirk evaded the wet weather which affected the west of Scotland, but for Poloc it was still a miserable afternoon as they were bowled out for 131 and lost by 5 wickets.

Last Saturday against Drumpellier at Shawholm, the southsiders lost for a second time. Batting first they could only manage a total of 92 and Drumpellier easily overhauled this meagre score with just two wickets down.

Only Hunnain Sohail (16) of the top seven Poloc batsmen got into double figures before Andrew Mallichan (15) and Waseem Ahmed (10) along with the rest of the tail end batsmen got the total to 92. Top scorer was 'extras' with 25 (wides)!

Greenock will field a side similar to the winning XI from last Saturday. However Chirag Pandher and Cammy Calder both drop out due to work commitments and are replaced by Chris Hempsey and Jamie Nowell who are once again available.

Tom Nicholson and Ryan Walker were the mainstay of Greenock's batting performance at East Kilbride. Each scored 40 plus runs and were ably supported by Lukas Fischer-Keogh (27), Gregor Chambers (16) and Chirag Pandher with a quickfire 10.

Nicholson, Walker and Chambers have all shown good early season form with the bat. Each has had a fifty to their name from the games played and Nicholson has racked up a personal tally of 196 runs at an average of 49.

Run-scoring has been an issue for Greenock in recent seasons, but so far in 2022 the team has exceeded 125 runs in two matches played and 150 in another two.

Greenock's bowling and fielding performances have also been encouraging. Last Saturday, team captain Greg McDougall used six bowlers in the win over East Kilbride and each acquitted himself well.

But it was Ryan Walker with 4 wickets for 22 runs from 4.4 overs who produced the top performance. He has picked up 11 wickets from just four games played and has the potential to 'bag' a large number of wickets during the season ahead.

Lukas Fischer-Keogh also had a fine afternoon behind the stumps. He held three catches and took two stumpings.

Another good all round team performance will give Greenock a great chance to collect a second league win, the match starting at the usual time of 12 noon. The weather forecast is looking good and so the first league meeting between the two sides at Glenpark since 2015 just might happen !

On Sunday, Greenock travel to Edinburgh to play top Eastern Premier Division side Carlton at Grange Loan on Sunday in the first round of the Scottish Cup. Remarkably, Greenock have been drawn away to two of the top clubs in Edinburgh in Round One of each of the three most recent Scottish Cup competitions. In 2019, it was Grange CC. In 2021 it was Carlton CC and now in 2022 it is Carlton for the second successive season.

The team for the match shows a number of changes to Saturday's team but will still strive to be competitive in what will be a difficult encounter. This game will also start at 12 noon.

The Glenpark XI travel through to Larbert on Saturday for their Fourth Division match against The Tryst (Stenhousemuir's second string), looking to better their performance of last week when they had the worse of a draw against Bees


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