Greenock determined not to falter against Poloc

This Saturday, Greenock head off to Glasgow to take on Poloc at their picturesque ground, Shawholm, situated within Pollok Park on the south side of the city.

Greenock have not had a good record at Shawholm in recent years. Indeed their last six league games at the ground have all ended in defeat, sometimes by quite large margins.

But things should be different this time. Both teams were relegated from the Premier Division at the end of last season but while Greenock have regrouped and made a strong bid for promotion back to the top level, Poloc have struggled. They are currently embroiled in a relegation tussle with three other clubs and with three teams to be relegated, only one of them will play in the First Division next season.

Poloc will therefore be desperate to win on Saturday but their season so far has delivered only two wins and they have suffered some heavy defeats, especially against the stronger teams. As an example, when they met Greenock at Glenpark earlier this summer, they lost by 142 runs, being bowled out for 127 when chasing Greenock's 269 for 9, an innings illuminated by Tom Nicholson's unbeaten 156.

For their part, Greenock cannot contemplate defeat if they wish to maintain their place in the promotion battle. With their two rivals, Stenhousemuir and Kilmarnock, having winnable home fixtures on Saturday, the pressure is on Greenock to maintain their winning run.

In the past when Greenock have played Poloc, the Glasgow side have been bolstered by some fine overseas talent, mainly South Africans, but this year they have no overseas assistance and on top of that, some of their key players have moved on to other clubs. These personnel changes have been the main reason for Poloc's struggles this season although there have been signs in recent games that their batting has improved but they have had problems all season with containing the opposition batsmen.

Greenock have clearly benefited from the presence of their two young Australians, Tom Nicholson and Ryan Walker, with both featuring amongst the top batsmen and bowlers in the league. The confidence of having these two players in the team has spread to the rest of the players, especially the younger ones, with Harry Briggs and Lukas Fischer-Keogh in particular showing a pronounced improvement with the bat.

It is difficult to see anything other than another Greenock victory on Saturday but cricket is renowned for throwing up a surprise result from time to time. It is up to Greenock to make sure that this does not happen on Saturday.

Harry Briggs and Cammy Calder return to the team while newcomer Nagendra Nagaraju is also selected with Chris and Jonathan Hempsey and Rod Mountford unavailable from the side that defeated Irvine last week.

The match will start as usual at 12 noon.

The Glenpark XI are at home this week to The Tryst, Stenhousemuir's second eleven. Last week, it looked as if they would defend their total of 115 when playing against Inverclyde but their old failing of conceding too many extras reared its head again in the last few overs and brought about their defeat. Unless they can cut out this fault, then the team will find it hard going again this week.


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