Greenock cannot afford to slip-up against East Kilbride

Greenock return to home turf at Glenpark and host East Kilbride on Saturday after two away matches at Hillhead and Kilmarnock. The Lanarkshire side have won just two matches in the league this season and occupy fourth bottom position some fifty five percentage points less than Greenock.

The two sides met earlier this season at East Kilbride's Torrance House ground. It was a rain affected match which Greenock won quite comfortably.

Batting first, the Greenock innings was interrupted by a very heavy downpour of rain after just 5.2 overs which led to a stoppage which lasted for almost three hours to allow for the drying out of the ground. When play recommenced, the Duckworth Lewis Stern (DLS) calculation indicated that the innings would be reduced to just 30 overs.

So batting tactics needed altering and with just a little under 25 overs remaining it was essential that runs were scored quickly. Tom Nicholson (42), Ryan Walker (44) and Lukas Fischer-Keogh (27) were the top batsmen for Greenock as a score of 165 for the loss of 7 wickets was compiled.

East Kilbride were set a DLS target of 174 from 30 overs. The Lanarkshire side made a poor start in their run chase losing their first three wickets with only 25 runs on the board. A middle order revival improved the situation but a further three wickets went down before 100 runs were scored. And the tail end batsmen contributed little before the home side were bowled out for just 109 runs after 29.4 overs.

Greenock wicket-keeper Lukas Fischer-Keogh followed up his innings of 27 runs with three catches and two stumpings. And Ryan Walker added 4 wickets for 22 runs to his innings of 44.

Team selection for the Glenpark side this coming Saturday will once again have to contend with the unavailability of various players due to work, injury and holiday family commitments. But fortunately the players who have been particularly key in the wins in recent weeks will be in the side for the match against East Kilbride.

Ryan Walker, who scored an unbeaten 130 and took four wickets at Kilmarnock last week, will once again be an influential player in the side, as will his Australian team mate Tom Nicholson.

The two Aussie amateurs have been a major component in the improved fortune of the Greenock side this season. Both are consistent performers with bat and ball and they have restored the confidence of the side which was at a low after relegation from the Premier Division last summer.

Benefiting from, and contributing to, the team's success this season are young players such as Gregor Chambers, Harry Briggs, Lukas Fischer-Keogh and Ewan Stewart. All are regulars now in the side and each is contributing most weeks with wickets and/or runs.

With the mid-point of the league season now past, there are only eight games remaining including the match against East Kilbride. And Greenock occupy second top spot in the First Division with a comfortable cushion of 15% between themselves and third top Kilmarnock.

This Saturday, Greenock will look to continue their fine form in the league which has brought seven wins from eight games completed. But wins cannot be taken for granted and East Kilbride will provide an opposition keen to gain a win themselves to ensure that relegation does not become an issue.

The Lanarkshire side has struggled this season and has gained only two wins. Bottom side GHK were comfortably beaten in mid May at the Glasgow side's Old Anniesland ground and also in May, second bottom Hillhead were beaten at Torrance House.

Since then defeat has followed defeat and with three teams to be relegated at the end of the season, East Kilbride now find themselves in an extremely precarious position flirting as they are close to the relegation zone.

The team for Saturday's match has still to be finalised but as previously stated will contain the players who have been key to this season's success.

The Glenpark XI are away to the Bees, Clydesdale's 3rd XI, on Saturday and will have to cope with a chronic lack of availability of players.


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