CRICKET — Greenock Determined To Hold On To Top Spot

4 August, 2022 | Sport

FIRST Division leaders Greenock are on the road this weekend, facing fourth-placed Drumpellier at their Langloan ground in Coatbridge.

It is the third successive Saturday that the team has been away from Glenpark, but Greenock will travel full of confidence after winning last week’s top-of-the-table clash against previously undefeated Stenhousemuir last Saturday at The Tryst ground in Larbert.

The Glenpark team has now won 11 out of the 12 matches completed and edged ahead of Stenhousemuir by just 0.29 per cent. So there can be no slips in the last four matches of the league season.

Drumpellier have won eight out of the 12 matches which they have completed. The four losses have come against the top three teams in the league Stenhousemuir (twice), Greenock and Kilmarnock. Greenock won the June encounter at Glenpark by eight wickets.

But the Coatbridge side will almost certainly provide a competitive game on their own patch and be keen to knock Greenock off their newly gained top-of-the league position.

Drunpellier’s Sri Lankan professional Supeshala Jayathilake is the third-highest run-scorer in the First Division. The lefthand bat has scored 477 runs, with his highest score being 103 against Hillhead, and averages 79.5.

He is also a useful slow left arm bowler and has taken 17 league wickets. But it is Barbadian amateur Nic Austin who is Drumps leading bowler with 21 wickets.

Greenock have a strong pool of players with the experienced pair Shailesh Prabhu and Chris Hempsey plus Cammy Calder available to be added to the 11 who defeated Stenhousemuir. Out however goes Jonathan Hempsey who, along with Ryan Walker, guided Greenock to the win at Larbert.

Greenock’s Australian amateurs Tom Nicholson and Ryan Walker will be important players for the team on Saturday. Both are fine batsmen and are second and fourth in the First Division stats for run scoring. Nicholson has 568 runs at an average of 56.8 while Walker has scored 446 runs at an average of 89.2, the highest in the league.

And Nicholson and Walker also feature in the top three of the league’s bowling stats. Walker has 42 wickets and Nicholson 29.

But to get to the top of the league has not simply been the result of the efforts of the two Aussie amateurs. Others in the team have played their part as the season has progressed.

Pace bowler Gregor Chambers has bowled consistently well but has not had the wickets his consistency deserves. Last Saturday at The Tryst, Chambers led the Greenock attack, bowled seven overs and conceded just seven runs but did not get a wicket.

Ewan Stewart has moved between the 1st XI and 2nd XI and has regularly done an important job for the team. No more so than last Saturday when he captured the wickets of Stenhousemuir’s two overseas players in the space of three balls in his second over.

Team captain Greg McDougall has been an ever present and has picked up a number of important wickets as well as stepping in to score runs in the lower order of the batting line-up.

And Lukas Fischer-Keogh, Harry Briggs and Gregor Chambers have been batsmen who have contributed important runs in numerous games. Briggs has established himself at number three in the batting line-up and has scored almost 300 league runs in 2022.

McDougall said: “Last week’s win against Stenhousemuir was a huge one for the team. However, we can’t let up. Drumpellier have an experienced side and have been playing well. We need to emulate what we did last weekend to stay top of the league.”

Greenock’s team will be from: GJ McDougall, HR Briggs, PJ Bryceland, C. Calder, GM Chambers, LC Fischer-Keogh, CJK Hempsey, J Nowell, TJ Nicholson, SS Prabhu, A Sanghera, EA Stewart, RA Walker. Scorer: R McGregor. The match will start at noon.

Greenock’s 2nd XI, Glenpark, are at home on Saturday at noon against Clydesdale’s 3rd XI, Bees. The team will be from: PJ Janampally, E Ahmad, T Forrest, P Hempsey, N Kuwar, H Mirzayee, N Nagaraju, E Norris, C Prabhu, H Safi, S Safi, SS Sanghera.

Greenock Cricket Club is sponsored by Cleaning Supplies 4U

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