GREENOCK travel to the south side of Glasgow this Saturday to play Clydesdale in a top-versus-bottom league match.
Following last weekend’s defeat to West of Scotland, Greenock’s fate has been sealed and the team will be relegated at the end of the season and play in the WDCU (Western District Cricket Union) First Division in 2022.
The Glasgow club on the other hand must get maximum points from their two remaining rounds of fixtures to maintain their table-topping position if they are to win the Premier Division title.
Hot on their heels are Ferguslie, who they meet in their final match of the season at Meikleriggs next Saturday, in what will be the title decider.
While there is little expectation that Greenock could cause an upset at Titwood, Clydesdale will not be likely to treat the game with the Glenparkers lightly.
The club is the biggest in the west of Scotland and currently one of the most successful. As well as being in pole position to win the Premier Division title, Clydesdale also hope to win the McCulloch Cup (West League Cup) when they play Prestwick in the final of the competition on Sunday.
Greenock opening bat Neil Flack is available for the match on Saturday. Flack has been in good form with both bat and ball when he has been available, but work commitments meant he has only played in six Premier Division matches this season; Saturday’s match will be his first appearance since 14 July.
However a number of regular 1st XI players are unavailable, including opening pace bowler Gregor Chambers. Also out are Lukas Fischer-Keogh, Harry Briggs, Jamie Nowell and Chirag Pandher.
Chambers has played in all of Greenock’s matches in the Premier Division this season, and in partnership with Sean Fischer-Keogh spearheading the team’s bowling attack, has been a hugely consistent performer. He has taken more than 20 wickets in the matches played and, when Fischer- Keogh’s wickets are added, the duo’s wicket tally is more than 40.
For Fischer-Keogh, the Clydesdale game will be his last match of the season for Greenock. He has been chosen for the Scotland Under-19 World Cup Europe Qualifiers which are being held in Spain later this month. The squad flies out next week.
Saturday’s opponents, Clydesdale, have won 10 out of the 11 matches which they have completed and have 255 points and 92 per cent.
While the team has an excellent record, there have been a few occasions when they have made heavy weather of chasing down opponents’ totals.
Last Saturday at Titwood, opponents Langside batted first and scored what was a fairly modest 150 for the loss of six wickets. Clydesdale, in reply, scored 153 for the loss of nine wickets and so just scraped home by one wicket.
But on numerous occasions too, scores in excess of 200 runs have taken the Glasgow club to victory.
Fazal Jawad, along with Scottish internationalist, and former Greenock player, Richie Berrington are often the key batsmen. Both have been in good form recently. Berrington’s innings of 46 last Saturday was the mainstay of the team’s winning chase against Langside, while Fawad’s 101 not out along with Berrington’s 52 eased the team past Dumfries’s total of 200 at Nunholm in mid-August.
Their bowling unit has been a consistent weapon, with Calum Drummond, Arun Krishna and Daniel Cairns the usual front three in the attack.
Without an overseas professional in the side this season because of the covid pandemic, or other players with the experience and ability of Berrington, Greenock have struggled to compete.
The Glenpark side will, however, wish to give Clydesdale a competitive game and make them work to maintain their top-of-the-table position.
Ferguslie, in second position, will be watching the result and hoping their Renfrewshire rivals can do them a favour and pull out a surprise win.
Greenock’s team looks like being: GJ McDougall (capt), S Chaudhary, SK Fischer-Keogh, ND Flack, CJK Hempsey, PR Janampally, RP Mountford, SS Prabhu, SS Sanghera, A Sanghera, E Stewart. Scorer: R McGregor.
The Greenock 2nd XI (Glenpark) play West of Scotland’s Hamilton Crescent XI on Saturday afternoon at Stirling County’s New Williamfield ground.
Greenock Cricket Club is sponsored by Cleaning Supplies 4U