CRICKET: Greenock Travel To Renfrew Hoping For Back-To-Back Wins

27 June, 2024 | Local, Sport

The WDCU Premiership Division Two league reaches its halfway point this Saturday and Greenock will complete their first set of fixtures with an away trip to Renfrew.

The teams have met twice this season already with victory going to Greenock on both occasions. A pre-season friendly at Glenpark saw a 100-run win for the local team, with Connor Nowlan announcing himself to supporters with a fine century, while the McCulloch Cup fixture at King George V Park resulted in an eight-wicket win for the visitors.

However, it would be wise not to read too much into these results as in neither game were the teams at full strength. It probably makes more sense to look at where the two teams are presently situated in the league table and this shows that the upriver side hold an advantage.

Renfrew currently sit third in the table with a percentage of 65.71, admittedly well behind the two top sides, Kelburne and Dumfries, but with a good lead over the teams immediately below them.

For their part, Greenock lie in sixth position with a percentage of 50.29 which reflects the poor run of form in the first half of June that only ended last Saturday with the win over Irvine.

Renfrew started the season in fine form, with resounding victories over Kilmarnock and East Renfrewshire, both of whom have defeated Greenock, and they gave Kelburne a good run for their money but in recent weeks their form has drifted and last Saturday they lost a low-scoring game with Glasgow Accies by three runs when chasing just 94.

This fluctuating form suggests that this might be a good time to be playing Renfrew. They appear to rely quite heavily on their professional, Myshukur Rahman, who has scored 197 runs and taken 11 wickets so far. Farhan Khan with 199 runs and Hussanain Haider with 13 wickets are the only other players who have made any real impact with bat and ball.

Having said that, Greenock have been heavily reliant on their two young Australians. Connor Nowlan with 328 runs and 14 wickets and Angus Tolhurst with 189 runs and 13 wickets have been the stand-out performers all season. The next best total of runs is 79 which shows just how crucial the Aussies have been to the team.

This lack of runs from the supporting batsmen is the most worrying aspect of the team’s form and goes some way to explaining why the team has struggled in the league. Saturday’s team shows just the one change from the side that defeated Irvine, with Shailesh Prabhu, who has missed the last two games, replacing Vishal Yadav.

Prabhu scored 52 in his last appearance and his presence this week may help to shore up the batting. It is likely that he will open the batting with Nowlan and a good partnership from them would set the platform for a better all-round performance.

Skipper McDougall will have a number of options open to him for the bowling attack and he will look to them to make inroads into the Renfrew batting line-up.

With neither Harry Briggs or Chris Hempsey available, Chirag Pandher will take over the wicket-keeping duties but if he is required to bowl, as has been the case in previous games, then Angus Tolhurst will take over the gloves.

The game is likely to be close on Saturday but the feeling is that the two Aussies hold the key and if they maintain their form, then the winning points should belong to Greenock.

The selected team is: GJ McDougall (Capt), PJ Bryceland, CS Calder, F Dinarkhel, CJ Nowlan, CS Pandher, SS Prabhu, A Sanghera, SS Sanghera, EA Stewart, AS Tolhurst.

The Glenpark XI have a home fixture this Saturday when they welcome Milngavie 2nd XI. The team is: M Ahmad (Capt), M Ahmadzai, Z Dilsoz, SK Hussain, I Khan, M Kochai, R Kumar, U Mansoor, H Safi, DC Sharma, V Yadav

Both games are scheduled to start at noon.

Greenock Cricket Club is sponsored by Cleaning Supplies 4U

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