CRICKET -- Greenock Aim For First League Win

TOP Glasgow side, Clydesdale, are Greenock’s opponents for this Saturday’s Premier Division match which will take place at Titwood.

With the recent spell of warmer and sunnier weather, grounds across the west of Scotland have had the opportunity to dry out and most are now in good condition. Titwood is one of the best in the country and is regularly the venue for some of the most prestigious cricket matches played each summer. It is a big ground and matches played there often can be high-scoring affairs with batsmen having the opportunity to show their talents on a wicket which can favour good strokeplay.

In the Clydesdale team are various players who this season have already demonstrated abilities with the bat. In the only home match which Clydesdale have played in the Premier Division so far this season, teenager Angus Guy just missed out on a century against Poloc, when the sides met at Titwood two weeks ago. He made a marvellous 90 runs and shared a 163-run partnership with Scottish internationalist Richie Berrington as his side racked up a total of 251 runs for the loss of 7 wickets.

Former Greenock player Berrington scored 80 runs in the match-winning partnership, and he will be the most prized wicket for the Glenpark men this Saturday afternoon. Berrington, who has represented his country on more than 200 occasions, is a key player for Clydesdale and knows how to bat on the normally excellent Titwood track -- but he is not infallible and last week at Dumfries he was out early, bowled for just one run.

Failure to score runs and get a challenging total on the board is Greenock’s main problem at present with few players able to sustain a lengthy period of time at the crease and build meaningful partnerships. This Saturday at Titwood, on a good wicket, would be an ideal time for the players to show the talents which they undoubtedly have, but which this season for most have just not yet come to the fore. Important for the Glenpark side will be getting the innings off to a sound start and it is possible that Shailesh Prabhu and Harry Briggs will resume their role at the top of the order. Both players have experience with this job.

Also, if professional Saurabh Bandekar can get settled in and bat for a lengthy period, then he has the potential to make a big score. And his experience and talent could assist others in the side to show what they are capable of too.

Greenock captain Neil Flack has made a number of decent starts to his innings in the various matches played so far but has not, as yet, been able to bat on to a high score. The big platform of playing against Clydesdale at Titwood should be an ideal place for Flack to bat long and score well. He was able to do so on numerous occasions last year and has the talent to do so again on Saturday when conditions should be in his favour.

Jonathan Hempsey recently reached the major milestones of 2,000 runs and 200 wickets for Greenock 1st XI, becoming just the 16th player in the club’s 156-year history to do so. He scored a 1st XI career best of 70 against West of Scotland two weeks ago at Hamilton Crescent and a repeat of an innings of that calibre would be of huge benefit to the team.

Returning to the Greenock team for the Clydesdale match may be Chris Hempsey. He is the team’s number one wicketkeeper and also a mid-order batsman and so a key player for the side. He has missed crucial league and cup matches over the past week having sustained a very swollen, poisoned ankle because of an insect bite. He has been receiving hospital treatment, but is hopeful of being able to play on Saturday if the swelling and bruising reduces sufficiently to allow him to do so.

As well as putting on a good batting display, the Glenpark team will need to bowl and field well on Saturday if a positive result is to be gained and early wickets could put the Titwood side on to the back foot. But the Glasgow south side team has numerous players capable of scoring well and so taking chances when offered by the Clydesdale batsmen really must be snapped up as these will be important to keep run-scoring in check. Greenock will be keen to put on a good performance and bring out the best in their play in order to gain their first Premier Division win of the 2018 season.

Greenock’s team for the match, which will start at noon, looks likely to be: ND Flack (Capt), S Bandekar, HR Briggs, F Godsman, CJK Hempsey, JPC Hempsey, GJ McDougall, RP Mountford, SS Prabhu, SS Sanghera, L Smit. Scorer: R McGregor

The Greenock 2nd XI (Glenpark) are at home to Clydesdale’s Cavalier XI. The match will commence at Glenpark at 1pm. The team for this match will be chosen from: A Calder, PJ Bryceland, C Calder, M Farrell, T Forrest, N Forrest, P Hempsey, L Fischer Keogh, S Fischer Keogh, L McCahill, J Nowell, , A Sanghera, D Sharma, E Stewart.

Sunday Friendly At Glenpark

On Sunday afternoon, a West of Scotland XI will be welcomed to Glenpark for a friendly fixture which will be a 40-over-a-side match starting at 1pm.

Midweek Results

On Wednesday evening, Greenock 1stXI lost to high flying Premier Division leaders Ferguslie at Meikleriggs in Paisley in the West Group section of the McCulloch (West League Cup) Cup. Result: Greenock 61 for 9, Ferguslie 64 for 3

On Thursday evening, Greenock lost out to Ayr at New Cambusdoon in the Murgitroyd Rowan Cup. Result: Greenock 113 for 5 in 20 overs. Ayr 116 for 2 in 15.5 overs.

Greenock Cricket Club is sponsored by Cleaning Supplies 4U

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