Greenock face resurgent Uddingston on Saturday
Following last weekend's Premier Division washout, Greenock, along with other teams in the league will be hoping to get their match played with better weather this Saturday. The Glenpark side travel to Lanarkshire to meet the current joint top of the table team Tunnock's Uddingston at Bothwell Policies.
Saturday's opponents have started the season very well and have a 100% record from the three matches which they have played so far in the Premier Division.
The cancellation of last Saturday's match at Glenpark due to the wet weather was a great disappointment for the Greenock side whose confidence was up following a midweek win at Renfrew. It was also doubly disappointing as the Greenock side had arguably their strongest eleven of the season available and ready to play Clydesdale.
Clydesdale for their part, were to be without Scottish internationalist Richie Berrington. He was out due to a broken finger sustained in a representative match and his omission would have been significant loss for the Glasgow team.
It was at Uddingston last season that Greenock recorded one its best and most important results. Greenock made a massive move towards survival in the Premier Division with a fine eight wicket win over the Lanarkshire team at Bothwell Policies. And with only three Saturdays remaining in the Premier Division 2018 season, the result opened up an important gap between the Glenpark side and the bottom two which all but confirmed top flight cricket at Glenpark once again for 2019.
While Greenock have remained largely unchanged in terms of 1st XI personnel since that match last summer, Uddingston have had their side strengthened by the arrival of a number of new players who have become regular 1st XI players. Anwar Hafeez, opening batsman from Ayr, Niall Alexander opening pace bowler from Dumfries and Abdul Sabri middle order bat and change bowler from Glenrothes have all made an immediate impact within the Lanarkshire team.
And returned to the Uddingston ranks after a spell playing First Class cricket for Durham County is Scottish internationalist Gavin Main who partners Alexander as the head of the bowling attack. Main was part of the Scotland squad in the recent series of One Day Internationals
Another key player in their side is former Greenockian Ross Lyons who moved to Glasgow when he was just a very young teenager, joining Clydesdale where he gained international recognition at various age group levels.
A left-handed batsman and a slow left-arm orthodox spin bowler, Lyons made his debut for the Scottish senior international team in 2005 and played 61 times for Scotland in all formats, including 25 One Day Internationals. After a spell out of the international scene, Lyons was once again chosen to represent Scotland 'A' in a number of matches during the 2018 season.
Now aged 33, Lyons joined Uddingston in April 2017 following a spell with East Kilbride where he was their Player of the Year in 2016. He is a player who is well known to the Greenock side and his performances with both bat and ball could well have a very important bearing upon the outcome of the game on Saturday.
Others in the Uddingston side who Greenock will need to keep in check include team captain Bryan Clarke, Amir Gul, Mo Awais and Harmanjit 'Harry' Singh.
So Greenock will need to be at their best to overcome Uddingston at Bothwell Policies. But good performances when batting and also when in the field could well give the Glenparkers the edge and bring the reward of maximum points.
However, this Saturday, the Greenock team will itself be without one of its most experienced players as Jonathan Hempsey is side-lined due a badly bruised foot, an injury gained two weeks in the match against Prestwick, and which is likely to lead to him missing the next two or three Premier Division matches.
Also missing from Greenock's line-up will be former captain Shailesh Prabhu and Chirag Pandher whose work commitments rule them out. Prabhu's omission, in particular, will be a further blow to the Glenpark side as he brings considerable experience to the batting line-up.
But the enforced break due to the wet weather last weekend, and in midweek, has at least provided an opportunity for some players who have been carrying injuries a few extra days to regain their fitness and be in better condition for Saturday's encounter with Tunnock's Uddingston.
Greenock's team selection has yet to be finalised for the match which will start at the usual time of 12 noon.
The Glenpark XI are at home on Saturday when Bute County are the visitors. Their final selection will ultimately depend on who drops out of the 1st XI squad but given the blend of youth and experience that is likely to play, a welcome victory should ensue.
The Hillend XI are at home on Sunday when they take on a West of Scotland Development XI for a game which should provide an opportunity for the younger players of the Club to gain more match practice against senior players. This match will start at 1pm.
Greenock Cricket Club is sponsored this season by Cleaning Supplies 4U.