1965 - No improvement

1965 saw further changes at the top of the Club. John Gray's job took him eastwards to Uddingston and he was replaced as captain by Brian Case, an archetypal whole-hearted cricketer. Don McLeod was not re-engaged as professional and his position was filled by the Club's groundsman, Colin Maston. Maston, a not untypical Yourshireman, had joined the Club in the previous year, playing for the second XI as its professional. He made no secret of his desire to take over McLeod's position - his nickname of 'Hornblower' had nothing to do with his prowess as a sailor!

Disappointing league campaign

In the event, Maston's appointment did nothing to turn round the Club's fortunes. Indeed the league campaign could be described as disastrous with only two wins gained all season and Cup hopes were quickly extinguished. Maston was a useful club player, but no more than that, with a somewhat agricultural method to his batting while he was a steady but not especially penetrative medium-paced bowler. He was not a match-winner, which was a description that applied to most of the professionals at the other Union clubs.

The season started with a heavy loss to Kelburne but two weeks later, possibly the best performance of the summer resulted in an 88-run win over Ayr. There followed two big defeats at the hands of Poloc and Uddingston and the worse of a draw with Clydesdale before the team achieved their second league win with an exciting 2-wicket victory over Kilmarnock.

Kelburne loss sums up the season

That was as good as it got. There were a couple of draws with Poloc and Ayr, where Greenock earned the draw point but the final game against Kelburne rather summed up the season, a thumping 71 run loss after being bowled out for just 51.

The finishing table shows Greenock in 9th position with just 6 points gained out of a possible 30, a poor return for what was a poor season. The two Paisley sides fought it out for the title with Ferguslie just clinching the honour by 1 point.

No progress in the Cups

There were the usual two wins and two defeats in the West League Cup which meant no qualification for the knock-out stages of the competition, although at least this year, Kelburne were defeated. That latter result somewhat made up for the Paisley team putting Greenock out of the Rowan Cup in the first round.

Results in the friendly matches were mixed but there was another big win over the hapless Kelvinside Accies, who could not cope with Maston's bowling.

Wilson Evans makes breakthrough

The averages made for some interesting reading. 1965 was the breakthrough year for Wilson Evans. His aggregate of 444 runs was the leading figure for the year, followed by Hugh Paterson on 386, Maston on 313 and Brian Lang 310. In other words, three of the top four performances were by members of the younger generation. These four batsmen were also the leading run-scorers in the Union with Evans on top with 309. It was worth pointing out that more games were played this year with all 18 Union games starting, although three were ultimately abandoned.

Maston was the leading wicket-taker with 53 in all games, followed by skipper Case with 41. Jack Clark with 32 wickets and Graham White, who had returned after a spell working overseas, with 28 shared the main burden of the bowling with Maston and Case. As far as the Union was concerned, all four bowlers took 20 wickets or more but all four were relatively expensive. This was undoubtedly one of the main reasons for Greenock's poor showing in the league.

A very disappointing season and changes would be necessary if a challenge for honours was to be mounted. Certainly a better professional was needed, one that was on more of an equal footing with those employed by the other Union clubs.