Greenock face Uddingston with a weakened team

Uddingston, Premier Division Champions in 2019, are Greenock's opponents this Saturday away at Bothwell Policies. The Lanarkshire side is currently in a mid-table position having won four and lost two of their matches this season.

Since winning the title in 2019, Uddingston have had a few changes to their team. Most notably, Scottish international pace bowler Gavin Main has moved away to Scottish Champions, Heriots CC in Edinburgh while Zaighum Ahmad, who now opens the batting, has transferred across from Poloc CC.

Uddingston had their side strengthened in their title winning 2019 season by the arrival of a number of new players. Of these, Niall Alexander who transferred from Dumfries and Abdul Sabri from Glenrothes continue to make an impact within the Lanarkshire team. Alexander and Sabri have teamed up as Uddingston's regular opening bowling partnership.

Another key player in their side is former Greenockian Ross Lyons. 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.

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.

In Uddingston's recent match against Poloc, Mo Awais hit a spectacular 217 runs in his side's total of 329 for the loss of 6 wickets. Unfortunately for Uddy, the match was abandoned due to rain before Poloc batted.

Greenock, needing to add to their solitary Premier Division win gained against West of Scotland, will once again be significantly under strength as they travel to meet Uddingston. Unavailable due to work commitments are Neil Flack and Shailesh Prabhu and also unavailable are Chris Hempsey and Sam Sanghera.

The Glenparkers will therefore have to call on several players who normally play 2nd XI cricket.

Fortunately, Greenock's bowling line-up will still feature both of the regular opening bowlers Sean Fischer-Keogh and Gregor Chambers. And it is these two pace bowlers who have had the greatest success for the team. Last Saturday against Stirling County all five of the County wickets which fell were the results of their efforts.

Team captain Greg McDougall will provide back up bowling and will also call upon Ewan Stewart and Usman Mansoor, who both look likely to step up from the 2nd XI and have been doing well this season.

Harry Briggs and Jamie Nowell, along with Chirag Pandher, whose work schedule enables him to play this weekend, will provide further bowling options.

But it is to Fischer-Keogh and Chambers that Greenock will look to make the key, early breakthroughs into the Uddingston top batting order. And if this can be achieved, then Greenock will be well in the game. The pace bowling duo have now taken twenty four Premier Division wickets between them and will be eyeing up an increase in their wicket-taking haul this Saturday afternoon.

With leading run-scorer Neil Flack unavailable, the players who do form Saturday's side must show determination and resilience at the crease in order to build a competitive score.

Harry Briggs has regularly shown that he can bat for lengthy spells, and when he does he scores runs and features in significant partnerships. He played an important anchor innings of 27 not out in the win against West of Scotland and followed up by scoring a fine 68 against league leaders Clydesdale just two weeks ago.

Jamie Nowell is gaining experience at the top of the order and it is only a matter of time before he gets a big score. Gregor Chambers, too, has shown in the early season that he is an accomplished bat and a really meaningful innings could be his this weekend.

Very pleasing for Greenock supporters is the development of Under-19 Scottish international Sean Fischer-Keogh. Until this season, he has been recognised predominantly as a bowler but is now maturing into a fine all rounder. In recent weeks he has shown what he can do with the bat by scoring 32 at Dumfries and last week had a fine innings of 41 runs at Stirling County.

Chirag Pandher comes back into the side. He is a strong and powerful batsman who has the ability to change the momentum of a game. Despite little game time due to work commitments, Pandher could play an important role for the team at Bothwell Policies on Saturday.

Greenock skipper Greg McDougall will have the job of marshalling his players and trying to get the best out of them. A number of young players with little experience at 1st XI level will be in the side at Uddingston and McDougall will be keen to see them rise to the occasion.

Every player will have a job to do and each player must have self-belief that their input can help the team meet the challenge which will undoubtedly be faced against the defending Premier Division champions on Saturday.

At the time of writing a squad of fourteen has been identified from which McDougall will make his final selection for the game which starts at the usual time of 12 noon.

The Glenpark (2nd) XI's last three games have all followed the same pattern of the batsmen compiling a decent score in the first innings and then the bowlers failing to defend that total. It would be good to think that there will be a reversal of fortunes this Saturday when Marress (Irvine's 2nd XI) are the visitors. Skipper Jack Hutchinson's team will inevitably be affected by the absences in the 1st XI and he will make a final selection from a squad of thirteen. The match will start at 1pm with each team batting for 40 overs and according to the forecast should be played in perfect sunny weather.

 

Greenock Cricket Club is sponsored this season by Cleaning Supplies 4U.