Queen Victoria cricket team play at Glenpark

Players leave the field at the end of play

On Wednesday 28 July, the newest Cunard cruise liner, Queen Victoria, made her maiden visit to Greenock as one of the ports of call in an Around the British Isles 10 day cruise which had begun in Southampton on Thursday 22 July.

A number of the on board crew are cricket enthusiasts and enjoy playing when there is an opportunity to do so when in port. Their “pitches” however are usually vacant spaces in between containers on a dockside or an area of open ground somewhere not too far from the ship. So when the opportunity to play on a real cricket ground, Glenpark, was offered to them by Greenock CC Match Secretary Peter Hempsey, who was on a cruise to the Baltic in early July with his wife Mary and two friends Anne and Gordon Armour, there was great excitement and a clamour to take part.

So it was then, that around thirty crew came along to Glenpark last Wednesday and enjoyed playing for over four hours. They were accompanied by Brian Lynch, Personnel and Training Manager aboard Queen Victoria, who along with one of the Britannia Restaurant Head Waiters, Satish Salian, set up the match with Peter. Prior to play beginning, Peter welcomed the crew to Glenpark and presented Brian Lynch with small cricket bat with an engraved plaque to commemorate the occasion and Brian presented the Club with an engraved crystal decanter from Queen Victoria.

The crew, who featured a wide variety of nationalities ......Indian, South African, Sri Lankan, New Zealand, Pakistan, Serbian, Philippine.......had a very enjoyable time and played three short matches amongst themselves. There was some fine cricket played and Tony Judd, who was present during the day, was heard to say that it was pity some of the players could not be signed up for Greenock !

Brian Lynch who has worked for Cunard for 19 years commented, “It’s been fantastic. To be invited to Greenock Cricket Club is amazing for the crew. It was a wonderful idea and gives the crew a chance to spend a few hours off the ship, as it’s not often we get that opportunity. We’ve never had anything like this before and to be invited to such a prestigious club makes it all the more superb.”

The crew were treated to day-long hospitality of tea, coffee, soft drinks, home baking and the local delicacies ....sausage rolls and hot pies.....which were provided by Peter’s wife Mary, her friends Anne Armour and Edith Hamill who had also been on the Queen Victoria’s Baltic cruise, and Greenock CC members Marie Stewart, Maureen Harrison and Mary McKnight.

Satish Salian, from India, who demonstrated during the games played that he is a fine all round cricket player, said “Thanks to all the people who made our day so wonderful and, of course, a big thanks to Mrs Hempsey and all the ladies, sorry I don't know their names, for cooking pies and sausage rolls. They were fantastic, as were the pickled chillies, shortbreads, cookies, pancakes, and Mrs Hempsey’s specially made banana cakes. The boys are very grateful to you all. Unfortunately there are not many Greenocks in our itinerary.”

More photos of the day's events can be found here.