Greenock's last game before the split ... weather permitting

Weather permitting, Greenock will play Uddingston at Glenpark on Saturday in the team’s final match before ‘the split’ in this year’s SNCL Premiership. If the game does in fact get completed, it will be a minor miracle considering the amount of rainfall there has been in midweek.

The 2011 season has been hugely disrupted by the weather and, as week 15 of the season approaches, Greenock have played just eight out of the fourteen Premiership matches which should have been completed to date.

Last Saturday at Forthill in Dundee, Greenock were in a very good position in their match against Forfarshire when heavy rain brought about the abandonment of the game. Having scored 240 for 8 in their own innings, the Greenock team had their sights on a win, especially when the first two home batsmen were removed for just over 20 runs, but the rain which closed in thwarted that ambition.

The key man in creating the very sizeable score last week was Aussie pro Luke Butterworth. His 109 runs were the backbone of the innings, while Richie Berrington (37) and Alex Baum (32) each had important partnerships with him.

Butterworth will, however, be missing from the Greenock line-up tomorrow along with Berrington as both players will be featuring in the Scottish Saltires team which plays against Leicestershire on Saturday and against Hampshire on Sunday, in the Clydesdale Bank 40 competition with both games at Mannofield in Aberdeen.

To have one of these players missing at this crucial period in the Premiership season would be a blow to Greenock but to have both unavailable is yet another piece of cruel luck for the side as it battles to avoid being in one of the final two relegation positions. Butterworth and Berrington would have been expected to have scored runs and also taken wickets, so the burden of providing match winning performances will fall on others in the side.

Chris Bellwood showed against Ayr at the beginning of July that he could score runs when he compiled a fine innings of 67. Bellwood is also a useful bowler and he will be likely to be in contention to open the bowling along with Willie Rowan and Waleed Jamal.

Opening the batting with Bellwood will almost certainly be Shailesh Prabhu who has been showing signs of good form in the matches in which he has played recently. He is due a big score and tomorrow against Uddingston would be the perfect time to do it. Andy Hislop too, has threatened to get a big innings and his input will be of significance tomorrow as will the contributions from Alex Baum, Willie Rowan and Jonathan Hempsey..

Greenock’s bowling attack will be considerably less threatening with Butterworth and Berrington, the two who spearheaded the attack last Saturday against Forfarshire, playing in Aberdeen for Scotland. So it is likely that Waleed Jamal and Willie Rowan will be called upon to take the new ball with Chris Bellwood, Jonathan Hempsey , Andy Hislop and Dougie Wylie the others who will be brought into the bowling attack.

Uddingston are sitting comfortably in tenth position and will bring a team which will include former Scotland pace bowler and pinch hitter Paul Hoffman. Now 41 years of age, Hoffman remains a threat to any team as he continues to be a miserly bowler and on his day he can be a dangerous batsman too. In May 2005 he smashed the fastest century in SNCL history taking just 35 balls to do so.

Also a key player in this season’s Uddingston side is BARS Priyardarshana, their Sri Lankan professional. He is a right hand bat and also a useful right arm fast-medium pace bowler. Two weeks ago he returned one of his best bowling figures of the summer taking 3 for 29 against Aberdeenshire while his top score has been 57 against league leaders Carlton.

The Lanarkshire side will, however, be without their top player ,Calum MacLeod, who has scored almost 400 runs so far in SNCL matches this season, with a top score of 114 not out. MacLeod is also a very useful bowler and has picked up 12 wickets for his team in the matches in which he has played. However, he is also an important player for the Scottish Saltires and he will be with Butterworth and Berrington in Aberdeen this weekend.

Greenock’s hopes of rising out of the bottom four in the Premiership hang by the slenderest thread and will depend not only on their own result tomorrow but also on the results of the other sides at the lower end of the league. League positions are calculated on a percentage basis from the points gained out of the points possible from the matches which do get played to a conclusion, so mathematically there remains just the slightest chance that Greenock can escape.

The torrential rains of Wednesday and Thursday across much of Scotland will have put many grounds under water and whether wickets will be playable in all Premiership grounds across the country remains to be seen. At Glenpark, Greenock have one of the best covers in Scotland and the Club will be hoping that it has been able to do its work and keep the square dry and fit for play after the deluges which have hit the area in midweek. Greenock need all games on and results to role in their favour.

Greenock Cricket Club are grateful to acknowledge tomorrow's Presidential Suite sponsors, Capital Managers.

The Glenpark XI have no game this weekend.

The Hillend XI take on Ferguslie at Glenpark on Sunday, the match starting at 2pm. No team selection details are known as yet..