Selection difficulties affect Greenock

Greenock’s opening match in the SNCL Premiership takes place at Glenpark on Saturday afternoon with Greaves Clydesdale providing the opposition. The local side are looking to improve on what was a very disappointing season in 2010 and have been working hard to ensure that this year’s side will be much more competitive.

Unfortunately, a number of selection issues mean that Greenock will be significantly under strength for this opening Premiership game. Richie Berrington is unavailable as he will be travelling to London to play for The Scottish Saltires in their Clydesdale Bank 40 match against Surrey on Sunday at The Oval. Out too is Alex Baum but perhaps the biggest loss is Tasmanian professional Luke Butterworth. He has suffered a foot injury which is likely to sideline him for a couple of weeks. This is a huge blow for Greenock, as Butterworth’s debut at Glenpark has been greatly anticipated following his outstanding season in Australia when he was the top wicket-taker in the Sheffield Shield, the top competition ‘Down Under’. Local supporters will now have to wait a little longer to see him in action.

On the plus side, In the warm up match played against Drumpellier two weeks ago, there were some very encouraging performances with the bat from Chris Bellwood (68), Willie Rowan (33) and Ryan Begley (31). Begley also took his chance to get some more match practice last Saturday when he hit another 35 runs for the Glenpark XI against Partick. In terms of run-scoring, much will depend on these three and also Andy Hislop who has had experience of opening the innings. Hislop and Bellwood look likely to be the opening bats tomorrow and if they can lay a sound foundation to the Greenock innings then a good total is likely.

Making his 1st XI debut in the SNCL Premiership is young Aidan Forrest. Only just turned 16 years of age, Aidan is fast developing into one of the most talented young players to have come through the junior ranks at Glenpark. Aidan scored 43 runs last Sunday for the Hillend XI against Hamilton and took two fine catches.

Greenock’s bowling attack will be spearheaded by Willie Rowan and his opening partner is likely to be either Jonathan Hempsey or Chris Bellwood. Some early breakthroughs will give the side confidence, therefore it is essential that the local team’s bowling is accurate and that fielders are sharp and take any chances going. Dougie Wylie will provide a change of pace in the bowling line up and his experience may be crucial in containing Greaves Clydesdale.

Greenock Cricket Club wish to acknowledge the generous support of the 1st XI Match Sponsor v Greaves Clydesdale: Louis’ Fish and Chip Shop, Port Glasgow and also Match Ball Sponsor: John Kirk and the Presidential Suite sponsors, Fyfe & Murray.

The Glenpark XI travel to Glasgow tomorrow to play against Titwood (Clydesdale 2nd XI) fresh from an opening day win last Saturday against Partick (West of Scotland nd XI). The selection issues suffered by the 1st XI have had an impact on player availability for the 2nd XI and as a result the team taking to the field at Titwood will have to call on their best form if they are to return down the M8 with winning points.

On Sunday, the Hillend XI travel to play their opening West District Sunday League fixture at Motherwell.