1st XI seek quick improvement

2009 SNCL Premier League champions, Aberdeenshire, make the long journey from the north east to meet Greenock at Glenpark on Saturday afternoon in week 2 of this season’s Premiership competition and the locals will be looking to raise their standards from last week, play to their potential and gain their first competitive win in 2011.

With Richie Berrington available this weekend, as there is no Saltires match, and Alex Baum also back in the line-up, Greenock are close to their strongest side. However, Aussie professional Luke Butterworth remains sidelined as a result of a broken toe in his left foot and his continued absence is a major setback for the team.

Berrington and Baum’s return means that the batting order is strengthened significantly and with Chris Bellwood and Andy Hislop once again likely to head the Greenock batting order, the Glenpark men must target a score well in excess of 200. Last Saturday, various players made a start to their innings but no one was able to take it on and build a big score which would have made the outcome of the game much more interesting. Willie Rowan, Jonathan Hempsey, David Thomson and Ben Peterson all got into the twenties but then perished before being able to really take command in the middle.

Without pro Butterworth, Greenock will have to continue to rely on the bowlers who battled hard against Greaves Clydesdale but will have the addition of internationalist Richie Berrington, who on his day, can cause problems to any team in the Premiership. A sharp team performance in the field will also go a long way to determining the outcome of this match as extras kept to a minimum and catches held will keep the strong Granite City team in check.

For Aberdeenshire, fresh from last week’s opening win over McCrea West of Scotland on their own home patch at Mannofield, former Greenock player Neil Macrae will be a key player in their line-up. Macrae is one of the best opening bats in the Premiership and the former Scottish internationalist got his season off to a satisfying start with 40 runs out of his team’s winning total of 222 for 7. Other players Greenock will have to look out for include South African professional Gerry Strydom, a useful all rounder who scored 36 runs against McCrea West last week and captain Tyler Buchan who spearheads their bowling attack.

The weather is looking unsettled with a mass of cloud pushing in from the Atlantic and so the toss could prove crucial if rain interruptions cause the Duckworth Lewis system to be utilised.

Greenock Cricket Club wish to acknowledge the generous support of the 1st XI Match Sponsor v Aberdeenshire: Priyas Palace and also Match Ball Sponsor: Tom Ward

The Glenpark XI travel to Paisley to play Meikeriggs (Ferguslie 2ndXI) and will be hoping to return to winning form that they showed in their fine win on the opening Saturday against Hamilton Cresecent but which they certainly didn't in their heavy defeat last Saturday at Titwood. At least, they will have a stronger eleven on the field this week.

On Sunday at Glenpark there will be a day of T20 cricket involving Greenock 3 rd XI (Hillend), Kilmacolm CC and a Glasgow Rangers XI. Order of play will be Kilmacolm CC v Rangers XI which will commence at 11am. Match 2 will be Hillend XI v Rangers XI starting at approx 1.45pm and the third match will be Hillend XI v Kilmacolm CC starting at approx 4.30pm.