Drumpellier visit Glenpark for first competitive match of 2014

The first competitive match of the 2014 cricket season takes place at Glenpark on Saturday when Greenock entertain Drumpellier in the opening fixture of the rebranded 40 overs competition, the CricHQ40 Cup.

Last weekend Greenock were fortunate to get two pre-season friendly matches played, both at Glenpark, and in excellent conditions, with one win and one loss being the outcomes of the games. These fixtures provided a good number of players with the opportunity to get a bat and also a bowl out in the middle, which must be viewed as an invaluable early season bonus in their preparation for Saturday’s cup game.

Neil Flack, Greenock’s Under-17 Scottish international had an outstanding weekend scoring a century against East Kilbride on Saturday and then carrying his bat through the innings with an unbeaten 70 runs on Sunday against Hillhead. His early season form is very encouraging and Greenock supporters will be hoping that he can show more of the same against Drumpellier.

Saturday’s visitors from Coatbridge play in the Western Union CSL Premier Division, one level above Greenock, where last year they finished in a mid-table position. The Drumpellier side will provide a stiff early season test for Greenock but last season the Glenpark men did gain a win over them in the 40 overs cup competition match at Langloan. A repeat win on Saturday at Glenpark would be an excellent start to the season for Greenock.

Greenock’s side this summer will show a number of changes from last season. Dwight Thomas, a 22 year old top order bat and off spinner from St Lucia, takes the place of New Zealander Fraser Colson who had an excellent spell at Glenpark in 2013, as Greenock’s second overseas player. Waleed Jamal, who formed a fine opening pace attack with Australian overseas amateur Tom Batters, is no longer at the Club and Scottish internationalist Richie Berrington has intimated that he will play his club cricket this season at Clydesdale CC in Glasgow. Also uncertain about his playing availability is Scottish U19 cap Alex Baum due to university and work commitments.

Much will therefore be expected of the players who do take the field for Greenock. The experience of 1st XI captain Shailesh Prabhu, pictured above, will be important as he leads what will be a young Glenpark side. Others, such as Greg McDougall and Jonathan and Chris Hempsey, each of whom have now experienced a number of seasons of 1st XI cricket, must endeavour to put in regular good performances and support their younger up and coming team-mates.

Back for a second season at Glenpark is 22 year old Australian pace bowler Tom Batters, pictured above, from Melbourne. He had a fine 2013 season and, having got used to the Scottish conditions last summer, will hopefully put in another top class season with the ball and also contribute well with the bat. Joining Batters as the second overseas player for Greenock, as stated previously, is Dwight Thomas. Thomas has represented St Lucia at various age-levels and also had a number of outings at full international level. He comes with a very fine record as a top order bat and also as an off spin bowler.

Greenock will undoubtedly look to both their overseas players to provide runs and wickets to bolster the young team and also to encourage good performances from the likes of Neil Flack, Harry Briggs and Louis Ware, three teenagers in the Greenock ranks who are developing into fine players and who have already caught the eye of district and national selectors.

Saturday’s team therefore has a good blend of experience and promising youth and will be keen to start the season with a winning performance. The match starts at 1pm.

The Glenpark XI travel to Langloan in Coatbridge for their first match of the season, a Western Cup match against Drumpellier's 2nd XI. This match will also start at 1pm on Saturday. No team details are currently available.

On Sunday, the Hillend XI have a WDCU Sunday League fixture away to the Clydesdale Cavaliers in a match which gives an opportunity for a development XI to take the field. The selected side includes a mix of experienced and young players and will give those representing the Club some useful match practice early in the season. The match starts at 1pm.

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