Another weekend of friendlies

Greenock will continue their build up to the start of the competitive cricket season with another two friendly fixtures this weekend at Glenpark. Both matches will feature Premier Division opposition with Drumpellier first up on Saturday, followed by East Kilbride on Sunday.

Last weekend, in glorious sunny and warm weather, the 2015 season got under way with two excellent and quite high scoring matches from which Greenock emerged with one resounding win and one very narrow defeat. The win was achieved against Premier Division side Renfrew and it was completed in some style as the locals demolished their opponents by ten wickets with opening batsmen Shailesh Prabhu and Neil Flack sharing an unbroken partnership of 168 runs.

The close run defeat came against Hillhead on Saturday when the Glenpark side lost by just seven runs in a match which saw over 400 runs in total being scored between both sides. However there were plenty of positives for the locals from a game in which Greenock chose to give bowling opportunities to no fewer than ten of their eleven players, while Rod Mountford, Ben Peterson and Aidan Forrest all scored strongly in their first visit to the middle in 2015.

Just as last weekend, Greenock will field sides which will feature a mixture of experience and youth to enable as many players as possible to gain some valuable match practice ahead of the opening league fixtures which are now just one week away.

Greenock 1st XI captain, Shailesh Prabhu was well pleased with the performances of the teams in both matches last weekend and is keen to see similar positive displays in the games against Drumpellier and East Kilbride. Newly appointed 1st XI coach, Aussie Darren Walker, got a first opportunity to cast his eyes over potential top team players and at the end of the two matches had gained some useful knowledge about a number of players who will form his 1st XI squad for the season.

Into the squad for this weekend's matches come Aussie Ty Gilmore and the experienced Dave Sharma while Jonathan Hempsey is abroad and unavailable. Gilmore is a powerful, top middle order bat from whom Greenock will hope to gain substantial runs while Sharma is a very useful medium pace bowler.

The likely Greenock 1st XI for the season is taking shape and there is a real positive air of expectancy around Glenpark. The bowling performance of Aussie overseas amateur Blake Taylor in his first matches for the Club last weekend augured well and still to arrive to further strengthen the side is South African wicketkeeper/batsman Danico Philmon who should fly in next week in time for the first competitive matches.

A major confidence boost to the team came with the 168 run opening partnership between Prabhu and Flack in the ten wicket win over Renfrew and more of the same during the season would set up Greenock well in their drive to be in contention for promotion back to the top tier of cricket in Scotland.

Also encouraging is the development of a number of home grown young players who are now forcing their way into the 1st XI. Louis Ware, at just 15 years of age, has considerable potential as a pace bowler while 20 year old Aidan Forrest got his season perfectly under way with a fine 40 against Hillhead. And then there is Neil Flack who, at just 17 years of age, is already a seasoned top team player for Greenock and a Scottish international player at his age level.

Numerous other young players from the Glenpark youth system are developing well and will gain good experience this season playing for the 2nd XI and Sunday XI with the potential to be moving up into the 1st XI in the next few seasons.

The matches at Glenpark on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend begin at 1pm and it is hoped that a large number of supporters will once again turn out to support the team in the matches against Drumpellier and East Kilbride.

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