Greenock all set for 2016 League season

Greenock embark on their 2016 competitive cricket season this weekend with the 1st XI matched against Glasgow southsiders Weirs at Glenpark on Saturday and the Sunday Hillend XI also at home to Uddingston in a Sunday League Division 2 fixture.

Pre-season warm up matches over the past two weekends have given the Glenpark players an early opportunity to get in some on-field practice and both matches played were won by comfortable margins.

However, what might have been considered, at least on paper, as their two most challenging pre-season matches against Premiership sides Kelburne and Drumpellier, were both called off by the opposition who were unable to raise teams for the games. As a result, important match practice was missed by the Greenock players.

So, Greenock go into this weekend with two wins from two games played but without perhaps the highest level of challenge that had been anticipated in the lead up to this Saturdays league opener.

The Greenock side has been rebuilding over the last number of years after the success of the early part of the new millennium when winning trophies was a regular feature at Glenpark. The current side is a young side with considerable potential and will be bolstered this season with two young Australian amateurs Declan White and Damon Rootes. White is an 18 year old right arm fast bowler who has played first grade cricket in Sydney and also represented New South Wales at under 19 level as well as having been chosen to play in the NSW State 2nd XI earlier this year.

Rootesis a young left hand opening bat also from New South Wales who comes to the Club on the recommendation of former Greenock professional Peter Clifford, who works with the NSW cricket board. The young Australian has been a first grade cricketer for the last three seasons in the Coffs Harbour area of NSW, which is just over midway between Sydney and Brisbane. Unfortunately, he will not arrive in Greenock until next Tuesday and so will miss the game with Weirs.

Captaining the Greenock Club this season is Jonathan Hempsey who takes over from Shailesh Prabhu. Hempsey has come up through the various age group teams at Glenpark and has been a regular 1st XI player for the past seven or eight years. He is looking forward to leading the side in 2016 and has set his sights on the team challenging for promotion back to the Premier Division.

Much is being anticipated from the young squad this coming summer, with Neil Flack recently returned from leading the Scottish Under 19 team at the U19 Cricket World Cup in Bangladesh, likely to open the batting alongside Rootes, and with the potential to score plenty of runs. Then there is 16 year old Louis Ware, who was a regular in the Scotland U15 side in summer 2015 and who has opened this season with two scores of fifty plus in the Glenparkers warm up matches.

Against Weirs, who last season were one of the weaker sides in the league, the Greenock players must focus on their skills and each contribute to the overall team performance. This done, an opening win by the local side would be a very positive start to the 2016 league campaign.

Skipper Hempsey has chosen a strong team for the match which starts at 12 noon.

The Glenpark XI have no league fixture this weekend as Albert Park, the home of Weirs, does not become available for cricket until May. The fixture with the Albert Park XI will now go ahead on Sunday 5th June.

On Sunday the Hillend XI get their Sunday League Division 2 fixtures under way with a home match against an Uddingston Development XI. The eleven teams in the league will play each other just once over the summer with half of the fixtures being at home and the other half involving travel to the opposition grounds. Greenock will play a mixed eleven of experience and youth in these matches with an emphasis on bringing on their younger players in competitive cricket.

Kevin Flack will captain this side again this year and his team to play Uddingston will be selected from a squad of thirteen. This match starts at 1pm.

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