2022 season starts this weekend

The 2022 cricket season gets under way this weekend when Greenock play two friendly matches at Glenpark. On Saturday, West of Scotland are the visitors and on Sunday, Hillhead provide the opposition. These matches will allow players an opportunity to get in some important outdoor match practice ahead of the competitive league programme which begins in a couple of weeks.

The weekend matches will provide a good test for the local side. West, a Premier Division side, finished in a comfortable mid-table position at the end of the 2021 season, while Greenock propped up the table and will play the 2022 season in the First Division.

In last season's matches between Greenock and West, honours were even with one win apiece. Greenock won at Glenpark in early July in a rain affected match. West batted first and scored 186 for the loss of 9 wickets from their 50 overs. But rain then intervened and there was a delay to the Greenock innings. The upshot was Greenock required to score 181 from just 45 overs but the win was achieved with just three balls of the 45th over remaining.

The return match in Glasgow in early September was much more clear cut with West steamrollering Greenock to win by 194 runs. By then, the Glenpark men had been condemned to relegation and there was little fight left.

West have a large pool of players to choose from and will be looking to improve on their 2021 mid-table finish in the Premier Division. At Glenpark on Saturday, it is expected that the team to represent the Partick side will be a mix of 1st and 2nd XI players.

Hillhead, who are Sunday's opponents at Glenpark, gained promotion to the First Division after finishing runners up in the Second Division last season. They will therefore be league opponents of Greenock this summer. The competitive meetings between the two sides will be at the end of June in Glasgow and at Glenpark for the final league match of the season on 27 August.

Relegation to the First Division has had a serious impact for Greenock. Two of the Club's top players who have come up through the junior age group teams at Glenpark, and achieved international recognition, will not be playing at Glenpark this season.

Neil Flack, who captained Scotland's Under-19 World Cup team in 2016, will play his cricket at Ayr CC. While Sean Fischer-Keogh, who has represented Scotland at the two most recent Under-19 World Cups in South Africa (2020) and West Indies (2022), will play through in Edinburgh, where he is studying, for Corstorphine CC.

The loss of these two players is a huge blow to the local side as the team sets out to try and make a swift return to the Premier Division.

But the Glenpark side will be bolstered by two young Australian amateur cricketers who come to Greenock for the summer with top class recommendations from Peter Clifford, a former Club professional.

Clifford, who is also Australian, was professional at Glenpark in season 1982. He will be remembered by the older Glenpark support as a top class batsman who scored almost 900 runs in the Western Union at an average of 89 in the league title winning side that summer.

The two amateurs are Tom Nicholson and Ryan Walker. Both play for Toombul Cricket Club in Brisbane, Australia where Clifford is club coach. Nicolson is a top order batsman and also bowls leg spin. Walker is a middle order batsman and also bowls leg spin.

Greenock's preparations for the new season began in February with players using indoor nets on a weekly basis. But it is outdoors where the real action takes place and players are looking forward to making a start on Saturday.

Greg McDougall will once again captain Greenock's 1st XI team. He said "We are looking for some strong performances in the warm up games and our aim in the season ahead is to win promotion back into the Premier Division". He will take the opportunity over the weekend to run his eye over a number of players who will undoubtedly feature regularly in the 1st XI during the season.

Chris Hempsey and Sam Sanghera along with a number of younger players with 1st XI experience such as Jamie Nowell, Lukas Fischer Keogh, Ewan Stewart, PJ Bryceland and Cammy Calder will be among those likely to be involved against West of Scotland. However, some other of Greenock's experienced 1st XI players will be missing due to work. exam preparation, family and other sporting commitments this weekend.

New groundsman, Alan Boag, has been working on the ground since early March and has got Glenpark into good shape and ready for the weekend matches. West of Scotland and Hillhead will provide an early opportunity for Greenock players to get some important practice with both bat and ball and at the same time allow Glenpark supporters to come along to the ground and watch the opening matches of the 2022 season.

The team for the match against West of Scotland on Saturday will be chosen from the following pool of players: GJ McDougall, CS Calder, GM Chambers, CJK Hempsey, JGW Hutchinson, TJ Nicholson, JM Nowell, SS Prabhu, SS Sanghera, DC Sharma, EA Stewart, RA Walker. Scorer: R McGregor

The team for the match against Hillhead on Sunday will be chosen from the following pool of players: GJ McDougall, E Ahmed, PJ Bryceland, GM Chambers, U Mansoor, TJ Nicholson, E Norris, A Sanghera, SS Sanghera, EA Stewart, F MacFeate, M Farrell, C Prabhu, RA Walker. Scorer: R McGregor

Both matches on Saturday and Sunday will start at 1pm.


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