Greenock meet old rivals Kilmarnock in league opener

Greenock's opening match of the summer 2022 competitive season takes place this Saturday at Glenpark when Kilmarnock are the visitors.

The two teams have only met twice, in season 2015, since the demise of the old Western Union after the 1997 season. In 2015, Kilmarnock were victorious at Glenpark while Greenock gained revenge in the away fixture when they bowled out Kilmarnock for just 28.

Over the past two weekends Greenock's pre-season group of friendlies have provided good match practice and preparation for the league programme. Particularly pleasing has been the form of the local side's two young overseas amateurs.

Tom Nicholson has quickly adapted to the Glenpark wicket and in just three matches has racked up over 150 runs. His Australian colleague Ryan Walker, who is a fine leg spin bowler, has picked up seven wickets from just 14 overs.

Walker and Gregor Chambers have both shown themselves capable with the bat having each scored a fifty in the warm up games.

For summer 2022, Greenock and Kilmarnock play in the WDCU First Division. This is the result of the Glenpark side's relegation from the Premier Division at the end of the 2021 season.

Kilmarnock finished in a mid-table position in the First Division last summer and indications are that the Ayrshire side are seriously hoping to challenge for promotion and so return to the top flight of cricket in the west of Scotland. Without doubt Killie have been showing progress over recent seasons after a long time in the cricketing wilderness and will provide a testing afternoon for Greenock on Saturday.

Greenock 1st XI captain, Greg McDougall, expressed his hopes for the start of the league programme. "We are looking forward to hosting Kilmarnock for the opening league match of the new season. The players have shown in the warm-up matches that there is a strength within the team with both bat and ball. They are eager to get under way with the competitive games and focused on making a good start against Killie on Saturday. A positive result in our first league game of the season is what everyone is keen to achieve."

McDougall will be pleased to have a reasonably strong squad available for the league opener. Former captain and experienced batsman, Shailesh Prabhu, is in Saturday's squad for the first time along with Chirag Pandher who can score quick runs and also be a useful bowler. Work commitments have prevented both players from being available for the warm-up matches.

Saturday's squad has a good mix of youth and experience with numerous very promising young players such as Lukas Fischer-Keogh, Cammy Calder, Usman Mansoor, Jamie Nowell and PJ Bryceland all vying for places in the XI.

A key player for the side will be Gregor Chambers. Last season he formed a formidable opening pace bowling attack along with Under-19 Scotland international Sean Fischer-Keogh. Unfortunately for Greenock, Fischer-Keogh will be playing his cricket through in Edinburgh this summer and so Chambers will be the lead bowler in the Glenpark team's attack. He is also a capable batsman as he demonstrated with 54 not out against Renfrew last weekend.

So, all is set for the league opener and after such a fine spell of weather Glenpark is looking in great shape. Local supporters will be eager to see the team begin with a win and get the season off to an encouraging start.

Greenock's team for the match, which will start at 12 noon, will be chosen from a pool of 13 players.

The Glenpark XI, Greenock's second string, commence their league season next Saturday.


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