Greenock make promising start to the new season


Greenock Cricket Club got their 2022 season off to a very encouraging start at the weekend with both scheduled friendly matches at Glenpark able to be completed. On Saturday, Greenock lost by nine runs to visitors West of Scotland, while on Sunday the locals triumphed over Hillhead by seven wickets.

West of Scotland 142 J Mills 44, J Oliver 30; RA Walker 3 for 15, SS Sanghera 3 for 19
Greenock 1st XI 133 TJ Nicholson 33; J Fennah 3 for 6, G Etheridge 3 for 21, B Cole 3 for 29


West, who will play in the WDCU Premier Division this season, sent down a strong XI and batting first, the team from Partick in Glasgow, made a good start to their innings. Jesse Mills and Benedict Cole put on 65 runs before Greenock team captain, Greg McDougall captured the first wicket of the season. He had Cole caught by Cammy Calder for 15. And when just nine more runs had been added to the score, Sam Sanghera bowled Mills, who was looking in great early season form, for 44.

Sanghera picked up two further wickets by removing James Fennah and Tom Spensley to leave West on 102 for the loss of 4 wickets after 21 overs.

Thereafter, the visitors struggled to put together any meaningful partnerships . Only John Oliver managed to get an innings going, but with 30 runs to his credit, young Aussie amateur Ryan Walker had him caught by Gregor Chambers.

The last five West wickets added just 24 runs as Walker picked up a further two wickets for Greenock and team-mates Tom Nicholson and Ewan Stewart captured one wicket apiece.

In reply, Greenock's second Australian amateur, Tom Nicholson, made a promising start to his summer stay with the local side with a well compiled innings of 33 runs. He and Jamie Nowell (11) had put together a half century opening stand before the latter was bowled by John Oliver.

Ryan Walker with 18 and Chris Hempsey with 11 were the highest scoring Greenock batsmen after Nicholson departed. With 14 runs needed to win, and seven overs and three wickets remaining, it looked like Greenock should get the win. But West had different ideas and the last three wickets fell to the visitors with just four further runs added.

Hillhead 122 P Collins 48; E Ahmed 3 for 32
Greenock 1st XI 125 for 4 RA Walker 57, TJ Nicholson 39


On Sunday afternoon, Greenock faced Hillhead Cricket Club from the West End of Glasgow at Glenpark.

Hillhead batted first but with just 25 runs on the board had lost opening batsman Paul Bartlett and also Hasan Ahzar. Both fell victim to Scotland Under-19 international opening bowler Sean Fischer-Keogh playing his final match for Greenock before moving across the country to play for Edinburgh side Corstorphine in the East of Scotland Premier Division.

Ewan Stewart picked up a further two wickets to leave Hillhead on 62 for 4 wickets and then Eddie Ahmed came into the home bowling attack and claimed 3 wickets for 32 runs from a spell of 8 overs.

Hillhead struggled along to 122 before their last wicket fell, leaving Greenock with a very obtainable target to reach after the tea interval.

Greenock's two young Australian amateurs, Tom Nicholson and Ryan Walker, were the mainstays of the local side's innings as the Hillhead total was easily overcome. For the second match in two days, Nicholson opened the innings and scored well. In a very entertaining innings of 39, he struck six boundaries and a maximum six which was hit right out of the ground, before he was caught off the bowling of Jay Meyer.

However, it was Ryan Walker who was top scorer for the team. He had 57 runs to his credit before retiring. The young Aussie showed that, like Nicholson, he will be an important player for Greenock this summer.

The two weekend matches provided an opportunity for team captain Greg McDougall to run the rule over some of the players who will feature in the Club's 1st XI this season.

"It was important to get the matches played and our players benefitted from the opportunity. There were some very positive performances with both bat and ball which gives me a lot of encouragement for the season ahead. We still have a number of our experienced players to become available, so the performances in the weekend matches, from those who played, has given me a lot to feel good about."

Next Saturday, Greenock host Renfrew at Glenpark in their final friendly match before the competitive season gets under way.