WEATHER permitting, Greenock will get their 2018 Premier Division season started this Saturday when they make the journey through to Coatbridge to meet newly-promoted Drumpellier at the Lanarkshire club’s Langloan ground.
Last Saturday only one Premier Division fixture survived the wet weather which swept across much of the west of Scotland and that was at Bothwell Policies where Greenock’s weekend opponents were very heavily defeated by the home side Uddingston. Drumpellier batted first and scored 136 for the loss of 7 wickets in a weather-reduced innings of 45 overs. Uddingston were then set a total of 145 to win by the Duckworth Lewis Stern system and wasted no time in achieving the win by scoring the runs in just 26 overs.
Greenock will therefore be meeting a side which has had the advantage of some competitive game time but also one which will be smarting from a quite comprehensive defeat. Greenock must try and apply some early pressure on Drumps and not allow them any opportunity to bounce back from what was a serious drubbing.
With very little game time so far, and not one where anything approaching a proper 1st XI has played, Greenock will need to hit the ground running on Saturday if they are to get a win from their opening league fixture.
Leading the side for a second season is Neil Flack who has been recognised as a very useful top order batsman but who also topped the WDCU Premier Division wicket-taking table last season.
Spearheading the Greenock bowling attack will be Indian professional Saurabh Bandekar who is back at Glenpark for a second season. He is a right-arm, pace bowler and in his first season playing in the west of Scotland he gradually got used to the conditions and picked up 20 wickets from matches played in the Premier Division.
Jonathan Hempsey may be a candidate to join Bandekar opening the bowling attack and in the one game which he has played so far this season he picked up three wickets against a good West of Scotland side in a friendly at Glenpark a couple of weeks ago.
Others who may feature with the ball on Saturday are Sam Sanghera, Greg McDougall, Chirag and Sehmat Pandher, and Ewan Stewart. On paper, Greenock have a batting line-up which appears strong with many players capable of scoring significant runs.
New arrival from Australia, Zac Barrenechea is a wicket-keeper/batsman who provided an early indication against West of Scotland that he has the potential to do well with the bat. He compiled an innings of 38 runs in the friendly with a fine array of shots for so early in the season. Shailesh Prabhu may well partner Barrenechea at the top of the order, as he is an experienced opener and he too has had a useful innings to his credit, from the friendly match against Hillhead.
In the middle order of the batting line-up will be Bandekar, Flack, and Chris and Jonathan Hempsey all of whom are capable of building a good personal innings and partnerships. Bandekar is a noted batsman who has played top class cricket in the sub-continent and Neil Flack scored one run short of 400 runs in the Premier Division in 2018. If these four top order players can find some early season form, then Greenock will almost certainly find themselves in a strong position on Saturday.
Greenock’s team for the match against Drumpellier, which will start at noon at Langloan on Saturday, is looking like: ND Flack, S Bandekar, Z Barrenechea, CJK Hempsey, JPC Hempsey, GJ McDougall, CS Pandher, SS Pandher, SS Prabhu, SS Sanghera, E Stewart. Scorer: R McGregor
Greenock’s 2nd XI (Glenpark) team for the match against Bees at Glenpark on Saturday afternoon is likely to be along the lines of A Calder, PJ Bryceland, C Calder, L Fischer-Keogh, T Forrest, P Hempsey, L McCahill, E Norris, J Nowell, PE Robertson, A Sanghera. This match will start at 1pm at Glenpark.
On Sunday afternoon a Greenock Sunday XI (Hillend XI) entertain Torrance Community CC for a friendly fixture at Glenpark with a 1pm start.
Greenock Cricket Club is sponsored by Cleaning Supplies 4U