GREENOCK will be without key players as they go in search of their second win of the season.
They face Uddingston, Premier Division Champions in 2019, on Saturday at Bothwell Policies. The Lanarkshire side is currently in a mid-table position having won four and lost two of their matches this season.
Since winning the title, Uddingston have had a few changes, most notably, Scottish international pace bowler Gavin Main has moved to Scottish Champions, Heriots CC in Edinburgh while Zaighum Ahmad, who now opens the batting, has transferred across from Poloc CC.
Uddingston had their side strengthened in their title winning 2019 season by the arrival of a number of new players. Of these, Niall Alexander, who transferred from Dumfries, and Abdul Sabri from Glenrothes continue to make an impact. Alexander and Sabri have teamed up as Uddingston’s regular opening bowling partnership.
Another key player is former Greenockian Ross Lyons. A left-handed batsman and a slow left-arm orthodox spin bowler, Lyons made his debut for the Scottish senior international team in 2005 and played 61 times for Scotland in all formats.
Others who Greenock will need to keep in check include team captain Bryan Clarke, Amir Gul, Mo Awais and Harmanjit ‘Harry’ Singh.
In Uddingston’s recent match against Poloc, Mo Awais hit a spectacular 217 runs in his side’s total of 329 for the loss of six wickets. Unfortunately, the match was abandoned due to rain before Poloc batted.
Greenock, needing to add to their solitary Premier Division win gained against West of Scotland, will once again be significantly understrength. Unavailable because of work commitments are Neil Flack and Shailesh Prabhu and also unavailable are Chris Hempsey and Sam Sanghera.
The Glenparkers will therefore have to call on several players who normally play 2nd XI cricket. Fortunately, Greenock’s bowling line-up will still feature both of the regular opening bowlers Sean Fischer-Keogh and Gregor Chambers.
Last Saturday against Stirling County all five of the County wickets which fell were the results of their efforts and the pace bowling duo have now taken 24 Premier Division wickets between them.
Team captain Greg McDougall will provide back up bowling and will also call upon Ewan Stewart and Usman Mansoor, who both look likely to step up from the 2nd XI and have been doing well this season. Harry Briggs and Jamie Nowell, along with Chirag Pandher will provide further bowling options.
With leading run-scorer Flack unavailable, the players who do form Saturday’s side must show determination and resilience at the crease in order to build a competitive score.
Harry Briggs has regularly shown that he can bat for lengthy spells. He played an important anchor innings of 27 not out in the win against West of Scotland and followed up by scoring a fine 68 against league leaders Clydesdale just two weeks ago.
Jamie Nowell is gaining experience at the top of the order and it is only a matter of time before he gets a big score. Gregor Chambers, too, has shown in the early season that he is an accomplished bat and a really meaningful innings could be his this weekend.
Very pleasing for Greenock supporters is the development of Under-19 Scottish international Sean Fischer-Keogh. Until this season, he has been recognised predominantly as a bowler but is now maturing into a fine all-rounder. In recent weeks he has shown what he can do with the bat by scoring 32 at Dumfries and last week had a fine innings of 41 runs at Stirling County.
Chirag Pandher comes back into the side. He is a strong and powerful batsman who has the ability to change the momentum of a game. Despite little game time because of work commitments, Pandher could play an important role for the team at Bothwell Policies.
The team will be from: GJ McDougall (capt), HR Briggs, GM Chambers, LC Fischer-Keogh, SK Fischer-Keogh, H Weld-Forester, P Hempsey, J Janampally, U Mansoor, J Nowell, C Pandher, S Pandher, A Sanghera, E Stewart. Scorer: R McGregor.
The Greenock 2ndXI (Glenpark) play Irvine 2nd XI (Marress) on Saturday afternoon. The team for the Division Three league game at Glenpark with a 1pm start will be impacted significantly by the players who do move up to the 1stXI, but the final selection will be from: J Hutchinson (capt), M Ahmad, A Calder, C Calder, A Caskie, P Caskie, S Chaudhary, P Hempsey, J Janampally, F MacFeate, U Mansoor, N Stanton, E Stewart.
Greenock Cricket Club is sponsored by Cleaning Supplies 4U