IS it tempting fate to suggest that 1st XI cricket might return to Glenpark on Saturday for the first time since early June? Possibly. The forecast looks reasonably promising, so if Glenpark can dry out after literally weeks of wet weather then the match against Falkland should go ahead.
Visitors Falkland play in the Cricket Scotland East First Division but are Greenock's opponents at Glenpark tomorrow afternoon in the final match of Group E of the newly-revamped Scottish Cup.
Of the intended six matches which each club in Group E was intended to play at this stage of the competition, the table shows only two have been able to be completed. A third on Saturday will at least mean 50 per cent of games got played.
The table also indicates that section leaders Carlton are already pretty much assured of their place in the Scottish Cup quarter-final draw.
Although only two points ahead of Greenock, their net run rate is far superior and even if Carlton were to lose to Polock and Greenock beat Falkland, it is unlikely the Glenpark side would go top.
Greenock's aim is therefore to win against Falkland and secure second top position which provides a way into the Plate Competition, Scottish Cricket Union trophy.
For most of Greenock's players, it will be almost like the start of the season all over again, such is the time which has elapsed since their last 1st XI competitive match. However, Richie Berrington, pictured, and Alex Baum have had some cricket thanks to a small number of international and regional cricket matches which managed to beat the incessant rainfall of recent weeks. Both will be in the Greenock side which will only be missing opening batsman Shailesh Prabhu from what has become the first choice side of late.
Prabhu's absence is however a blow, as he is without doubt Greenock's most obvious opening bat and he has been developing a good understanding with Baum at the top of the order.
Who will fill the opening position is still in doubt. Berrington has had experience of being an opening bat in some Scottish Saltires' matches but prefers to fill the number three or number four position. Chris Hempsey has regularly opened for the 2ndXI and could be asked to move up from his lower middle order position to partner Baum. Whichever pair is eventually selected to take on the task, it is important that Greenock make a solid start to their innings and then go on to build a large total or chase down the runs if batting second.
Others who will be looked to for runs will be Mpho Sekhoto, team captain Ryan Begley and also Mark Robertson and Jonathan Hempsey. South African professional Sekhoto has not yet had a big score for the Club which has not been helped by the lack of matches in recent weeks.
He is keen to have a big innings against Falkland at Glenpark and will be fully focused on that task when he gets his chance on Saturday.
Ryan Begley has had several useful scores this season including 41 not out when Greenock played their last competitive Saturday match on 9 June against McCrea West at Hamilton Crescent and Hempsey has had one 50 to his name this season. Mark Robertson has had few opportunities to bat in 2012 but has the ability to put together a significant innings if he gets in.
Visitors Falkland are largely an unknown quantity for Greenock as this will be the team's first meeting at Glenpark.
The Fifers play in the East of Scotland and are close rivals with one of Scotland's best known cricket teams, Freuchie, who became national icons when they won the UK National Village Cup at Lord's back in 1985.
In the East League First Division, Falkland have won three out of the four matches they have played but, just like Greenock, have not had a competitive match since Saturday 9 June. The Fife villagers are in second top position in the East League First Division and have a number of players in their side about whom Greenock will need to be aware.
In their bowling line-up Nick Lockyer has been a regular wicket-taker with three wickets in each of Falkland's league matches played. Other bowlers who have also shown form include Wayne Sullivan, Brock Ditchman, Craig Hepburn and Ryan Hepburn.
Batting wise, Falkland have not had made big scores this season and indeed have only scored over 90 runs in one out of the five competitive matches played. So perhaps that is their Achilles heel. Batsmen who have gained some runs are David Gray, Wayne Sullivan and Nick Lockyer. Greenock must look to ensure that the Fifers batting form does not show any improvement on Saturday and with Richie Berrington and Waleed Jamal both available the Falkland openers will certainly be given a testing time.
The Greenock team to play Falkland at Glenpark on Saturday is: Ryan Begley (capt), Alex Baum, Richie Berrington, Chris Hempsey, Jonathan Hempsey, Waleed Jamal, Greg McDougall, Brian Roberts, Mark Robertson, Sam Sanghera, Mpho Sehhoto. The match starts at noon.
Greenock Cricket Club wish to thank Match Sponsor, Caf� Continental, for their generous support.
Greenock 2nd XI �(Glenpark XI) �have a Western Cup sectional match against Glasgow Accies at New Anniesland on Saturday.
The team will be from: Peter Robertson (capt), Kieran Begley, Jack Bushfield, Kevin Flack, Neil Flack , Sachin Mundon, , Sam Sanghera, Dave Sharma, Sandeep Singh, Sehmat Singh, Kieran Wylie, A.N. Other.
b>Former West Indies Test legend at Glenpark FORMERWest Indies Test legend and former Greenock pro Gordon Greenidge returns to Glenpark on Saturday to re-kindle friendships developed when he was professional with Greenock in 1990 and 1992.
He is paying a short visit as part of the Club's 150th Anniversary celebrations and will take part in the unfurling of a new flag donated to the Club by members Hugh and Joan McClure and their family. Greenidge formed a famous opening batting partnership for the West Indies test side with Desmond Haynes and few will forget the two playing together at Glenpark when Greenidge brought many of the West Indies team to play in Greenock in a match while he was here in the 1990's.