First published in the Saddleworth Independent
GREENFIELD have added some punch to their side by signing Muhammad Ali as their overseas player for the forthcoming Greater Manchester Cricket League, premier division campaign.
The exciting young Pakistani all-rounder – he is a top order left hand bat and right arm seam bowler – is currently studying and playing at the University of Central Punjab.
Ali was signed on the recommendation of his coach Bilal Khilji who was well-known locally having played as a professional for Delph and Saddleworth.
He will join Pakistani all-rounder Ayaz Tasawar, who was Uppermill professional in 2018 and 2019, who had already signed as paid man.
Tasawar, a left-handed batsman and leg-spin bowler, would have returned to Uppermill for a third season in 2020 but for Covid-19.
The all-rounder is keen to challenge himself in the highest division of the GMCL though, like for most overseas players, there will be termination clause in the event of the player being unable to take up the post because of coronavirus.
Greenfield are planning for a proposed start to their GMCL campaign on Saturday, April 17.
They have pencilled in two friendlies, subject to Covid and the weather.
Greenfield travel to Micklehurst on Saturday, April 10 and the following day host Prestwich.
Such is the interest that Greenfield will this year field four open-age teams and they are also having a second team T20 side which will play in an initial five club mini league before hopefully progressing to a finals day.
That team will be captained by Matt White, 20, who has played at the club since the age of seven.
It is a great opportunity for Matt, who is vice-captain of the seconds, and the team to play in front of a big crowd on a Friday night.
Matt, a top order batsman who has played in the first team, is a former pupil at St Mary’s, Greenfield, and Saddleworth School. He is studying for a degree in business management at Liverpool University.
The T20 is specifically for second teams in the GMCL with six teams entering the inaugural competition.
The first team has been put in a mouth-watering for their T20 as it features local rivals Uppermill, Moorside, Heyside, Glodwick, Shaw and Royton.
Greenfield continue to improve their facilities at Ladd Hill Lane with an additional pair of sight screens purchased from Garstang Cricket Club at a cost of £3,000.
Garstang have a second pitch which is no longer use and the sight screens were advertised as they were no longer needed.
The ground requirements for the GMCL’s premier division stipulates double sight screens at both ends so Greenfield now meet this requirement.
This is further evidence of the investment the club is making to improve the infrastructure for players and members.
They recently opened new changing rooms and in the 2019-20 closed season invested heavily on improvements to the playing square.
Greenfield are also planning renovation work and repairs to the paved areas at the club.