West of Scotland 149 all out from 35.4 overs (3 Points)
Greenock 150 for 6 wickets from 27.2 overs (25 Points)
HAVING waited almost three weeks for a competitive win, Greenock secured two in quick succession.
The first was on Thursday evening when East Kilbride were defeated in the first round of the Rowan Cup, and then on Saturday, Greenock gained a first win in the Western Premiership One.
The Rowan Cup victory undoubtedly gave the team a much needed lift and encouragement for the trip to play West of Scotland at Hamilton Crescent on Saturday afternoon.
But it was a superb unbeaten century by club professional Rahul Dalal which was the key ingredient against West of Scotland. He scored 105 not out from just 70 balls during which he hit ten boundaries and six maximums. His innings was exactly from the script that brought him to the attention of Greenock and showed why he was the leading run-scorer back home in India in the Ranji Trophy just a few years ago.
Dalal’s innings was a quite spectacular feast of run-scoring; a spectator’s dream and a bowler’s nightmare.
The afternoon’s play began with West being inserted by Greenock captain Greg McDougall.
In the first few overs, Greenock’s opening bowlers Gregor Chambers and Cammy Calder found the Hamilton Crescent slope quite a test and a number of wides were bowled which gave the home team some easy runs.
But Calder picked up an early wicket when he got a delivery on target and Sam Jacobsen was removed leg before wicket (LBW) in the fourth over with the score on 16.
A second wicket fell in the ninth over when Sam Sanghera held on to a good catch off the bowling of Chambers to send Jonnie Oliver back to the clubhouse having scored just four runs from 11 balls.
Having lost two of their batting top order, West struggled to get any momentum going as Greenock made regular bowling changes and further wickets fell without any meaningful partnerships being built by the Hamilton Crescent team.
Jedhli Van Brieses was dismissed LBW by Cammy Calder in the second over of his second spell of bowling with the score on 58 in the 17th over.
And then a further two wickets fell with the score on 68. First to go was Sam Page, caught by wicketkeeper Lukas Fischer-Keogh from the bowling of Sam Sanghera. Page had scored just one run from 14 balls. Then Rahul Dalal bowled opening bat Kess Sajjad who had scored 36 and had been West’s only batsman to seem confident against the Greenock attack.
With the score on 68 for the loss of 5 wickets after 20 overs West were looking extremely vulnerable.
A partnership of 26 runs from West’s captain James Fennah and Shubhang Sharma steadied the home side for a while, but once again the loss of one wicket brought about another very rapidly.
Fennah (7) was caught by Chirag Pandher off the bowling of Sanghera with the score on 94 and only a further two runs had been added when new batsman Tom Spensley was caught and bowled by Rahul Dalal immediately prior to the drinks break after 25 overs.
An eighth wicket was captured by Greenock when Dave McNulty was run out with the West score having moved on to 105. But fortunately for West, Sharma was batting well and the home side’s biggest partnership of the afternoon came when he was joined by number ten batsman Gavin Smith.
Sharma and Smith added 41 runs in the ninth-wicket partnership which was the largest of the innings. Sharma was the mainstay of the partnership with only two runs coming from Smith who played a back-up role.
But it was Sharma who was dismissed and the partnership broken with the first ball of the 33rd over. He was caught by Gregor Chambers off the bowling of Greg McDougall. The number six batsman scored 61 runs with six boundaries and two maximums to his credit.
West were all out with only a further three runs added when last man Dutia was run out with the score on 149. Dalal, Sanghera and Calder each picked up two wickets and McDougall and Chambers one apiece.
At 105 for the loss of eight wickets, West had looked down and almost out. But Sharma’s innings had taken West to 146 and changed the look of the game significantly. Greenock now faced a much greater challenge than prior to the ninth-wicket partnership.
Greenock’s reply got off to poor start with Tom Polkinghorne, Harry Briggs and Lukas Fischer-Keogh all dismissed within the first five overs.
But thereafter the complexion of the match changed in Greenock’s favour as Rahul Dalal took centre stage. In the space of just the first six balls which he faced, the Indian pro smashed a boundary and then a maximum six off the bowling of Dave McNulty as he signalled his intent.
And in the fourth-wicket partnership with Gregor Chambers, which added 71 runs and took Greenock to 84 for 4, Dalal scored 53 of the runs. Chambers scored 12 runs from 27 balls faced before being adjudged LBW from the bowling of Sajjad.
A further 25 runs were added before Greenock suffered a double setback when both Nagendra Nagaraju and Chirag Pandher were dismissed to make the score 109 for the loss of 6 wickets.
But Dalal was in full flow, and with new batsman Cammy Calder also playing a fine supporting role, the pair continued to score at a fast pace.
Dalal reached his century in magnificent fashion when he smashed the fifth ball of the 26th over high over the boundary for six and received rousing applause from the Greenock players and travelling Glenpark support.
With Greenock now within close sight of their target, Calder hit Spensley for a boundary and a six from consecutive balls and, when he added two further runs, Greenock had secured a first league win of the 2023 season. The young Greenock batsman was 13 not out and Dalal 105 not out at the close of play.
The win at West climaxed a fine three days. On Thursday evening in the Rowan Cup first round Greenock scored 154 for 3 with East Kilbride 136 for 6. Greenock now meet Langside in the second round at Glenpark on Thursday 1 June.
On Saturday afternoon, Greenock 2nd XI dismissed Clydesdale 4th XI for 38 and then scored 40 without losing a wicket.
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