Greenock 211 for 6 from 45 overs…….25 points
Poloc 118 all out from 28.2 overs……..1 point
(Duckworth, Lewis, Stern system target 170 in 30 overs)
SATURDAY turned out to be a damp and dreich day at Shawholm in Pollok Park, Glasgow but Greenock managed to overcome the elements and their opposition, Poloc, to maintain second place in the First Division table and remain on course for promotion.
Poloc won the toss and elected to field first, perhaps on the assumption that there would be rain interruptions which would lead to a Duckworth, Lewis, Stern (DLS) system intervention, which can sometimes work to the advantage of the side batting second.
In the event, DLS was required but did Poloc no favours. There was a brief rain interruption before play could commence and this resulted in the game being reduced to one of 45 overs per side.
Tom Nicholson and Lukas Fischer-Keogh opened the batting for Greenock and made a steady start. The Australian did the bulk of the scoring while Fischer-Keogh was content to give support to his partner.
After 10 overs, the score had moved on to 44 as the Poloc attack failed to make any inroads. Nicholson pressed on but, just after he had reached his half-century, he went for a big hit on the leg-side and was caught at deep mid-wicket for 53, a knock which contained one six and four fours.
The score was 83 and Harry Briggs joined Fischer-Keogh at the crease with the latter on 21. These two maintained steady progress and, after 30 overs, the score had moved on to 127 for 1, establishing a platform to allow an acceleration over the last 15 overs.
Just when Fischer-Keogh seemed set for his maiden half-century, he played over a delivery from Hanif and was bowled for 46. His knock had taken 99 balls but he had provided excellent support for his partners and could be well satisfied with his efforts.
With eight overs left, the succeeding batsmen were intent on throwing caution to the wind in order to build as big a total as possible. Both Ryan Walker and Gregor Chambers fell for nine while Cammy Calder and Jamie Nowell were dismissed for just one.
But Harry Briggs kept going at the other end and brought up his third 50 of the season. When he scored 10 off the last over of the innings, this took Greenock to a very respectable 211 for 6.
During the tea interval, there was a spell of heavy rain which delayed the restart and forced a DLS recalculation of Greenock’s score. This was adjusted to 170 but Poloc would have only 30 overs in which to reach their target, a higher run-rate than if there had been no interruption.
Greg McDougall bowled the first over while young Aryan Sanghera was given the ball for the second one. Unfortunately, his first two deliveries were full tosses about waist height which meant that he had to be removed from the attack for the remainder of the innings.
Newcomer Nagendra Nagaraju completed the over but then Ewan Stewart took over from him. His first ball was pushed into the covers by Sohail who set off for a single but was sent back by his partner and was unable to beat Tom Nicholson’s return to the keeper and was consequently run out, making it 16 for 1.
Hudar and Malik then took the score on to 39 but by now Walker and Nicholson had been introduced to the attack and they were keeping control of the run rate. Hudar could not resist the big shot but was only able to find the safe hands of Harry Briggs on the leg-side boundary.
Chaudhry attempted to increase the rate of scoring but, with the total on 65, he was tempted out of his crease by Walker, and Fischer-Keogh brought off a smart stumping. The halfway point of the innings had been reached and Poloc were now well behind the asking rate.
Ewan Stewart and Jamie Nowell replaced the two Aussie spinners when they had completed their spell of six overs each, the number allowed to them with the reduction of overs.
In Nowell’s second over, he had Tariq well caught by Nicholson and followed this by trapping Dulai leg before wicket first ball. In the next over Stewart had Malik caught by the keeper, attempting an audacious ramp shot and Poloc were now 87 for six with just six overs left. Malik had made 21 but these runs were scored off 54 balls, a rate of scoring which was not what Poloc needed.
Hassan Syed played a few shots but was run out for 16 attempting a second run to Nicholson’s arm, then Nowell claimed a second leg-before decision. Murtaza Syed had not learnt from previous examples of when not to run and was a third victim to the accuracy of Nicholson’s throw before Greg McDougall wrapped up the innings by having Cathcart caught by Chambers in the covers, leaving Poloc 52 runs short of Greenock’s adjusted score.
This was a satisfying win for Greenock in difficult conditions, with both teams having to cope with a wet ball. Tom Nicholson may have been the man of the match with a 50, a wicket, a catch and three run-outs, but the young Greenock players Fischer-Keogh, Briggs, Nowell and Stewart all came up trumps when the occasion demanded it.
It was very much a case of as-you-were at the top of the table with Stenhousemuir and Kilmarnock both winning and the stage is set for a pivotal match in Greenock’s season when they travel to Larbert next Saturday to take on the unbeaten league leaders.
Win and the title honours could well be theirs but lose and Kilmarnock could be right on their heels for the second promotion place.
Skipper McDougall is hopeful of fielding a stronger team next week but at this time there is some doubt as to whether Gregor Chambers will have recovered from a foot injury to take his place as the team’s strike bowler.
Glenpark XI — Greenock’s 2nd XI, the Glenpark XI, had no game on Saturday after their opponents, The Tryst, were unable to raise a side to play.
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