East Kilbride (25 pts) 210 for 9
Greenock (8 pts) 197 for 9
GREENOCK played their first game at Glenpark since 7 June but it was not a happy homecoming as East Kilbride ran out winners by 13 runs.
East Kilbride skipper, Josh Johnston, called correctly at the toss and decided to bat first. He would have initially wondered if he had made the right decision as the pitch offered some assistance to the Greenock bowlers for the first 15 overs or so. Julian Hulbert made the first breakthrough when he had opener Jack Clark caught by Harry Briggs with the last ball of the first over without scoring.
Neil Flack, at the other end bowled the other opener, Stewart Kampman and East Kilbride were 17 for 2. Saif Sajjad and Adil Hussain found the going hard and, when Hussain was trapped in front by Hulbert for just 4, the total was just 35 and 19 overs had gone. Hulbert had by now completed his 10 overs allocation, having taken 2 for 29. Neil Flack had come off after six overs, having conceded just three runs and East Kilbride were struggling.
Jonathan Hempsey and Kyle Scrimegour continued to bowl tightly but South African Petrus Coetzee had joined Sajjad at the crease and the two of them buckled down to the task. They scored slowly but crucially they kept their wickets intact. Sajjad reached his 50 and moved on to 61 before he finally fell, leg before wicket to Scrimegour in the 40th over. The score was just 134 but his partnership of 99 with Coetzee gave East Kilbride a platform to allow them a chance of setting a competitive total.
Greenock’s fielding was not as sharp as it has been in previous games and their bowling now also became somewhat ragged. East Kilbride took full advantage of this. They moved on to 168 for 7 in the 45th over, with Greg McDougall claiming two leg before decisions and Jonathan Hempsey getting Smith stumped by his brother Chris. Greenock would have been hopeful of wrapping up the East Kilbride innings cheaply but it was not to be.
The eighth wicket partnership of Coetzee and Mohammed Khan put on 30 in just three overs as they took full advantage of loose play by Greenock and, when the innings closed, East Kilbride had moved on to 210 for 9, a substantial improvement from where they had been halfway through. Coetzee finished undefeated on 65, a fine knock for his team in the circumstances.
For Greenock, Kyle Scrimegour claimed three wickets, but he was more expensive than in previous weeks, conceding 56 runs. Hulbert and McDougall both claimed a couple of wickets and Jonathan Hempsey and Neil Flack with one apiece were the other wicket-takers.
Greenock set off on their pursuit of a total which was eminently gettable on a wicket that had evened out, but they made the worst possible start, losing Neil Flack for nothing in the first over, leg before wicket to Khan. Harry Briggs and Kyle Scrimegour found it difficult to get on top of the bowling. Briggs was next to go when he was caught and bowled by Kampman for 13 with the total on 54. However, this was in the 22 nd over and Greenock were getting behind the asking rate.
Johnston and Kampman were keeping a tight hold on the Greenock batting and the former had Louis Ware caught by the latter for 4. It was 72 for 3 in the 29th over. Sehmat Pandher came in next and he and Kyle Scrimegour tried to get the scoreboard moving but they did not find it any easier.
Coetzee and Clark took over the attack and, although Coetzee proved to be a little expensive, he claimed the key wicket of Scrimegour, caught by Kampman for 61 with the total on 120 in the 38th over. With slightly more than 12 overs to go, 91 runs were needed. Chris Hempsey did not last long, run out for 4, and the target seemed a long way off.
Pandher was next to fall, caught by Meikle off Clark for 37 with the score on 146. Shailesh Prabhu, who had been hit on the face while fielding — an injury which would require stitches –and Julian Hulbert did their best to accelerate but they were unable to provide the impetus that Coetzee and Khan had achieved from a similar position in the first innings. Prabhu fell at 171, bowled by Coetzee for 19. Hulbert made 26 and Jonathan Hempsey 8 before Greenock finished on 197 for 9, 13 runs short of a win which would have seen them virtually cement their place in the Premier Division.
For East Kilbride, this was very much a must-win game, if they were to keep alive their hopes of avoiding relegation, and this was evident in their play. They fielded better than Greenock, their bowling was tighter and, in the end, nobody could begrudge them their win. Greenock will reflect on a missed opportunity.
Next weekend, Greenock are away to Poloc, who are on a good run at the moment, and the Glenpark side will certainly need to up their game if they want to get something out of that match.
Saturday’s match was sponsored by WH Malcolm Group
Western Union 40 Cup Tie Cancelled — Sunday’s Western Union 40 Cup quarter-final tie with Poloc was washed out without a ball being bowled. The teams will reconvene on Sunday 23 July to find a winner to play Clydesdale in the semi-final.
Glenpark XI — The Glenpark XI came unstuck against Albert Park on Saturday in the WDCU First Reserve League. Batting first, they reached 160 for 9 in their 40 overs with Ally Calder (36) and young Andrew Caskie (35) the top scorers. That was as good as it got for the Glenparkers as the Albert Park openers knocked off the runs without being dismissed.
Greenock Cricket Club is sponsored by Cleaning Supplies 4U