Tunnocks Uddingston 190 for 9 wickets (49 overs) — 25 points
Greenock 122 all out — 5 points
(Because of rain breaks, Greenock were set 183 to win from 45 overs)
GREENOCK’S return to Premier Division cricket at Glenpark was not what local supporters had hoped for, as visitors, Tunnocks Uddingston, emerged victors by 60 runs.
Uddingston won the toss and chose to bat first, with professional Anwar Hafeez and promising young batsman, Sam Allan, opening the innings. But it was not the start that the Lanarkshire side had hoped for as they lost their first two wickets for just seven runs. First to go was Hafeez caught by Shailesh Prabhu at first slip, off the bowling of Julian Hulbert and it was the Aussie bowler who picked up the second wicket when former Greenock player, Amir Gul, had his stumps knocked back in the ninth over.
Hulbert and his opening bowler partner Louis Ware kept the Uddingston batsmen very much in check in the first 15 overs and that continued when Greenock made their first bowling changes with Kyle Scrimegour and Sam Sanghera being brought in to the attack. Scrimegour made the breakthrough for the third Uddingston wicket when he had Gavin Bradley leg before wicket (LBW) for 9 runs with the score on 34 in the 19th over and then, with a further 20 runs added, it was Scrimegour who removed the visitors’ captain Bryan Clarke, caught behind by Chris Hempsey for 13.
Scrimegour collected his own third wicket to reduce Uddingston to 65 for 5 in the 29th over and Greenock were well on top. But, it is from positions such as this that advantage needs to be hammered home and, as Greenock look back on this match, it may be that they will recognise that the game began to turn around this time.
Ross Lyons, Uddingston’s close season signing from East Kilbride, and last season’s WDCU top all-round performer, came to the crease with his side in some difficulty. He survived a sharp chance in the slips second ball when he had not got off the mark and then proceeded to score a quick-fire 33 before Julian Hulbert, back in the bowling attack, clean-bowled him.
Although Lyons had done his job and brought his side back into the game, Greenock were still in a strong position with the visitors six wickets down for just 104 runs in the 35th over. And that position only strengthened when Nick Martin was caught and bowled by Neil Flack for 16 to reduce Uddingston to 111 for 7 three overs later.
Certainly from then on, the tables were turned, as Uddingston came more and more into the game. Forty-five runs runs were added for the eighth and ninth wickets as the visitors’ lower order batsmen defied the Greenock bowlers. And when the last wicket unbeaten partnership between overseas amateur Ryan McGuire, not out 23, and Allan Laycock, not out 15, produced a further 34 runs to take Uddingston to 190 for 9 at the end of the their innings, the visitors were visibly changed in their demeanour from just an hour earlier — smiles had replaced glum faces.
For Greenock, Kyle Scrimegour took 3 for 33 and Julian Hulbert 3 for 34. Neil Flack and Greg Mcdougall picked up one wicket apiece and there was a run out when Harry Briggs got in a direct hit from a sharp piece of fielding to remove Adil Raza for 18. A very short rain break during the Uddingston innings reduced their batting overs to 49 and so Greenock were set a target of 189 runs to win from 49 overs.
The change of fortune in the match continued after the tea interval, as Greenock lost opener Harry Briggs to an LBW decision without a run on the scoreboard and immediately a second rain break was taken before a further ball could be bowled. This break in play reduced the Greenock innings to a maximum of 45 overs and the target was reset to 183.
On resumption, Kyle Scrimegour joined Neil Flack at the crease and the two young batsmen seemed to be building a good partnership, and were scoring steadily until Scrimegour got an edge to a pacey Laycock delivery and was caught behind by Bryan Clarke for 8 with the score on 22. Greenock’s Under-17 Scottish international Louis Ware showed some fine scoring form with no fewer than eight boundaries in his innings of 36 before giving a straightforward catch to Gavin Bradley at slip to a ball from Amir Gul which seemed to get a little extra bounce and deceived him.
By then Greenock had slipped to 72 for 5, with Aussie amateur McGuire having picked up the wickets of Neil Flack, caught for 18, and also Chris Hempsey bowled. Only Shailesh Prabhu seemed capable of dealing with the Uddingston attack as his partners perished one by one and Greenock slipped closer and closer to defeat.
The end came in just the 34th over when Phil McIntosh, who came into bat as last man with a very badly-bruised thumb, was caught by Sam Allan to give Ross Lyons his third wicket of the afternoon and Greenock were all out for 122. Lyons was his side’s ‘man of the match’ with 33 runs and 3 wickets for 21 runs from 6 overs. Laycock, McGuire and Gul each picked up two wickets.
The Glenpark side will look back on this match as an opportunity lost. It was a game which Greenock might well have won if they had managed to drive home the advantage built up during much of the Uddingston innings. Also, in their batting, too many wickets were given up without meaningful partnerships having been developed. It was an early lesson in Premier League cricket for Greenock and one upon which the local team will no doubt reflect before next week’s match away to Ashas East Kilbride.
Saturday’s match against Uddingston was sponsored by Reid Mackellar Opticians.
Greenock’s 2ndXI match against Stirling County 2ndXI was won without a ball being bowled because of an unexpected concession by the Stirling club which was unable to field a side.
On Tuesday evening at Glenpark, Greenock play host to Bothwell in a T20 Western Cup match. The game will begin at 6.15pm.
Greenock Cricket Club is sponsored by Cleaning Supplies 4U