Ferguslie 172 for 4 from 40 overs (25 points)
(DLS par score 218 in 40 overs)
Greenock 147 all out (1 point)
Ferguslie win by 71 runs DLS
GREENOCK’S disappointing start to the season continued on Saturday when last year’s champions, Ferguslie, gained an adjusted-score win at Glenpark.
With the midweek forecast of heavy rain having not materialised, the game started on time with Glenpark in magnificent condition. Ferguslie elected to bat first having won the toss. The Paisley side lost an early wicket when Greenock professional Saurabh Bandekar’s pace proved too much for opener Ahmad who edged a rapid delivery through to wicketkeeper Zac Barrenechea.
However this breakthrough only led to Ferguslie’s other opener, Gregor Preston-Jones, being joined out in the middle by the club’s professional, Zimbabwean Nkosana Npofu, and the pair developed a very sound partnership which steadily built up the visitors’ score. It took until the 14th over for Greenock to put a second dent in the Ferguslie innings and it was Preston-Jones who was the batsman to go having scored 32 with the total at the time on 72.
At the 25th over midway point in the Paisley side’s innings, Npofu and Riyaad Henry had taken the score to 101 and Greenock were still well in the match with the run rate just on four runs an over. But with a further 11 overs played, a rain shower caused play to be suspended with Ferguslie having moved their score along to 148 without further loss.
With players and spectators expecting play to restart quickly after the short sharp shower ended, umpires Shaun Els and Richard ‘Siggy’ Young decided otherwise and kept the players off the field for just four minutes less than two hours, which led to the Duckworth Lewis Stern (DLS) system being triggered and the match being reduced to just 40 overs per side.
The impact of this decision was that at the end of the 40 overs innings, when Ferguslie had moved on to 172 for the loss of 4 wickets, Greenock were set the unlikely target of having to score 218 to win from just 40 overs. The new target for Greenock presented a monumental challenge which resulted from the umpires’ decision not to restart the match soon after the rain shower had passed, as all had expected.
Greenock’s reply started badly with Neil Flack returned to the clubhouse in just the first over of the innings having been adjudged leg before wicket (LBW) by umpire Young when he was beaten for pace by Ferguslie opening bowler Jamie Carruthers and struck on the back leg inside his batting crease.
Needing to avoid another quick wicket, Saurabh Bandekar and Zac Barrenechea, batted very carefully for several overs adding only a few runs to the total as they got their ‘eyes in’. But from the sixth over both began to play shots and runs started to flow as both batsmen became assured against the visitor’s pace attack. A change to the bowling in the 10th over paid off immediately for Ferguslie when Barrenechea was beaten by a delivery from Haroon Tahir having scored 19 runs. T
hen in the 14th over, with the Greenock total on 61, and with Bandekar and Jonathan Hempsey building a potentially strong partnership, umpire Els gave Bandekar out after a loud and sustained appeal by the Ferguslie side. The Greenock pro had made a huge stride down the wicket to a delivery from Haroon Tahir but allowed the ball to play against the pad of his leading leg, and with the ball apparently pitching outside the line of the off-stump, he was adjudged leg before wicket and dismissed for 26.
The dismissal was a huge blow to the Glenpark side which was beginning to make good progress towards their target and, just seven overs later, the locals had slumped to 82 for the loss of 6 wickets with Hempsey, Sam Sanghera and Chirag Pandher all back in the dressing room and all victims of Ferguslie pro Npofu.
A resolute and entertaining partnership between Rod Mountford and Sehmat Pandher added 45 runs, with Pandher, in particular, playing some fine attacking shots. Twice he dispatched Omar Hussain for huge sixes over the Bedford Street wall to the delight of the local support. During this partnership, the Paisley side’s ‘paid coach’ Riyaad Henry suffered a very painful blow to his wrist when Mountford played a very powerful straight drive which Henry instinctively attempted to stop. The Ferguslie player had to leave the field for a period of time but bravely returned to continue fielding for his side despite perhaps having a bone broken close to the wrist joint.
The promising partnership between Mountford and Pandher ended in the 29th over when Npofu claimed his fourth wicket of the afternoon. The Zimbabwean pro had Mountford smartly caught by wicketkeeper Stafford for 28 with the score on 127. Pandher followed just six runs later as Hussain gained some revenge for twice being hit out of the ground when he bowled the Greenock batsman for 28. The score when the wicket fell was 133 and Greenock had picked up a first batting point.
The local team’s next target was to reach 155 when a further two points would be won. But just eight runs short of that target, with the Greenock total on 147 and six overs still to play, the last wicket fell when Greg McDougall was given out by umpire Els who was positioned at square leg. Much to the consternation of spectators, he judged that McDougall had been stumped by wicketkeeper Stafford off the bowling of Carruthers when it appeared to all those in line that the Greenock batsman’s back foot had never left the batting crease.
It was a very disappointing end to the Greenock innings and meant that despite a quite valiant batting performance, the Glenpark side had only one point to show for their efforts during the game. Ferguslie’s pro Npofu, finished with 4 wickets for 27 runs from eight overs with Carruthers and Tahir each picking up two wickets.
Greenock 130 all out (46 overs)
Grange 131 for the loss of 3 wickets (26.3 overs)
On Sunday afternoon, Greenock travelled through to Edinburgh to play Grange in the opening round of the Scottish Cup. Greenock won the toss and elected to bat first. Neil Flack top-scored with 42 runs.
Three other batsmen got into double figures — Bandekar 15, Mountford 19 and Sanghera 15 — as Greenock scored 130 all out from 46 overs.
But the top East League side, which is one of the favourites to lift the trophy this season, eased to a comfortable seven-wicket win thanks to an unbroken fourth-wicket partnership worth 90 runs between Mackintosh, not out 70, and Dickinson, not out 42.
For Greenock, Indian professional Bandekar captured all three of the Grange wickets.
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