Greenock 193 for 8 wickets (25 Points)
Ayr 155 all out (6 Points)
GREENOCK gained an important Premier Division win over much-fancied Ayr at Glenpark on Saturday following an absorbing afternoon of cricket.
With thunderstorms and heavy rain forecast to move across the area during the afternoon, and so cause some interruption to play, Ayr inserted Greenock when the pre-match coin toss landed in their favour. The decision should have allowed the visitors to be in control of the game if the Duckworth Lewis Stern (DLS) system was required for a curtailed match. In the event, Glenpark missed out on any weather time loss during the afternoon.
Ayr gained the early initiative after dismissing three of Greenock’s top order batsmen with just 51 runs on the scoreboard at the end of the first 20 overs. In-form Neil Flack was first wicket down when Shujaa Khan had him caught by Lloyd Jefferson for 7. And the same bowler struck again when New Zealand international cricketer Michael Papps took a good catch to end the innings of Greenock’s Australian amateur Kyle Scrimegour for 9. Shujaa Khan was involved in the third wicket too when Louis Ware (10) presented him with a catch off the bowling of first change bowler Puskar Bhandari.
All the while, Greenock’s promising 17-year-old opening batsman Harry Briggs was maintaining his concentration and scoring steadily. And when he was joined by the experienced Shailesh Prabhu, an important partnership steadied the ship for the Glenparkers. Forty-one valuable runs were added as the Greenock innings gained some momentum before Prabhu was dismissed for 22, caught by Papps off the bowling of Neil Smith.
When Ayr picked up two further wickets to put Greenock on 119 for 6 at the end of the 37th over, the visitors looked to be getting back on top. But Briggs was still unbeaten and, along with Chris Hempsey, a crucial seventh-wicket partnership of 49 runs was added before Bhandari ended the youngster’s innings with the score on 168. Briggs was bowled for 58 invaluable runs having batted for 46 overs.
As Greenock looked to use the last few overs to score as many runs as possible, Ayr’s bowlers were attacked and the total was pushed along to a very creditable 193 for the loss of 8 wickets at the end of the 50-over innings.
In the closing overs, Chris Hempsey was bowled by Papps for 31, but his brother Jonathan was not out 16, taking a team confidence-boosting 10 runs off the final over bowled by Shujaa Khan. Khan 2 for 36, Bhandari 2 for 29 and Jefferson 2 for 27 were Ayr’s main wicket-takers.
The Ayr reply got off to a flier as Michael Papps and Neil Smith, both century makers in the last couple of weeks, set about Greenock’s opening bowlers. The first four overs leaked 33 runs and, by seven overs, the scoreboard was showing 53 runs. Fortunately for Greenock, the Ayr ‘express’ was soon derailed. In the eighth over, Julien Hulbert trapped Papps leg before wicket (LBW) with the score on 57 and, in the very next over, Kyle Scrimegour bowled Smith without any further score. The New Zealand internationalist had scored 23 runs and Smith 28.
Scrimegour got wicket number three when he had Matt Crawshaw LBW with the score on 76, but the Glenparkers joy at this breakthrough was short-lived as Shujaa Khan and Michael Miller built a partnership of 45 runs. The pair were looking comfortable until a very smart stumping by Chris Hempsey removed Miller for 25 from the bowling of Neil Flack. The score was 121 for 4 in the 25th over.
Just four overs later, and with only five more runs added to the score, Ayr had slumped to 126 for 7. Firstly, Matt McClymont was caught by Kyle Scrimegour from the bowling of Julien Hulbert without scoring. Then Chris Hempsey took a fine diving catch behind the stumps to remove Khan for 35 off the bowling of Louis Ware. And then Flack and Hempsey combined for a second time to send Henderson back to the pavilion.
Ayr lost an eighth wicket on 136 when Scrimegour took a smart diving catch to remove Bhandari off the bowling of Louis Ware. Greenock now looked to have the game well in their control, but Scott McElnea had other ideas and for a brief time he scored freely. However, with the total on 154, Louis Ware took a brilliant running and forward-diving catch coming in from the boundary at long off to remove the Ayr batsman for 26 off the bowling of Scrimegour.
The last wicket soon fell and with it came victory for Greenock. Chris Hempsey took another fine diving catch behind the wicket to remove Jefferson and get his third of the innings and it also gave Louis Ware his third wicket. Ayr were all out for 155.
Kyle Scrimegour with 3 wickets for 18 runs and Louis Ware 3 for 15 were Greenock’s top bowlers but the win was a real team effort with Harry Briggs’s 58 runs, Julien Hulbert and Neil flack’s two wickets each and Chris Hempsey’s three catches and a stumping all important contributors to the victory.
Greenock’s match against Ayr was sponsored by Ethos Facilities (Scotland) Limited
Greenock 2nd XI also gained a win in a high-scoring match against St Michael’s 2nd XI in Dumfries. In a tense finish Greenock won by just six runs. Greenock 2nd XI were 218 all out, Chirag Pandher getting 54. St Michael’s 2nd XI were 212 all out.
Greenock’s second round Scottish Cup match away to Drumpellier on Sunday was cancelled after severe thunderstorms on Saturday left the Coatbridge side’s Langloan ground under water and unfit for play. The game will now be played this coming Sunday.
Greenock Cricket Club is sponsored by Cleaning Supplies 4U