CRICKET: Third Defeat For Greenock

10 June, 2024 | Local, Sport

Greenock 172 for 7 from 50 overs
East Renfrewshire 127 for 4 from 36 overs …….DLS target 173 from 45 overs

GREENOCK’S aim to quickly return to the Western Premiership One was dealt a potentially fatal blow at Glenpark on Saturday.

The match suffered a number of rain interruptions before finally being abandoned shortly before 8pm when the wet weather set in for a lengthy spell. And unfortunately the Duckworth Lewis Stern (DLS) system used to determine the winning side did not work out in Greenock’s favour.

Earlier in the day, after a wet morning but with no further rain forecast, Greenock opted to bat when the East Renfrewshire captain called wrongly at the toss of the coin.

With 22 runs on the board part way through the seventh over, Greenock seemed to have made a good start. But the visitors’ opening bowler Wajid Zaman quickly changed the direction of the match. In the space of just four balls he removed both of Greenock’s top two batsmen this season.

Firstly Connor Nowlan was bowled for 19 and then incoming new batsman Angus Tolhurst suffered the same fate without having scored. And in the very next over, with only two more runs added, Greenock lost Aryan Sanghera, run out by a direct hit to the stumps as he attempted a second run. Chirag Pandher was then caught by wicketkeeper Choudhary off the bowling of Akmal Rana.

So at 24 for the loss of four wickets with only eight overs bowled Greenock were in deep trouble. However, the innings was rescued by two hard-grafted partnerships. Firstly, Shailesh Prabhu and Sam Sanghera put together a 49-run partnership in just a little more than 14 overs to take the home score to 73 before Sanghera was bowled by Riaz Ali for 18 runs.

Then a sixth-wicket partnership of 63 runs guided the home score to 136 and put the Glenpark side very much back into the match. Former team captain Shailesh Prabhu used his experience and patience to grind out a fine 50 and also helped batting partner Ewan Stewart to keep on task throughout their partnership.

Prabhu was finally out from the last ball of the 44th over, caught deep on the leg side trying to accelerate the score with only six overs remaining. He undoubtedly rescued the team after its disastrous beginning and he faced 140 balls and scored five boundaries in his 52-run innings.

Stewart, who had played a supporting role to Prabhu, then took on the main batting role and a further 36 runs were added to the team’s total by the close of the innings at the end of the 50th over.

Stewart was not out 28 from 76 balls faced and Usman Mansoor was not out 12 as Greenock finished on 172 for 7 wickets.

In reply, East Renfrewshire made a rapid start with 37 runs scored from just a little more than five overs mainly thanks to opening bat Noman Ilyas who plundered four boundaries and a straight six into the Bedford Street gardens.

However, Ilyas lost opening partner Wajid Zaman when Greenock team captain Greg McDougall brought himself on to bowl, and with just his fifth ball he had Zaman caught deep on the leg side in front of the clubhouse by Sam Sanghera.

Two overs later, Ilyas was run out. He had not reckoned on the quick pick-up and bullet-like throw from Angus Tolhurst who was fielding deep on the leg-side. Ilyas was two yards short as he tried vainly to complete his second run. He had scored 30 runs from just 18 balls faced.

Tolhurst himself then picked up East Renfrewshire’s third wicket when he took a superb low-down diving catch to his left off his own bowling to dismiss Aashim Khurshid off the first ball of the 11th over to put the visitors on 44 for 3.

A quite superb running and diving catch by Connor Nowlan dismissed Mo Choudhary for 22 off the bowling of Sam Sanghera towards the end of the 19th over to break a promising partnership along with Ali Qazi with the score on 80.

But that wicket was to be Greenock’s last success as Qazi and team captain Zarak Ahad took the East Renfrewshire score along to 127 at the end of the 36th over when the match was eventually abandoned after a number of interruptions during the afternoon, but on this occasion because of persistent, closed-in, heavy rain as the clock edged towards 8pm.

And when the DLS result was worked out, it showed East Renfrewshire just ahead of the run rate they required to win, and so they gained the victory which condemned Greenock to their third league loss of the season.

Greenock may look back and blame the weather forecast, which was less than accurate suggesting no further rain after about 10am, and which may have influenced the decision to bat first. But in truth, a poor early batting performance, a lack of bowling penetration, and perhaps some poor tactics, were probably the real reasons for the loss.

It will now take a quite monumental effort by Greenock to win all, or most, of their fixtures for the remainder of the season, and for other sides to falter, for any hope of promotion to be realised. And it must start next Saturday with a match away from home against league leaders Kelburne who are unbeaten.

Greenock’s 2nd XI Glenpark had their match against Bute County and Cowal, which was due to have been played at The Meadows in Rothesay on Saturday, called off as their ground was deemed unplayable because of the wet weather.

Midweek matches

On Wednesday evening, Greenock 1st XI travel to Renfrew to play a McCulloch Cup sectional match. The competition has been blighted by poor weather. So far, Greenock have lost to Paisley sides Kelburne and Ferguslie, and also had two matches cancelled because of rain.

On Tuesday evening, the Glenpark XI will play Dean Park at Glenpark in a Western Cup match, weather permitting.

The 2nd XI have managed to play just one of their sectional matches which was lost away to Kelburne 2nd XI Whitehaugh in early May. Two other matches have been cancelled because of rain.

Greenock Cricket Club is sponsored by Cleaning Supplies 4U

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