West of Scotland 200 all out in 45.2 overs (9 Points)
Greenock 201 for 9 wickets in 49.5 overs (25 Points)
GREENOCK scored a third successive Premier Division win, defeating title challengers West of Scotland following a tense, thrilling finale to the match at Glenpark.
The winning runs were scored with the second last ball of the match with Greenock down to their last man at the crease. It was a good all-round team performance, but with Suarabh Bandekar, Sean Fischer-Keogh and Sehmat Pandher playing key roles in the win. Indian professional Bandekar hit a brilliant 104 not out, Fischer-Keogh took three important wickets and Pandher played a hugely important innings coming in at number nine in the home batting order.
The improved form of the last three Saturdays has lifted Greenock up to seventh place in the Premier Division table, comfortably clear of the two relegation places. And having failed to gain a single victory in the first half of the league season, the team has now learned the way to win.
On another perfect afternoon for cricket, and with Glenpark having been prepared and presented in magnificent form by groundsman Stuart Maclean, West of Scotland won the toss and opted to bat first. The visitors’ captain, Ian Young, opened the innings with Robert Corner and the two batsmen made a brisk start scoring 35 runs from the first six overs, but it was at that point that Greenock made the first breakthrough when Young (17) presented Jonathan Hempsey with a catch from his own bowling.
Just three overs later, Greenock picked up a second wicket thanks to a piece of very smart fielding by Jack Griffiths whose pick up and return led to the run-out of new batsman Oliver for just seven runs. And Griffiths was involved with wicket number three when he took a fine catch to dismiss opener Corner for 28 off the bowling of Sean Fischer-Keogh with the score on 70 in the 15th over.
This brought Jonny Williams to the middle to join former South African test player Rory Kleinveldt, who was just getting his innings under way. But Williams didn’t last long and departed for just two runs smartly caught at short cover by Chris Hempsey off the bowling of his brother Jonathan to make it 78 for 4.
In the next phase of the game, West built their innings with three good partnerships. Firstly Kleinveldt and Mikey Miller added 32 runs for the fifth wicket before the South African pro was caught by Greenock’s Indian pro Saurabh Bandekar for 32 off the bowling of Neil Flack. However, Flack’s celebration led to a leg injury and he had to come off the field for a period of time.
Secondly, Millar and James Fennah put on a further 37 runs before Millar departed for 33 bowled by Flack who had returned to the fray by which point it was 147 for 6. Then thirdly, Fennah and Dave McNulty compiled the best partnership of the innings adding 52 runs for the seventh wicket. McNulty was the man out for 17 bowled by Bandekar in the third over of his second spell.
Greenock wrapped up the West innings by taking the last three wickets for just one more run being added to the total. Fennah, who top-scored with 46, was bowled by Bandekar in the same over as McNulty departed, and then, with the second ball of the next over, Sean Fischer-Keogh bowled Smith and the West innings was complete at 200 runs exactly. Fischer-Keogh took 3 for 26 from 7.2 overs, while Bandekar, Hempsey and Flack each picked up two wickets.
After the tea-break, with experienced openers Neil Flack hampered by injury and Shailesh Prabhu unavailable, Greenock opened with Jonathan Hempsey and Zac Barranechea. But the partnership lasted only into the third over when Hempsey was bowled by Kleinveldt for six. And the South African former test player gained a second wicket for the visitors when he bowled Barranechea for nine with the score on 23 in the seventh over.
Just as last weekend in the match against Drumpellier, Rod Mountford and Saurabh Bandekar steadied the Greenock innings with an important partnership. Thirty-six runs were added in 15 overs as the local side dug in against the strong West bowling attack. However, when Mountford was caught by Kleinveldt off the bowling of Fennah, the Glasgow side was able to capitalise on that breakthrough with a further quick wicket when Jack Griffiths was adjudged leg before wicket (LBW) to Fennah with only two more runs added to the score.
And just seven runs later, it was 68 for 5 with Chris Hempsey brilliantly caught in first slip by Kleinveldt for six off the bowling of Gavin Smith. and Greenock looked to be in some trouble chasing West’s total. When the score became 88 for 6 in the 33rd over, Greenock’s task became even more challenging.
But Indian professional Saurabh Bandekar was still out in the middle and unbeaten and, along with Neil Flack, who required a ‘runner’, Greenock began a fight back. The pair put on 38 runs in just six overs to leave Greenock needing 75 runs from the remaining 11 overs, which equated to almost seven runs required from each over left to be bowled.
West looked to have gained an important advantage when Flack was caught by Fennah off the bowling of Kieran Chance, but the wicket brought Sehmat Pandher out to join Bandekar who was by now batting with authority. These two batsman dramatically raised the run-rate with number nine batsman Pandher smashing two boundaries and a six, hit into the Bedford Street gardens, as the pair added 53 runs in a little more than six overs.
Once again West looked as though they may have just gained the initiative when Pandher was bowled for 22 by Gavin Smith with the first ball of the 47th over. When the Bandekar/Pandher partnership ended, Greenock still required 22 runs from the last four overs but with just two wickets remaining. And the tension rose further when Kleinveldt had Sam Sanghera trapped LBW with the score on 190.
But last man Sean Fischer-Keogh held firm and Bandekar took control and scored seven runs from the penultimate over to bring up his first century as a Greenock player and leave just four runs needed to win with the pro on strike.
Four dot balls from Oliver left Greenock still needing four runs from the last two balls of the match. But with the fifth ball, Bandekar got the win for Greenock when he manufactured a scoop shot over the West wicket-keeper to send the ball to the boundary. Bandekar was not-out 104 while for West, Kleinveldt took 3 wickets for 37 runs from 10 overs and Smith, Fennah and Chance each picked up two wickets.
Greenock’s 2nd XI also recorded their third successive league win when they defeated Galloway 2nd XI by 90 runs at Gatehouse of Fleet with 16-year-old Cammy Calder (108) scoring his first century, and also taking 4 wickets for just 8 runs from 8 overs bowled.
Greenock 2nd XI 215 for 3
Galloway 2nd XI 125 all out.
Greenock Cricket Club is sponsored by Cleaning Supplies 4U