CRICKET: Welcome Win For Greenock

24 June, 2024 | Local, Sport

Irvine (3 points ) 164 all out (S Jayawardena 65; GJ McDougall 3 for 29)
Greenock (25 points) 166 for 5 (CJ Nowlan 80 not out)

AFTER three successive league defeats, which have effectively killed any chance of promotion back to the top level of cricket in the west of Scotland, Greenock finally secured a win, defeating Irvine at Glenpark.

The eventual margin of victory was five wickets and, while this might seem comfortable, there were a couple of stumbles along the way which might have resulted in a different outcome.

Irvine won the toss and in overcast conditions elected to bat first, Ingram and Ahmed opening against the all-Australian attack of Nowlan and Tolhurst. It was not long before Tolhurst made the first breakthrough, having Ahmed caught by Dinarkhel on the off-side as he hit across the line.

Progress was slow after this dismissal with the Irvine skipper, Zaman, doing almost all the scoring until he stepped in front of a straight one from Nowlan to be dismissed LBW (leg before wicket), the first of seven such dismissals in the match. The score was 23 in the 11th over.

Irvine’s other opener, Ingram, appeared to be solely concerned with occupying the crease but his turgid knock came to an end when he attempted to square drive Greg McDougall, who had replaced Nowlan at the Bedford Street end, but only succeeded in finding Tolhurst who accepted the chance to leave Irvine at 28 for 3, Ingram having faced 34 balls for his two runs.

More wickets fell as Irvine struggled to stay in the game. Abdullah was caught behind by Tolhurst, enjoying a short spell as wicketkeeper, off Sam Sanghera, and then McDougall captured two wickets in the same over, seeing overseas amateur Jack Loram drag a wild swing on to his stumps and then trapping Alam in front to leave Irvine on 74 for 6.

Sri Lankan pro Sachin Jayawardena was still at the crease on 35 and he began to stabilise the innings with support from Neil and then Seraj Khan. Neil perished to another LBW decision as he tried to sweep Tolhurst before Jayawardena fell for 65 with the score on 143, dragging a very wide delivery from Ewan Stewart on to his stumps. His innings had occupied 88 balls and contained nine boundaries as he gave the innings some respectability.

Irvine were not finished as Khan marshalled the tail-enders to add a further 21 runs to the total, ending undefeated on 32. They would have been well satisfied with their eventual total of 164, given their score midway through their innings.

Greg McDougall was the pick of the Greenock bowlers, taking 3 for 29 in his 10 overs and there were two wickets apiece for Tolhurst, Stewart and Sam Sanghera.

Greenock commenced their reply with Connor Nowlan and Aryan Sanghera but the latter succumbed to his first ball, leg before, trying to turn the ball to the leg-side. Three overs later and Cammy Calder followed him to the pavilion, bowled by the left-arm spin of Jayawardena for just eight. A score of 16 for 2 was not the start that was wanted.

Angus Tolhurst joined his compatriot at the crease and the two young Aussies proceeded to get on top of the bowling, putting away the bad deliveries and running strongly between the wickets. The pair had put on 75 in less than 13 overs when Tolhurst was caught on the crease and was another leg-before victim, his 28 having contained four boundaries.

Connor Nowlan was still there on 43 not out and the team appeared to be well placed. But Ewan Stewart, who has scored useful
runs in recent weeks, quickly became the seventh leg-before victim and, one run later, Sam Sanghera kept up the family tradition in this game, failing to trouble the scorers as he was bowled by Abdullah.

Greenock were in a spot of trouble having gone from 91 for 2 to 103 for 5. But Nowlan and Chetan Singh steadied the ship and, in just 11 overs, some more hard hitting saw their team to victory. Nowlan was unbeaten on 80, driving the ball to the long-on boundary to finish the game, his knock having lasted 82 balls and included 13 boundaries, while Singh finished on 30.

In the end, this was a comfortable win, but skipper McDougall, and the home supporters for that matter, would have been disappointed that they had let Irvine off the hook in their innings and then twice conceded a clutch of quick wickets which against a stronger attack might have proved fatal. Nonetheless this was an important win, breaking the run of defeats which ought to lead to an increase in confidence for the team.

Next Saturday sees the team travel to Renfrew to complete the first half of league fixtures for the season.

Glenpark XI: Greenock’s 2nd XI, Glenpark, narrowly lost out to Inverclyde in their Championship Three encounter. Chasing Inverclyde’s 127 for 6, they were dismissed for 118, to leave the local bragging rights with Inverclyde. The Glenparkers will need to wait until 2025 to try to reclaim them as the vagaries of the fixture list mean that the teams will not meet again this season.

Greenock Cricket Club is sponsored by Cleaning Supplies 4U

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