Weakened Greenock put to the sword by Dunfermline

Dunfermline vs Greenock 1st XI

Dunfermline (10 pts) 323 for 6 (AJA Gray 104, G Rai 98, M Bunting 55*)
Greenock 1st XI (0 pts) 53 (S Reddy 6 for 27)


It was déjà vu all over again as Greenock slumped to a hugely embarrassing 270 run defeat to Dunfermline on Sunday at McKane Park.

In mitigation, the visitors were seriously hampered by the loss of no fewer than 4 key players especially in the bowling department as niggling injuries to Rowan and Berrington deprived skipper McLaren of his preferred opening attack at the request of the Cricket Scotland hierarchy. With bowler of the year Wylie also unavailable and opening batsman Prabhu out with a broken finger just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse Murphy’s Law kicked in and dealt another couple of fatal blows to the already beleaguered team. Overseas amateur Kruger played even though he was suffering from a debilitating virus and then Kenny Diffenthal suffered an injury when fielding which was to prevent him from batting. Phew!!

Dunfermline won the toss and batted first in the Fife sunshine and they set off like the proverbial train. However when McLaren snared Sullivan LBW for 9 with the total on 44 this merely brought the ominous shadow of the prolific Gray to the wicket and he and home captain Rai proceeded to take the game away from Greenock with a 158 run partnership for the second wicket. With Greenock looking down the barrel of a huge score Rai sacrificed his wicket when he was caught 2 short of a deserved century by McDougall off the bowling of Bellwood.

Greenock hauled things back with another 3 quick wickets as Kruger had Shahzad (8) caught by Bellwood and then took the prize scalp of Gray for an excellent 104. Reddy (4) fell shortly after to Bellwood and at 245 for 5 the visitors had curtailed the haemorrhaging of runs with some good bowling and fielding. Marshall Bunting was still there though and his brutal 55* saw Dunfermline through to a formidable 323 for 6. Pick of the bowlers was Jonathan Hempsey who opened the bowling and took 1-36 off just 9 of his allotted 10 overs.

In replay Greenock were now on a mission to save face and demonstrate some pride as in all honesty 324 was well outwith the realms of possibility given the team constraints. It wasn’t to be as neither aim was achieved with a capitulation every bit as calamitous as the previous week against Forfarshire. Vasu Reddy, who could only manage to be the fifth change bowler against Clydesdale last Saturday, took the new ball and made merry.

Hislop (4) hit his first ball for a boundary and then fell to his second caught behind by Shakoor. Baum (5) went two overs later when he too edged Reddy through to the willing paws of Shakoor. Bellwood amassed a couple before he was cleaned up by Reddy and at 14 for 3 it was as commentator David Lloyd would say “Time to start the car.” Reddy then had Begley (5) palpably LBW with the score on 24 for 4 before Shahzad got into the act when he had McLaren caught by Bunting for 7. 32 for 5 turned into 32 for 6 as the ill Kruger (4) succumbed clean bowled to the rampant Reddy. Hempsey (4) was next to go when Bunting had him caught by Shahzad and then Thomson (13) was bowled to become Reddy’s sixth victim with the score on 52 for 8. Not content with a century Gray returned to complete the massacre when he had McDougall (0) caught by Bunting with no addition to the total. With Diffenthal unable to bat that was that. The innings closed at 53 for 9 in just 18 overs and a defeat by no fewer than 270 runs. Reddy returned 6 for 27 off 9 overs of accurate, but hardly life threatening, seam bowling. To make life easier for the scorer the team also had the good manners to be dismissed in batting order which doesn’t happen very often.

Where do they go from here? The guys are obviously trying but there is no hiding from the basic facts. OK so let’s admit that there was no Richie or Shailesh but I would say that the first seven in the order would all claim to be able to bat and I would concur, but collectively they contributed 31. In the last two league games, allowing for Diffenthal’s injury, the team with the bat is effectively 100 for 19 with no fewer than 18 of those 100 runs being made up by extras.

Attempting to sugar coat things really does no one any favours and there are no doubt some within the Club who would like us to adopt that particular view of life but at the end of the day it’s all there for everyone to read and I’m afraid that the book just doesn’t lie.