Berrington returns to form to see off Ferguslie's challenge

Greenock 1st XI vs Ferguslie

Ferguslie 253 for 8 (PM Mullick 84, A Mories 60; WJ Rowan 5 for 40)
Greenock 255 for 5 (RD Berrington 109*, KA McLaren 63, AHJ Hislop 41)


Richie acknowledges the applause for his match-winning innings

Greenock maintained their fine Scottish Cup form of recent years with an excellent five wicket victory over Renfrewshire rivals Ferguslie at Meikleriggs on Sunday. The win was particularly satisfying as it signalled a return to form by Richie Berrington and Kevin McLaren both of whom had been having difficulty scoring runs in the opening SNCL league fixtures. Richie, now a professional in the Scottish Saltires set up, showed his class with a patient and stylish century while team captain Kevin McLaren weighed in with an invaluable 63.

Greenock inserted Ferguslie having won the toss, on what was a bright, sunny but not overly warm afternoon. The opening pair of Preston-Jones and Stafford made a sound start to the home innings but having got the score to 40, Stafford was caught by Willie Rowan off the bowling of Richie Berrington. The total had moved on to 63 when Preston-Jones was caught by Chris Bellwood and immediately Paramanick became the third victim when Willie Rowan caught and bowled him to pick up his second wicket. That was to be Greenock last success for omore than an hour and a half as Mories and Mullick settled in and began to get comfortable with the Greenock bowling attack.

The partnership was finally ended 127 runs later with the total on 190 when Mories was adjudged LBW for 60. Stuart Kennedy joined Mullick and these two kept up a decent momentum taking the score along to 237 before Kennedy departed clean bowled by Rowan. His departure signalled the start of a collapse by Ferguslie as they tried to add quick runs before the innings closed. Mullick was well caught in the deep by Bellwood and Rowan completed a fine afternoon with ball by picking up 5 wickets for 40 runs from his ten overs. Berrington, McIntosh and McLaren were the other bowlers who gained a wicket.

Needing a scoring rate of five runs per over, Greenock set about their task by sending in Andy Hislop and Phil McIntosh and they got the innings off to a bright start. However, McIntosh fell for 8 with the score on 29 just as he seemed to be getting into a groove. His dismissal brought Richie Berrington to the crease and he and Hislop eased the score along without any real alarms until Hislop, having dispatched Paramanick to the boundary, attempted a repeat and was bowled for 41 with the score on 75.

Shailesh Prabhu came and went quickly but that was Ferguslie’s last meaningful success of the game as Kevin McLaren and Berrington thereafter dominated the home bowling and took Greenock through to within touching distance before McLaren unnecessarily gave away his wicket.

Berrington’s batting display showed his class as he played a range of shots for which the home bowlers had no answer. His fifty was posted with just around 120 on the board and still much to do for a win but he continued to pace his innings immaculately bringing up his century with the victory well in sight and after playing a number of brilliantly executed reverse sweeps off the bowling of Mullick.

Kevin McLaren too played a hugely influential innings. His 63 runs in the 4th wicket partnership of 164 decided this Scottish Cup tie in Greenock’s favour and included numerous powerfully struck boundaries plus one huge six over the trees towards the Royal Alexandra Hospital (RAH). His dismissal just short of the winning target was sadly unnecessary, but having hit several powerful shots in the first part of the over, he allowed his appetite for scoring big runs to overtake commonsense and he was caught by Preston-Jones having mis-timed another boundary attempt. However it was merely a distraction as Greenock shortly afterwards reached the winning target with almost three overs still in hand.

Next up is another away tie, as has been the case for almost all Scottish Cup matches for the past three seasons, with a trip to play Stirling County at New Williamfield on Sunday 6 June. This is a repeat of last season's second round encounter, a match which Greenock won comfortably by 8 wickets. With Stirling having made a fast start to their league campaign this year, a repeat of that performance may not be as simple to achieve.