Disastrous performance by Greenock results in humiliating loss

Greenock 1st XI vs Forfarshire

Forfarshire (10 pts) 248 for 8 (RR Watson 84, KS Pickering 33)
Greenock 1st XI (0 pts) 47 (KS Pickering 6 for 22, GN Quinn 4 for 24)

Scorecard       Photos

Oh, what a difference a week can make. Just seven days previously, Greenock had broken their SNCL duck by beating West of Scotland with a performance that displayed endeavour, grit and teamwork.

Seven days later, a comprehensive 6-wicket defeat by Stirling County in the Scottish Cup, a 7-run loss to Division 2 side, Kelburne in the West League Cup and now this, an embarrassing, not to say humiliating, defeat by 201 runs to Premier Division newcomers, Forfarshire.

Nobody said this season would be easy. The loss of several key performers and the decision not to employ a professional meant that the team would be up against it from day one. Early performances indicated this to be true but the team remained competitive and no hammerings were received. But the same could not be said of this defeat. The bald figures tell the whole story.

And yet, it started quite promisingly. Chris Bellwood, opening the bowling with Jonathan Hempsey in the absence of Richie Berrington, on international duty, and the injured Willie Rowan claimed two quick victims with the aid of sharp catches by Andy Hislop. When Umair Mohammed was run out for just 10, the visitors were in a little difficulty at 58 for 3. That was as good as it got. Ryan Watson, unable to play for Scotland due to work commitments, took the game away from Greenock with an untroubled knock of 84 and it came as a surprise when he did get out, playing across the line to the persevering Dougie Wylie, who was easily Greenock's best bowler.

The Forfarshire middle order all contributed but at the end of the innings, the total was just 248, a not ungettable total with a good wicket and a fast outfield. Greenock regulars could all recall times when that sort of total would be chased down.

Such thoughts turned out to be a mere pipedream as the Forfarshire openers, Aussie professional Kelby Pickering and stalwart Graeme Quinn, ripped the heart out of the Greenock top order, leaving them staggering at 11 for 4. The loss of Shailesh Prabhu, who broke a finger in the field, meant that Dougie Wylie was pressed into service as a makeshift opener but neither he or the out-of-form Andy Hislop hung around for long. Bellwood and McLaren were both dismissed without scoring and despite a brief response from Courtney Kruger and Jonathan Hempsey, the only two bats to make it into double figures, it was all over in just over an hour and 16.5 overs.

Pickering and Quinn bowled at a quicker pace than any of the Greenock bowlers and moved the ball about a bit but they were not so threatening as to merit a total of just 47 against them. All in all, a thoroughly dispiriting performance by the Greenock batsmen.

Where to now? Well, in the short term it is a trip on Sunday to meet Dunfermline, the other promoted team. Whoever takes the field against them will face a stern test and it is certain that neither Rowan or Prabhu will be fit to play. Greenock can only hope that their inspirational international all-rounder, Richie Berrington, is cleared to play by Cricket Scotland. But there again, is it fair to ask just one guy to bail Greenock out? Eleven league games are all that are left for Greenock now. Let us hope that some pride can be regained before the end of the season.