Stunning last-ball win for Greenock

Forfarshire vs Greenock 1st XI

Forfarshire (2 pts) 267 for 6 (RR Watson 129, T Weed 52, UA Mohammed 39*)
Greenock 1st XI (10 pts) 269 for 7 (WJ Rowan 74, AHJ Hislop 46, RG Begley 41, C Bellwood 35)


Greenock secured a thrilling last ball triumph against Forfarshire on Saturday when Roddy Kelso hammered a boundary off the very last ball to surpass the local team’s seemingly match-winning total of 267.

The omens did not look good when skipper McLaren called incorrectly but perhaps the Gods were indeed looking down favourably upon the visitors when somewhat surprisingly his counterpart former internationalist Ryan Watson chose to bat first on a great track in sunny conditions. The cynics among us may surmise that he fancied a good long bat and he saw a much needed century beckoning in order to give a well timed nudge to the national selectors and so in that context it was the correct decision.

Watson and Wallace started slowly but gradually the former began to impose his presence on the opening bowlers. Rowan made the breakthrough though in the seventh over when he induced a nick from Wallace (5) and Hislop completed the dismissal behind the stumps with the score on 18. Meanwhile the dark and very ominous figure that personifies Ryan Watson at the crease moved serenely along in partnership with Weed with Bellwood in particular proving much to their liking as the home side gorged themselves on no fewer than ten boundaries off his eight over spell.

These two added 152 for the second wicket and Greenock were on for a hiding but credit where credit is due and the boys never gave up knowing that the wicket of Watson would be key. Weed wilted for a well compiled 52, falling LBW to Wylie whilst Bailwal (3) lasted the same number of balls before falling to Kelso. The big wicket came next with the score on 204 when Watson was well caught by Begley for a magnificent 129 off just 127 balls which included eighteen boundaries and three effortless maximums. With eleven over still remaining a score in excess of 300 was a distinct possibility but back came the Greenock bowlers backed up by some great fielding. Findlay (21) was run out and Thomson (0) fell in the chase for runs but Mohammed (39*) and Cameron (4*) took the home total to an imposing 267 for 6 at the break. Rowan with 1 for 38, Wylie 1 for 44 and Kelso 2 for 11 were the pick of the bowlers.

In reply, Rowan and the newly elevated Begley set about the task with gusto taking the opening stand to 85 in the nineteenth over before Watson made a double breakthrough when he had Begley (41) caught behind and then used all of his experience to winkle out a rather friendly LBW decision against his fellow skipper McLaren for a first ball blob. Still the visitors marched on with Rowan and Kruger adding 62 in even time before the latter missed a straight one and was bowled for yet another score in the twenties, this time 22. The innings then took a potentially fatal blow when Rowan fell for a composed 74 off the bowling of Mohammed with the score on 161.

Bellwood and Hislop then plundered 73 off the next 8 overs as they both adopted the “you know what or get off the pan” approach to batting as the winning line drew tantalisingly closer. Both fell in quick succession as first Bellwood (35) holed out and then Hislop (46) was run out with the total on 244. Hempsey (2) sacrificed his wicket in order to get Baum on strike and with 13 required for victory off the last over the youngster was joined by Kelso. However any nerves on view were limited to the bowler Mohammed as the pressure and the aggressive posture of the two batsmen got to him and he cracked. Both batsmen hit boundaries coupled with a two singles, a wide and a no-ball meant that just 2 runs were required off the last ball. After what seemed like a never ending sequence of mid-wicket conferences involving every Forfarshire player setting a different field and instructing the hapless Mohammed to bowl it here, there and everywhere, he finally decided to man up and do what he thought would be best by delivering a slow half-tracker which Kelso whacked over the infield for a boundary to complete a remarkable victory.

So finally another win and what a win at that. Everyone dug in and contributed and no-one ever gave up in what really was a fantastic team performance. This ought to give every combatant involved on the day tremendous confidence for the battles that lie ahead both this year and beyond.