Greenock succumb to National Academy talent

Greenock 1st XI vs National Academy

National Academy (10 pts) 175 (M Leask 51, C Burnett 45, WJ Rowan 3 for 41)
Greenock 1st XI (0 pts) 99
(C Burnett 4 for 21, A Brock 3 for 7)


Where to begin (Part II of II)? After the debacle of the previous day Greenock returned to home shores on Sunday to face the National Academy.

The youngsters won the toss, elected to bat and promptly found themselves on 5 for 3 as the recuperated Rowan removed Wallace (2), Edwards (0) and the prolific Hairs for a duck. Galloway (17) was next to go off the bowling of Bellwood with the total on 33 but Petrie and Chalmers steadied the ship with a stand of 32 before the latter was also bowled by Bellwood for 21. Petrie (10) went immediately LBW to Sanghera and at 65 for 6 a home win looked like a distinct possibility.

What followed for the people watching was probably the most frustrating hour of play witnessed all season as Leask (51) and the in-form Burnett (45) dug in to repair the damage with a match winning stand of 96 in 19 overs of unchanged bowling. Sanghera’s last 8 overs went for 53 with no wickets including 8 boundaries whilst at the other end and in tandem the ever dependable Wylie gave up a mere 25 runs off his 10 over stint and snaffled two wickets. Wylie bowled a total of 61 deliveries during which one boundary and one six was registered in the debit column which means folks that his other 59 deliveries went for just 15 runs. Talk about a guy bowling to his field.

When a partnership is building and you have a team under the cosh you just cannot afford to let the game slide along and that I’m afraid is exactly what happened. Bring back your opener Rowan for an over, bowl Kruger to see if his filth will induce a false shot, throw the ball to McDougall for an over or failing that, have a go yourself but do something. It never happened and if ever the value of having a wizened old head out on the field to put a comforting arm around a captain and offer some advice was demonstrated, this was surely it.

The importance of breaking that partnership was duly highlighted as the visitor’s total quickly subsided from 161 for 6 to 175 all out in jig time. Rowan took three scalps but only completed 6.3 of his allotted 10 overs and the Academy innings ended with 8.3 overs remaining. If only……

Now it’s our turn and with just 176 required the job was certainly on. Or so we thought. Greenock moved nicely on to 34 without loss in the eleventh over but the introduction of Burnett changed things for ever as he accounted for Prabhu (23) with his fourth ball caught behind trying to cut one that was just too close to his body for the shot. Bellwood (10) seemed to be struggling but he was still there until a moment of madness, comedy, farce call it what you will ,saw for him as he hit the ball straight to short mid on and somewhat bizarrely ran only to see the stumps at the non-strikers end demolished with he himself barely out of his crease at the strikers end. This is the fourth time Bellwood has been run out in the League this year and on such things games change and so it was to be.

At 59 for 2 the game was still there for the taking but the batting that followed had to be seen to be believed. Rowan (13) lost the ‘you keep bouncing me and I will keep trying to hook you’ battle with Burnett as he hit a short one straight up in the air back to the bowler. Kruger (2) was caught at slip two runs later off a big inswinger, Hislop (1) went next over bowled by Burnett and Baum (0) lasted one ball also bowled by Burnett. 59 for 2 was now 62 for 6. Kelso (7) pirouetted at least three times trying to hit a shortish ball off the leg spin of Brock but missed it and was bowled, Wylie (1) slashed the same bowler to backward point before a ‘stand’ of 18 between skipper Begley (18*) and Sanghera (9) took the total to 98 but then the latter missed a full toss and was bowled. McDougall’s day of complete inactivity was topped off as he too missed a full toss for a second ball blob. 99 all out including 15 extras.

Quite simply, this was a game that should never have been lost. One just hopes that some harsh lessons have been learnt and that something more positive can be found for the remaining four games of what has been quite simply a most dismal season.

GCC would like to thank Ball Sponsor – Kevin Flack, Match Sponsor – Louis’s Fish Bar and Presidential Suite Sponsor – Alan Park