Greenock crash out of Scottish Cup

Stirling County vs Greenock 1st XI

Greenock 1st XI 186 (JPC Hempsey 33, RDG Wylie 32*, J Edwards 4 for 28)
Stirling County 187 for 4 (J Edwards 106*)


It was definitely a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ on Sunday as Greenock crashed out of the Scottish Cup following a humiliating 6 wicket defeat to 1st Division Stirling County.

There have been a number of lows this season but it was the manner of this defeat which will surely have set alarm bells ringing throughout the dark panelled halls of Glenpark. This was quite frankly an embarrassing performance with only a mere morsel of pride being salvaged by the last wicket pairing of Hempsey (33) and Wylie (32no) as they took the score from 112 for 9 after less than 30 overs to 186 all out with a fighting partnership of 74. What is even more disturbing is the fact that the total could have been even lower if Stirling knew how to bowl straight as they contributed no fewer than 32 wides to that total of 186. The second innings was no better and for Stirling to score the winning runs in just the 39th over only emphasises how poorly Greenock played. It was almost too much for the travelling support to bear.

It is hard to know where to begin when trying to describe the efforts of the other batsmen as they surrendered meekly in quick time with a rash of careless and injudicious shots executed by the players as though they were still intoxicated with the success of their first league victory the day before. There are some other key questions though which have to be answered especially around the top end of the batting order and the role of the ubiquitous pinch hitter in particular.

Stirling won the toss and asked Greenock to bat in overcast conditions and they didn’t have to wait long for their first wicket when McIntosh was bowled for 3 with the total on 6. This is the fourth time that he has perished in similar fashion in just 7 innings opening the batting and this tactic just does not seem to be working. Taking advantage of the early overs when the field is in close, is a worthwhile concept when it comes off. By its very nature there will be times when it doesn't and this has to be accepted but if it is going to happen frequently then the benefit is negligible. It can't be doing much for Phil's confidence, either.

Berrington (16) smoked three lovely boundaries before he went for a short one and gloved it through the ‘keeper and then Rowan (18) was bowled 8 runs later with the total on 42. Bellwood and McLaren added 36 as Aussie born Josh Edwards decided to get in on the act with the ball bowling the former for 8 and the latter just two runs later for 14. Prabhu, Hislop and Begley came and went for 2, 1 and 1 respectively and suddenly Greenock were 96 for 8 with less than half the over bowled. The in-form Baum, batting at eight, was next to go for 12 and this brought Hempsey and Wylie together for their heroic and sensible last wicket stand of 74. Edwards finished with 4 for 28 from his 10 over stint.

Defending 186 was never going to be easy and so it proved to be as the dismal batting display was backed up by some fairly wayward bowling. Berrington induced Anderson (10) to nick through to Hislop but man of the match Edwards looked in no trouble as he moved inexorably towards a deserved century. McLaren trapped McGhee (14) in front with the score on 99 and Wylie bagged a quick double strike but it was to no avail as Edwards stroked the winning runs to end up unbeaten on 106 as Stirling cruised to a 6 wicket victory with nearly 12 overs still to bowl. To add insult to injury ,the visitors bowled a total of 24 wides as Greenock’s dream of progressing in a competition which they once almost owned was again cut down by a team from a lower league for the third year on the trot.

Much to think about then as McLaren tries to rally his shell-shocked troops for the visit of Forfarshire to Glenpark on Saturday.