Greenock crash to another heavy defeat

Greenock 1st XI vs Watsonians

Watsonians (10 pts) 215 for 5 (EF Chalmers 77, TI Weston 69, R Flannigan 39)
Greenock 1st XI (0 pts) 137 (KA McLaren 42, RMS Legget 4 for 22, SJ Chalmers 3 for 20)


The scene at Glenpark as players and groundstaff assess the situation

Greenock crashed to a fifth successive league defeat by 78 runs on Saturday when they were comprehensively outplayed by a rampant Watsonians side in a rain reduced match at Glenpark.

The prospects for any play looked ominous as a torrential downpour at 11am flooded the outfield in just 15 minutes but the square and bowlers run ups were well protected and so remained dry. Both teams also demonstrated a refreshing willingness to play in the wet conditions whereas in previous campaigns where relegation was a potential downside this may well not have been the case.

An early tea was taken at 3.30pm and play finally got under way nearly 4 hours after the scheduled start at 4.50pm with both sides restricted to just 25 overs with each bowler limited to maximum of 5 overs. Visiting skipper, kiwi professional Tim Weston called incorrectly and, with rain in the air and Duckworth-Lewis on the horizon, home captain McLaren invited Watsonians to bat first with Greenock having to cope with a wet ball.

Easton was first to depart with the score on 21 as he was smartly stumped off the bowling of Bellwood for 10. Ryan Flannigan raced to 39 in a second wicket partnership of 56 with Weston before he was caught in the deep for 39 by Sanghera who had previously dropped the same player earlier in the over off the unlucky Hempsey. The game was now taken away from Greenock as Weston and Ewan Chalmers added 125 for the third wicket in jig time as the Greenock fielding and bowling fell apart in disarray. Hempsey saw another two simple chances spilled as he had both players dropped in 4 balls as the total sprinted along at an alarming rate. Sanity was restored when, on 202 for 2, opening bowler Rowan returned to snare Weston for 69 with a cracker that took off stump before he immediately removed the free flowing Chalmers for 77 with the score now on a demoralising 203 for 4. The carnage continued as Watsonians finally posted a huge total of 215 for 5 at a rate of just under 9 runs per over.

Greenock’s reply was positively stunted in comparison to their opponents as they contrived to lose 3 wickets for 25 runs in the 7 overs of the power-play and the game was effectively finished as a contest with more than two thirds of the overs still remaining. Hislop was first to depart in the second over for 1, Bellwood followed soon after for 3 with the total on 11 and the triumvirate of casualties was completed when Rowan was cleaned bowled for 15 to give Leggat his third wicket in as many overs. Youngster Baum was next to perish for 10 as the home team sought to up the tempo after such an inauspicious start in chasing the 216 required for victory. Prabhu joined McLaren and the two experienced batsmen took the score from 43 for 4 to 111 for 5 before the latter swung former Greenock stalwart Craig Wright down the throat of long on for 42.

Prabhu followed swiftly for 26 as the innings descended into a tailspin with wickets clattering at either end as Stuart Chalmers cleaned up the lower order with 3 cheap wickets. The home team contrived not to use up their allocated 25 overs eventually succumbing for a mere 137 with 1 delivery remaining to bowl.

The book never lies and a quick glance tells the whole story. Bellwood, Hempsey and McLaren all shipped around 10 runs per over whilst no fewer than 3 catches were grassed in a bowling and fielding display which left much to be desired and reflected upon. The batting never got going as there were far too many dot balls and no apparent plan applied during the batsman friendly power-play overs when a minimum of 50 to 60 runs were required during this period of potential hay-making. The Watsonians attack was good but not devastating and it is worth remembering that they too had to deal with a wet ball. For Greenock, it’s back to the drawing board as they head up the M8 to play West of Scotland on Saturday before taking on Stirling in the Scottish Cup on Sunday. I’ll have a double please.

GCC would like to thank Ball Sponsor Campbell MacNeill, Match Sponsor St. Andrew’s Garage and Presidential Suite Sponsor Greenock Hockey Club.