League success at last for Greenock

West of Scotland vs Greenock 1st XI

Greenock 1st XI (10 pts) 234 for 8 (AJ Baum 42, RD Berrington 37)
West of Scotland (0 pts) 182 (D McNulty 48, RD Berrington 3 for 44)


Greenock finally got off the mark on Saturday when they comprehensively outplayed McCrea FS West to win by 52 runs. The margin of victory could and should have been much greater as the visitors failed to apply the coup de grâce with the home team perched precariously on 100 for 8 chasing Greenock’s first innings total of 234 for 8.

Greenock won the toss yet again and once again skipper McLaren elected to bat first on a dry surface and quick outfield. This decision was tested once more as opener Hislop was caught behind by Scotland veteran Lockhart off the bowling of Kiwi Professional Burtt for just 7 with the total on 12. Berrington joined Rowan at the crease and the two youngsters set about steadying the ship with a trouble-free partnership of 66 comprised of a mixture of boundary fours and sharp running. However the introduction of former Greenock spinner Iqbal threatened to derail the innings as he quickly caught Rowan (26) palpably in front LBW and then took the big wicket of Berrington clean bowled for a useful, but not match winning, 37 as 78 for 1 turned swiftly into 93 for 3.

More grief was to follow when McLaren was bowled for 19 with the total on 114 and then the hapless and some would say unlucky Bellwood was run out at the non-strikers end for a third time in only six league outings for just 9. At 115 for 5 the old failings looked as though they had resurfaced but the middle order was to pull things around with a fine and determined fight back. Baum and Prabhu added 45 quick runs before the latter was caught by Iqbal in the outfield for 18 going for a big hit and then man-of-the-season Baum fell for a hard hitting 42 having moved the score onto 183 for 7. Ryan Begley and Jonathan Hempsey added another 41 runs in good time as the innings accelerated from its earlier calamities before Begley perished in the pursuit of another boundary with the total on 224 for 8. At the end of the allotted 50 overs the visitors had moved along to 234 for 8 and the bowlers now had something to play with in the second innings even if the general consensus was that the total may well be 30 to 40 runs shy of a winning score. Iqbal was the pick of the home bowlers with a miserly 2 for 24 off his ten overs.

The home team set off like a train with openers Lockhart and Watson feasting on some wayward bowling from Rowan and Berrington. The score had progressed to 38 without loss off just 7 overs before the West roof caved in and the reply was effectively ended before it had begun as Greenock did to a team what teams had been doing to Greenock all season. In an amazing spell of a mere five overs the home team had lost five wickets and slumped from 38 for 0 to 53 for 5 with Rowan and Berrington extracting revenge for the earlier pasting inflicted upon their bowling.

Lockhart (9) was first to go when Berrington induced a loose shot and Begley safely pouched the catch at mid-on. Rowan had home skipper Young (1) LBW in the very next over and then a Berrington brute accounted for Watson bowled for 23 with the total on 44. Rowan then had Williams caught next over by Prabhu for 7 and the procession was completed some four balls later when Bellwood caught Luthra for a duck off Berrington. Once everyone had collected their breath it emerged that five overs of carnage had reduced the home team to 53 for 5 and at that point the visiting supporters knew that a first win of the season had been bagged.

The punishment continued when Burtt was bowled by Bellwood for 10 and Wylie bagged fellow slow man Iqbal bowled for a hard earned 16. Robertson was next to go caught by Baum off McLaren for 13 and at 100 for 8 Greenock were looking forward to an early beer. But as is so often the case things seldom work out as you would hope and the West tail well and truly wagged and the game was extended into the 45th over. McNulty and Kashif added 66 in a frustrating ninth wicket partnership before normal service was resumed when Kashif was run out for 28. The final act was completed when top scorer McNulty finally perished stumped by Hislop off McLaren for 48 with the total on 182.

So a victory and a well merited one at that. Not enough to move off the bottom rung of the ladder but surely something with which can be extended and built upon. Greenock were better than their hosts with bat, ball and in the field where Berrington is a shining star. Let’s hope it’s more of the same next Saturday when a Berrington-less Greenock host a Watson-fuelled Forfarshire.