Greenock flourish in the sun

Greenock 1st XI vs Ayr

Ayr 249 for 3 (2 pts) (MHW Papps 135*, DI Johnstone 38)
Greenock 1st XI 251 for 4 (10 pts) (RD Berrington 75*, C Bellwood 54, TG McIntosh 38, AHJ Hislop 34)



Greenock recorded their second victory of this season’s Premiership campaign with a six wicket win over Ayr in a high scoring match at Glenpark on Saturday. In glorious weather conditions, and with the ground in splendid condition, it was the local side who emerged victorious at the end of an excellent afternoon’s cricket.

Ayr won the toss and chose to bat, having recognised that the Glenpark wicket was in terrific shape and likely to offer the opportunity for high scoring, and so it proved.

Michael Papps, the Ayr professional, who has been in tremendous form with the bat this season having scored four centuries despite the small number of matches which have managed to beat the wet weather of May and June, opened the innings for the visitors with Andy McElnea. These two quickly demonstrated that the bowlers would have a hard afternoon and that runs would be plentiful.

Scoring at close to a run a ball, the visitors were looking in very good shape with Papps in particular making batting look easy. However Greenock did manage to make a breakthrough in the fourteenth over when Phil McIntosh, who had replaced Chris Bellwood at the Bedford Lane end, got one to nip back and trapped McElnea leg before wicket for 23.

This proved to be only a very minor setback as Neil Smith who joined Papps at the crease was able to maintain the momentum which had built up. Papps offered no chances as he stroked the ball effortlessly around the beautifully presented Glenpark surface and he reached his half century off 55 balls.

Greenock picked up a second wicket with the score on 130 when Smith attempted to hit Dougie Wylie out of the ground but only succeeded in finding Andy Hislop, close to the boundary rope at the Fox Street end, who took a well judged catch.

Papps continued to accumulate runs but at a slower rate and gained his hundred off a total of 135 balls, before opening up and adding 34 from just fourteen balls at the tail end of the innings. At the close he was unbeaten on 135. David Johnstone who scored 38 before being bowled by Phil McIntosh and Chris Preece with 9 not out were Ayr’s other batsmen who got runs as they ended their innings on 249 for 3 after 50 overs.

Needing exactly five runs per over to win, Greenock set about their task with New Zealand test batsman Tim McIntosh opening the innings with Chris Bellwood. They made a sound start with the first fifty runs on the board in the eleventh over. However, in the fifteenth over with second change bowler David Johnstone brought into the action by Ayr, McIntosh mis-timed a pull shot to leg and was caught at the second attempt by Preece at square leg for 38 with the score on 65.

Richie Berrington joined Bellwood and these two dominated the visitors bowling attack displaying a fine array of shots which took Greenock up to and slightly over the required run rate. Bellwood eventually perished caught and bowled by Johnstone for 54 in the thirty first over with the total on 152.

The wicket brought Andy Hislop to the middle to partner Berrington who was now well in the groove and showing his international class. These two continued Greenock’s progress towards their target with Hislop playing some beautifully timed shots to the boundary clipped off his legs. These two put on 76 runs off thirteen overs before Hislop was over ambitious in going for a second run and was run out for a very fine, and confidence building, 34.

Needing just 24 runs from six overs, the result was put beyond doubt when Phil McIntosh came in and smashed two quick boundaries in a little cameo innings of 11 before being caught by Preeece off the bowling of Calum Leck.

Richie Berrington then finished the match off two balls later in majestic and emphatic style when he hit Leck for a towering six into Fox Street to give Greenock victory in the forty seventh over on 251 for 4.

This was a crucial victory for Greenock as they seek to consolidate their position in the SNCL Premiership. Results in some of the other matches did not quite go their way with Stirling and West of Scotland somewhat surprisingly defeating Forfarshire and Grange respectively. All this has led to a whole gaggle of clubs bunching up at the foot of the table. Weather permitting, there is a lot of cricket still to be played.

Greenock CC wish to thank Match Sponsors, Agnes and Graham White and Match Ball Sponsors, the Baum Family, for their generous support.