Greenock lose place at top table after defeat to Clydesdale

Clydesdale v Greenock 1st XI
CSL Western Premier Division
Saturday 1st September 2012

Greenock 1st XI 95 (0 pts) RD Berrington 33; RM Haq 4 for 26
Clydesdale 99 for 3 (10 pts) PJR Barbour 36*; RD Berrington 3 for 40


Greenock’s long held position at the top table of Scottish cricket came to an end with defeat by Clydesdale at Titwood on Saturday. The fate which the team had been struggling to avoid for several weeks became a reality as the Glasgow side won easily by seven wickets and sent Greenock tumbling to relegation.

Keen to win the toss to give an opportunity to control the match, Greenock captain Ryan Begley got the call wrong at the toss and Clydesdale captain Zeeshan Bashir had no hesitation in inserting Greenock on a slow, green track in overcast conditions.

Greenock’s usual batting line-up was changed with Alex Baum dropping down to number five and South African pro Mpho Sekhoto moved up the order to open with Shailesh Prabhu.

The tactic failed to fire however as neither Sekhoto nor Prabhu looked comfortable against the pace and accuracy of Scottish international opening bowler Safyan Sharif and Mo Afzal. In the first six overs only nine runs were scored and when Prabhu was bowled by Afzal early in the tenth over the Greenock total was just twelve.

Richie Berrington’s arrival at the crease provided a short-lived spur to the scoring as he immediately hit a fine shot towards the boundary which brought three runs . But with the first ball of the very next over Sharif had Sekhoto (5) caught behind by Kasim Farid to leave the Glenparkers on 16 for the loss of 2 wickets.

Chris Hempsey and Berrington slowly began to develop what was looking like a decent partnership and had taken the score along to 36 when Hempsey tried to hit the experienced Scottish international bowler Majid Haq to the boundary, missed and was bowled.

Alex Baum joined Berrington and again there appeared to be a good partnership building with Baum rotating the strike well to allow Berrington to take command. Yet again, however, with the score having moved along to 54 in the 24th over, it was Haq who made the breakthrough for Clydesdale by bowling Baum, who appeared to play down the wrong line and had his off stump bail removed.

Thereafter, it was more or less a procession as Greenock batsmen came and went with no one providing Berrington with any real support and indeed the Scottish internationalist himself had his off stump sent cartwheeling out of the ground in dramatic style by Safyan Sharif when he had scored 33 and the total was on 82 for 7 wickets.

The innings ended just thirteen runs later on 95 when Sam Page bowled Greg McDougall with the first ball of the 37th over. It brought the end to a disappointing innings and a generally dismal batting performance from the team for the season.

Majid Haq was Clydesdale’s top performer with the ball, picking up 4 wickets for 26 runs from 9 overs. Safyan Sharif with 2 for 19, Mo Afzal 2 for 14 and Zeeshan Bashir 1 for 25 were the other wicket –takers.

Set only 96 to win Clydesdale made a sound start to their innings and had scored twenty four runs from the first six overs before Humza Sher became the first wicket to fall when he was clean bowled by Richie Berrington.

Incoming batsman Zulfi Shahid was adjudged LBW for 0 to a ball from Berrington just seven runs later and just momentarily there appeared to be a chink of light for Greenock. MajidHaq and opener Patrick Barbour eased the score along to 50 before Berrington got a ball to rise off a length and Haq (10) was unable to keep it down and Ryan Begley took a simple catch.

At 50 for 3 Greenock were seeking to pick up another couple of quick wickets to put pressure on the Titwood side, but these sought after breakthroughs did not come. Instead, Barbour and new batsman Rouman Butt were able to steer their side on to victory in the 23rd over with Barbour not out 36 and Butt not out 22.

Richie Berrington with 3 for 40 was Greenock’s only successful bowler on the afternoon.

So ended a season which began with great promise but which finished a massively disappointing one for Greenock on the field where little luck has come the Glenparkers’ way. Top amateur Craig Schlebusch from South Africa returning home for personal reasons early in the season was a massive blow and was compounded by Cricket Scotland’s refusal to allow a replacement to be brought in. Six league matches were lost to the weather including both games against fellow strugglers Stirling County and just two weeks ago the match against West of Scotland was lost by a single run.

The worst summer weather in living memory has blighted the game and apart from the six league matches cancelled or abandoned, a further twelve 1st XI matches of various categories fell victim to the wet conditions. In a twenty week season it has been a horror story for clubs and groundsmen around the country. When added to the many 2nd XI, 3rd XI and Junior age group matches which were unable to take place due to the weather, drawing a veil over season 2012 is perhaps the best way to proceed.

Roll on season 2013 and a summer of sunshine. For Greenock it will also mean a new beginning in the CSL Western First Division. The Club wishes to thank all who have given their support in 2012.