Hillend XI play at last but lose out to Irvine

Irvine 164 (N Brackley 51, D Ingram 30; H Briggs 4 for 32, GJ McDougall 3 for 26)

Hillend XI 135 (DC Sharma 32; J Singh 3 for 32)


Cricket made a welcome return for one of Greenock Cricket Club's XIs at the weekend when the Hillend XI completed a WDCU Sunday League fixture at Marress, Irvine. Although dry all afternoon, the match was played on the synthetic astroturf wicket at Marress instead of a grass wicket, but both teams were just delighted to get a game after weeks of cancellations.

Irvine made a good start with Craig Sharpe and Mike Ingram looking in good form. However Dave Sharma made the breakthrough in his fifth over when he clean bowled Sharpe for 12 and then in his next over bowled Ingram for 14. Sharma bowled a very economic spell of 8 overs taking 2 wickets for 23 runs.

Two further wickets put Irvine at 43 for 4 but a strong partnership between Irvine's Zimbabwean overseas amateur Norman Brackley and David Ingram brought the home side right back into the game. Brackley in particular was impressive as he dispatched numerous balls powerfully to the boundary.

It was one of Greenock’s most promising young players, Harry Briggs, who turned the game back in the Glenpark side’s favour when, in just his first over, he had Brackley well caught by Brian Roberts at long off for 51. This wicket was just the first of four wickets which Harry picked up as his seven over spell brought some very well deserved success as his bowling figures of 4 wickets for 32 runs clearly show.

David Ingram occupied the crease for a lengthy period and gradually nudged Irvine’s score along while wickets were falling regularly at the opposite end. Greg McDougall eventually broke through his defences and bowled him for 30 as the Irvine innings drew towards a close.

McDougall picked up three wickets for just 26 runs from his two bowling spells which totalled eight overs. Waleed Jamal also bowled eight overs and had 1 wicket for 31 runs while Under-15 player Kieran Wylie was Greenock’s fifth bowler and he bowled very well but without gaining a wicket.

In reply, Greenock lost a number of early wickets and were 25 for 3 when Brian Roberts and Waleed Jamal struck up what was just beginning to look like a very useful fourth wicket partnership when Roberts was stumped by John Steel from the first ball of Brackley’s second over of off spin.

Jamal played some lusty blows in an entertaining innings of 26, but having dispatched Mike Ingram for a boundary followed by a huge six, he was lured into a pull shot which disappeared into the bucket-like hands of Brackley at deep square leg.

The experienced pair of Dave Sharma and Peter Hempsey added almost forty runs for the seventh wicket and were causing serious concerns in the Irvine side as the target of 165 began to draw ever nearer. However, Sharma having scored a very fine 32 was bowled by Colin Doyle with the score on 122 and Greenock needing just over forty runs to win .

Unfortunately, only a further ten runs were able to be added before Irvine won the match when Greenock’s last wicket was captured. Peter Hempsey was 21 not out at the close of the Greenock innings.

Inderveer Singh with 3 for 32 was Irvine's most successful bowler of the afternoon but the most economical was overseas amateur Norman Brackley who bowled eight overs and took one wicket but conceded just 12 runs.