Comfortable win for Greenock in the sunshine

Greenock 1st XI vs Dundee HSFP
Scottish Cup
Saturday 13th July 2013

Greenock 1st XI 266 for 9 SS Prabhu 70, AJL Baum 45; V Shah 3 for 50
Dundee HSFP 178 for 8 W Hardie 49, R Horne 35


On a lovely summer’s day on Saturday at Glenpark, Greenock 1st XI comfortably defeated Dundee HSFP by 88 runs in the last of the Scottish Cup qualifying matches.

As neither side could progress any further in the competition, the game, and the result, was meaningless. This fact was underlined by the fact that Greenock did not field either Richie Berrington or Fraser Colson. Both were suffering from niggling injuries and it was felt prudent to keep them for the important league fixtures which are coming up. In their place, youngsters Harry Briggs and Aidan Forrest were given their chance.

Skipper Shailesh Prabhu won the toss and had no hesitation in electing to bat. The Dundee High boys, having had a long drive down to Greenock, would have ardently wished that their skipper had called successfully but it was not to be, and they were condemned to a hard afternoon’s toil in the sun.

Prabhu and Neil Flack opened the batting and they made a steady start against the bowling of overseas player, Ben Strachan and Graham Hopkins. The fifty was brought up in the 12th over but in the next over, Flack was caught by the opposition’s other overseas player, Jigme Singye in the covers off the bowling of Shah for 20. Flack has made some promising strides this season and he will feel that he really missed out here on an opportunity to compile a big score.

Flack’s dismissal brought Alex Baum to the crease and together with his skipper, set about the Dundee bowling. The fast outfield ensured that well-hit shots brought their rewards and the Dundee skipper was forced to change his bowling at regular intervals in order to try to restrain the two Greenock batters. Prabhu reached his 50 in just 87 minutes off 63 balls and when the total reached 150 in the 30th over, it seemed that Greenock were heading for a substantial total.

It came as somewhat of a surprise then when Greenock proceeded to lost 4 wickets for 22 runs in just 4 overs. Dundee were on to their seventh and eighth bowlers when they made the breakthrough. Prabhu was first to go, playing over a full-length ball bowled by leg-spinner Singye for a splendid 70, which included 13 boundaries. Young Briggs, given his chance at number 4, unfortunately did not last long, being adjudged LBW to Hardie without scoring. The same bowler accounted for Baum next, caught at long-off for a well-constructed 45 and when Jonathan Hempsey was bowled for just 4 by Singye offering no shot, Greenock had slumped to 173 for 5.

The whole momentum of the innings had now changed and Aidan Forrest and Greg McDougall were required to proceed steadily to ensure that Dundee did not gain complete control. They took the score past the 200 mark before McDougall was next to go, bowled by the returning Strachan for 18. Forrest took some time to settle but when he did, he played some pleasing shots including a straight drive for 4 off Aussie Strachan which drew an approving clap from the bowler.

Ben Peterson fell for just 1, bowled by Shah and at 216 for 7 with just 5 overs left, it seemed that the innings would just peter out. Tom Batters and Walid Jamal had other ideas and along with Forrest, they ensured that a decent total was reached. Forrest was run out for 24 but Batters with 27 not out and Jamal with 13 took the final total to 266 for 8.

In truth, this total fell far short of what looked possible halfway through the innings when a score of over 300 appeared to be within reach and without the late flurry from Batters and Jamal, Greenock could have finished with a disappointingly low total, one which could well have been within reach of Dundee HSFP, given the conditions.

After a well-deserved tea, which included ice lollies, Batters and Jamal opened the bowling for Greenock and without making a breakthrough they ensured that Dundee quickly fell behind the asking rate of some 5 runs per over. Horne and Hardie batted steadily but were unable to get on top of the bowling.

After 10 overs, Jonathan Hempsey and Greg McDougall were brought on and they then bowled the next 26 overs of the innings. It was a somewhat strange portion of the game with Greenock content to let Dundee get further and further behind the rate and the batsmen seemingly content to occupy the crease.

The first wicket did not fall until the 29 th over when Horne was run out by a direct hit from point by Peterson for 35 with the score on 94. By the time the 40th over had been reached, the score had moved on to just 122 for the loss of a second wicket, the other opener, 14-year-old Hardie also being run out for 49 by a direct hit from Forrest. Hardie received a warm ovation from both teams as well as the sizeable crowd as he dragged himself disconsolately off the pitch.

By now, Greenock had reverted to their change bowlers and Ben Peterson and Sammy Sanghera both picked up a wicket as Dundee attempted some more adventurous shots. Batters and Jamal came back at the end to finish off the overs and this gave Batters a chance to collect a couple of victims and Jamal one as the Dundee innings simply fizzled out at 178 for 8. One of Batters victims was a clean bowled where the ball rebounded to mid-off as his pace was too much for the batsman.

A bloodless victory for Greenock and it is difficult to see how much skipper Prabhu learnt from it. He himself will be pleased to get some runs under his own belt but would be concerned by the mid-innings slump, something which happens far too often.

Harder tasks now await Greenock for the remainder of the season. On Wednesday, the side travel to Renfrew for the final sectional game of the West League Cup. A win will see the team in to the semi-finals but even a close defeat could still be sufficient, depending on the result of the other match between Ferguslie and Kelburne.

Saturday sees the resumption of the league campaign and first up is a home match with the league leaders, East Kilbride. The latter are enjoying a most successful season and will be a difficult team to beat.