Greenock fail to trouble Ferguslie

Ferguslie v Greenock 1st XI
CSL Western First Division
Saturday 27th July 2013

Ferguslie 204 D Stafford 67, J Cook 31; TW Batters 4 for 25
Greenock 1st XI 121 M McAlister 3 for 20


This CSL West Division One match at Meikleriggs was, in the end, won very comfortably by Renfrewshire rivals Ferguslie as, not for the first time this season, Greenock’s batting failed to fire . The margin of victory was 83 runs but Greenock may look back and consider this was a game which had been theirs for the taking.

Ferguslie captain David Stafford won the toss and chose to bat first on a good looking wicket and on an afternoon which was going to present very warm conditions for the side fielding first.

Opening bowlers for Greenock, Tom Batters and Waleed Jamal, very quickly had the home side in a deal of trouble due to their pace and accurate line. The Paisley side’s first four batsmen, including the in-form Under-19 Scottish internationalist Michael English (14) and Zimbabwean professional Keith Dabengwa (0), were all back in the clubhouse within just eleven overs as Ferguslie were reduced to 41 for 4.

Jamal claimed the first two wickets as he trapped Michael Homewood (0) leg before and then bowled Gregor Preston-Jones (11). Batters then had Dabengwa caught by Chris Hempsey at first slip and took the prized wicket of English when he held on to a return catch.

Ferguslie rallied after this poor start and, as Greenock made changes to their bowling attack , David Stafford and the experienced Alan Mories got the innings back on track, hitting thirty eight runs from seven overs before Mories (22) edged a ball from Richie Berrington and was caught by wicketkeeper Alex Baum.

The sixth wicket partnership was the home side’s biggest of the afternoon as Stafford and James Cook added eighty five precious runs before Batters, returning for his second spell, clean bowled Stafford for 67 runs with the score on 166. Cook departed just two runs later when he was run out for 31.

At 168 for 7, Greenock would have hoped to mop up the tailenders quite quickly but a good rearguard action provided a further thirty six runs as Gavin Mories (11), Alistair Preson-Jones (8), Martin McAlister (8) and Haroon Tahir (6 not out) delayed the ending of the innings until the 47th over.

Of these last three wickets, Batters claimed his fourth of the afternoon when he bowled McAlister, and Fraser Colson and Greg McDougall picked up one wicket each. Batters finished with the fine figures of 4 for 25 from 9.2 overs.

Just as Ferguslie made a stuttering start to their innings, so too did Greenock but unfortunately for the Glenparkers their mid-innings mini revival did not match up to the home side’s and another poor batting display left them well short of the 204 run target.

Martin McAlister was the Ferguslie bowler who did the early damage. With just the third ball of his first over he had Neil Flack (1) caught by Gavin Mories and in his second over removed Greenock’s high scoring New Zealand amateur Fraser Colson (4) with a ball which Colson thought was going wide but which jagged back and bowled him.

Richie Berrington, making just his fifth appearance in all matches this season for Greenock due to international duties and injury, managed just seven runs before opening bowler Michael Homewood bowled him with a ball which came off his pads and on to the stumps.

At 31 for 3, and with both Colson and Berrington removed, the Greenock innings was showing signs of coming off the rails and, without a further run being added, another wicket was lost when skipper Shailesh Prabhu (17) was dismissed in unusual fashion. He played and missed at a pacey delivery from Martin McAlister and wicketkeeper Stafford, seeing Prabhu out of his ground, quickly threw the ball from seven or eight metres, hit the stumps and the Greenock skipper was given out for not having got back into his crease.

Greenock now needed a substantial fifth wicket partnership to get their innings back on track. Alex Baum and Chris Hempsey did provide some sense of a revival but having taken the total to 64, Baum played across the line to a ball from Homewood and was adjudged LBW having scored 14. Their partnership of thirty three runs had been showing potential but, alas for Greenock in the circumstances, was brought to a premature end.

Chris Hempsey continued to score well and was batting quite comfortably against the Ferguslie bowlers until once again disaster struck for the Glenparkers. Hempsey played a shot in to the cover area, called for a run, set off and discovered himself stranded in the middle of the wicket and was run out for 24.

With the score now on 77 for 6, the writing was on the wall for Greenock and when three further wickets went down in fairly short order to leave the visitors on 85 for 9, the ‘sign’ was written in large capital letters.

A final wicket partnership of 36 runs, the largest of Greenock’s innings, spared the Glenparkers blushes, at least a little bit, as Tom Batters (17) and Waleed Jamal (not out 13) valiantly attempted to hoist the score towards respectability. The end came when Alistair Preston-Jones bowled Batters with eight overs remaining and Greenock were all out on 121.

McAlister with 3 for 20, Homewood 2 for 29 and Tahir 2 for 38 were Ferguslie’s main wicket-takers.

Friday’s weekend preview mentioned that as Greenock were fielding a full strength team for one of the few times this season there could be “no excuses if the team performance does not measure up”. Sadly, the performance was a disappointment. A good start was made in the field but not hammered home which allowed Ferguslie to score many more runs than maybe should have been the case. Greenock’s top order then failed to provide the start to the innings and the runs which the team and its supporters had hoped would have carried them to victory........another weekend of ‘what might have been’ !