Grange take full advantage of slipshod Greenock batting

Grange vs Greenock 1st XI
Scottish Cup
Saturday 6th July 2013

Greenock 1st XI 165 JPC Hempsey 33; IG Worth 3 for 41
Grange 166 for 4 R Flannigan 66, ARM Muir 64*


It would probably be fair to say that Greenock travelled to Edinburgh on Saturday to take on the mighty Grange in a Scottish Cup qualifying tie, more in hope than expectation.

And yet, that hope was not without some foundation. Grange, whilst still a powerful force in Scottish cricket, are in a rebuilding mode at present introducing a number of promising youngsters into their team at the same time as many of their experienced players have either retired or dropped down to the 2nd XI. For their part, Greenock have demonstrated at times that they are capable of winning performances, but at other times have shown a maddening propensity to play well below their capabilities. Which side of Greenock would show up on Saturday?

It was a warm, sunny day in Edinburgh and Greenock got off to the best possible start when skipper Shailesh Prabhu called correctly and elected to take first use of what promised to be an excellent batting strip on what after all is the premier international ground in Scotland.

Prabhu elected to open the batting himself with Neil Flack and they made a positive start putting 27 on the board after just 3 overs. Unfortunately, this good start was brought to a halt in the fourth over when Prabhu guided Chris Sole, son of ex-Scottish rugby captain David Sole, into the safe hands of Gregor Maiden.

Fraser Colson, in a rich vein of form at the moment, joined Flack but this was not to be Fraser’s day as he fell for just 4, stumped by another Grange youngster, 16-year-old Matthew Angelini off the bowling of Iain Worth. Alex Baum swiftly followed, another victim of the caught Maiden bowled Sole combination, for just 2 and when Neil Flack was also pouched by Gregor Maiden, this time from the bowling of Worth for 19, the alarm bells were certainly ringing.

59 for 4 and consolidation was urgently called for. The brothers Hempsey knuckled down to the task but were always ready to punish the loose delivery. They had put on 37 in just 8 overs when Chris became Worth’s third victim, caught by Routray. Tom Batters (2) did not last long but Greg McDougall provided a more productive partner for Jonathan Hempsey. The latter took 12 off an over from Worth, including the only 6 of the innings, but in the very next over, the 28th of the innings, he gave Maiden his second wicket of the game, caught by Muir.

The score was now 115 for 7 and hopes of a challenging total were now receding fast. Waleed Jamal and McDougall put on 31 for the 8th wicket but the former fell for 14, stumped off the left-arm spin of the Grange skipper Brock, McDougall provided Maiden with his fourth catch of the innings, caught for 18 and finally Ben Peterson became the third stumping of the innings when he was last man out for 9.

165 all out in just under 40 overs was a really disappointing score. Greenock scored at a reasonable pace with the fast outfield giving full value for the batsman’s shots but the problem was that wickets fell too regularly. In 50-over cricket, it is a cardinal sin not to bat out your overs and for Greenock not to use a fifth of their allocation, that showed a lack of application from the batsmen. That three of the dismissals were stumpings just underlines that fact.

Grange had read the pitch well, using 3 spinners, none of whom Greenock were ever really comfortable against. Iain Worth took 3 for 41 in 13 overs, Andrew Brock 2 for 39 whilst Gregor Maiden conceded just 14 runs in his 7 overs, taking 2 wickets into the bargain.

The Greenock innings had lasted just 10 minutes over 2 hours and this speedy progress was too fast for the tea ladies. Grange were therefore required to bat for an awkward short spell before tea and Greenock made good use of that.

The free-scoring George Munsey was quickly dismissed for just 4, caught by Tom Batters off the bowling of Waleed Jamal and when the first ball of Fraser Colson’s spell saw Maiden caught by the bowler for just 9, Greenock went into tea with their opponents wobbling slightly at 30 for 2.

If Greenock were to get anything out of this game, then it was essential that they press home the slight advantage that they had gained. Quick wickets were a must. Alas, the exact opposite happened. Internationalist Ryan Flannigan and Zander Muir, who has played for Scotland at age-group level, put together a match-winning partnership. Eschewing risks, but taking full advantage of any wayward delivery, they put on 109 for the third wicket and effectively batted Greenock out of the game.

With just one spinner in their ranks in Fraser Colson, Greenock were unable to use the help that the pitch gave to the slower bowlers. Skipper Prabhu switched his bowling around but to little effect until in the 30th over, Colson induced Flannigan to hit a return catch to him. Flannigan had scored a worthy 66 runs and although Worth fell quickly, caught by Peterson off the bowling of McDougall for just 1, Grange were able to coast over the line to win by 6 wickets.

Muir was undefeated for 64 when the end came in the 3 th over, Henry Edwards being the other not-out batsman on 13. Fraser Colson had the best figures for Greenock taking 2 for 32 in 9 overs, McDougall with 1 for 34 and Jamal 1 for 44 being the other wicket-takers.

As skipper Prabhu said at the end of the game, “165 was not a great total in the conditions. A par score would have been nearer 250. However on the plus side there was a much improved bowling display with fewer wides and no-balls this week (just 9 in total, compared to Grange who conceded 26 wides.)”

This result, coupled with Renfrew’s win by just 4 runs over bottom of the group, Dundee HSFP, means that Greenock’s interest in the Scottish Cup has been ended. Next Saturday, Dundee HSFP come to Glenpark for the last game in the section, a match which will be meaningless, but which should be used by Greenock’s batsmen to get some runs under their belts prior to the commencement of the second half of the league season.