Winning start for 1st XI

Greenock XI vs Hillhead
Saturday 13th April 2013

Greenock XI 158 for 4 ND Flack 52, SS Prabhu 35
Hillhead 147

A minor miracle was achieved at the weekend when, against most expectations due to the recent unseasonal weather, Greenock’s cricket season did get under way on Saturday with a friendly encounter against Glasgow side, Hillhead, at Glenpark.

Greenock fielded a side which had a mix of 1st and 2nd XI players and which was therefore minus several players who will be likely to feature in this season's 1st XI , including both of the Club's overseas players who will not arrive in Scotland for another week or so.

The teams agreed a 35 over per side game and Greenock batted first. Shailesh Prabhu, Greenock’s new captain for 2013, opened the innings along with Under-15 Scotland cap Neil Flack and the pair made a sound start on a wicket which was as expected.... slow, with the ball not coming on to the bat.

The opening ten overs yielded just 30 runs but without loss of a wicket, and then in the next ten overs the run rate improved as both openers became more and more comfortable with the conditions and 100 runs were on the board. Shailesh Prabhu retired on 35 not out to offer an opportunity for some practice to other batsmen and when Neil Flack reached 52 not out, he too retired.

Their departures however saw the run rate drop by the end of the 35 overs the Greenock total had reached 158 for the loss of 4 wickets.

In reply, Hillhead lost an early wicket when Waleed Jamal had one of the visitor's openers caught behind by Alex Baum in just the third over and then in the sixth over, Jonathan Hempsey held a return catch off his own bowling to put Hillhead on 33 for the loss of two wickets. Greg McDougall got the third Hillhead wicket with another caught and bowled to remove the visitor's opening batsman for 40.

Hillhead maintained a brisk run rate and at the mid-way point in their innings were very comfortably positioned on 91 for loss of 3 wickets. However, a superb catch running backwards towards the boundary by Waleed Jamal brought a fourth wicket and just a couple of overs later McDougall picked up his third wicket of the afternoon to place Hillhead on 100 for the loss of 5 wickets and an interesting finale was set up.

Waleed Jamal was the key player for Greenock in the closing stages. Firstly he dropped a catch in the deep off the slow bowling of Mark Robertson but then redeemed himself by taking an excellent catch the very next ball right on the square leg boundary to dismiss Hillhead's most dangerous middle order batsman for 38. Next, in the closing stages of the game with Hillhead looking favourites to win, Jamal was brought back into the bowling attack and with his searing pace, wrapped up the match by clean bowling two of the last three batsmen to give Greenock a season opening win by just eleven runs.