Brilliant Colson century leads Greenock to victory

Greenock 1st XI v Kelburne
CSL Western First Division
Saturday 3rd August 2013

Kelburne 237 for 7 RO Hussain 56, G Burgess 54
Greenock 1st XI 239 for 4 FJ Colson 131*, TW Batters 46


Glenpark supporters were smiling once again on Saturday evening after Greenock recorded a fine six wicket win over Kelburne in their CSL West Division One league encounter. It was an important result for the local side and will hopefully give confidence for the remaining four matches of the league season.

The batting frailties, which have dogged Greenock at various times this summer, were absent as the home side built a solid innings in reply to Kelburne’s challenging total of 237, and the winning runs were scored with just a little under two overs of the match remaining. It was a well judged win and owed much to the superb 131 not out from New Zealander Fraser Colson.

Greenock’s stand-in captain Jonathan Hempsey won the toss and chose to invite Kelburne to bat first in the knowledge that there was rain around, and, with some heavy showers forecast, some interruptions to play were likely. That being so, the Duckworth/Lewis (D/L) system would have become an important factor in determining the score required by the side batting second. In such circumstances, batting second can be an advantage. In the event, D/L was not needed......but only just, as the heavens opened just ten minutes after play finished shortly after 7pm.

Back at the 12noon start, Matthew McMillan and Graeme Burgess opened the Kelburne innings and got the visitors off to a good brisk beginning by putting on 38 runs from the first seven overs before McMillan on 14 attempted to play a forcing shot off the bowling of Waleed Jamal. The ball went aerial and it was well held by Sam Sanghera.

Former Scottish internationalist Qasim Sheikh joined Burgess and the two continued building Kelburne’s score, but at a slower pace. As the halfway point in the visitors innings approached, Greenock gained their second breakthrough with the score on 82 when Sheikh (15) was adjudged LBW to the last ball of third change bowler, Fraser Colson’s first over. This was a very important wicket for the Glenparkers but it only served to bring the second of Kelburne’s two former Internationalists, Omar Hussain, to the middle.

The third wicket partnership of Burgess and Hussain added 35 runs before Tom Batters, in his second spell, clean bowled Burgess. The opener had compiled 54 runs in an innings which included six boundaries. Steven McLister came in at number five and added a further 28 runs along with Hussain before he was run out thanks to some sharp fielding by Jonathan Hempsey. The score was 143 and McLister had scored 15 runs.

Jak O’Connell, the young batsman whose innings rescued Kelburne earlier in the season when the two sides met at Whitehaugh, was next to partner Hussain ,who was steadily building a fine, personal innings. The two compiled what turned out to be the visitors’ highest partnership of the afternoon with 51 runs coming from their joint effort. It ended when O’Connell was bowled by Jonathan Hempsey to take the score to 194 for 5 in the 45th over.

Omar Hussain was next to go on 223. Pace bowler Waleed Jamal in the last of his allotted overs for the afternoon, hung on to a return catch to send the former Scottish internationalist back to the pavilion having top scored with 56 runs.

Dougie Wylie, who had come in at the fall of the fifth wicket, then played a fine little cameo innings of 22 runs in just 15 balls before a mis-timed pull shot off Tom Batters bowling, provided a straightforward catch to Aidan Forrest at mid-wicket with just two balls remaining of the visitors’ innings. Kelburne closed at the end of their 50 overs on 237 for the loss of 7 wickets.

Tom Batters with 2 for 56 from 10 overs, Waleed Jamal 2 for 60 from 13 overs, Jonathan Hempsey 1 for 37 from 12 overs and Fraser Colson 1 for 33 from 7 overs were the wicket-takers for Greenock.

Knowing a win was imperative, Greenock set about their challenge with Neil Flack and Tom Batters opening the innings. This was yet another new partnership to get the Greenock’s innings off to a start and the elevation off Batters, who has usually been a lower order batsmen in the Glenpark side’s line-up, proved to be inspirational.

Kelburne’s opening bowlers Steven McLister and Ross McLean gave little away in the first ten overs as Greenock managed just 21 runs. However, the breakthrough came when Flack got an edge to a McLean delivery in the twelfth over and the ball flew to McLister in the gully, who snapped up the chance to remove the Greenock youngster for 9.

Fraser Colson came in at first wicket down and he and Batters began what was to be the match-winning partnership. From 26 for 1 in the twelfth over they batted through until the thirty ninth over when, with the score on 166, Batters was run out for a very fine 46. The partnership had been worth 140 runs.

By this time, Colson had raced to a brilliant century, in the same number of minutes, scoring the runs off just 76 balls faced and Greenock were well on track to reach their target. But although just over sixty runs were now needed from the last 12 overs, and eight wickets were in hand, there was still much work to do. Neil Fleming faced five balls, scored two boundaries and was then caught by Omar Hussain for 8 to place Greenock on 184 for 3 and still needing 54 runs from ten overs.

Chris Hempsey and Colson steadied any nerves by adding 39 runs in the next seven overs to take the Glenpark side to 223 before Hempsey (17) was out to a fine, return juggled catch to bowler Steven McLister.

Stand-in captain Jonathan Hempsey joined Colson with three overs and two balls remaining and with the home team needing15 runs to win. The New Zealander had batted supremely well throughout almost the entire innings and he delighted the Glenpark crowd with an array of very fine shots and also entertained them with no fewer than six maximums (6s) hit out of the ground. The victory came with the fourth ball of the 49th over and fittingly it was a boundary from Colson which signalled the win for Greenock. He had batted for two hours and thirty three minutes for his 131 not out and faced just 108 balls. It was an innings which provided him with a standing ovation from Greenock supporters at the end of the match.