Another close encounter goes against Greenock

Renfrew vs Greenock 1st XI
Scottish Cup
Saturday 29th June 2013

Renfrew 193 L Hendrickse 55, A Sharif 45; TW Batters 4 for 37, JPC Hempsey 3 for 24
Greenock 1st XI 190 FJ Colson 58, CJK Hempsey 39, GJ McDougall 31; S Abbasi 3 for 53


For the second Saturday in succession , Greenock failed to win their match by the narrowest of margins. Last week, due to the Duckworth/Lewis system, the team scored more runs than their opponents but still lost by eight runs; this week the team went down by just three runs in a tight and tense finish at Renfrew. A hard lesson needs to be learned.....keep focused and finish off matches to gain a win !

This Scottish Cup sectional match was the first of the three reverse group fixtures from earlier in the season and a win would have put Greenock into an almost certain qualifying position for either the knock out stages of the Scottish Cup itself or the knock out stages of the Cricket Scotland Trophy. Defeat however, means that Renfrew edge ahead of Greenock by one point, due to gaining a ‘bonus’ point from a weather cancelled match with top Edinburgh side Grange in May on the day when Greenock defeated Dundee HSFP.

Greenock must now win at least one of their two remaining sectional matches and hope Renfrew lose both of theirs...possibly a tall order.

At Renfrew on Saturday, Greenock captain Shailesh Prabhu won the toss and inserted the home side on a wicket which looked as though it could favour the bowlers, and on a ground where the outfield was in less than a trim condition. Rain was also around, and the possibility of once again having the Duckworth/Lewis (D/L) system to be a key part of sorting out the match result was very real. In the end however, the rain held off and D/L was not needed.

The home side openers, Pakistan pro Ahmed Said and South African amateur Liam Hendrickse, made a sound start compiling 49 runs before Said was caught by wicketkeeper Alex Baum off the bowling of Jonathan Hempsey for 24.

Azhar Sharif joined Hendrickse and they were soon at ease building an excellent partnership which only ended when Greenock’s Australian amateur Tom Batters, with just the fourth ball of his second spell, ripped through Hendrickse’s defence and bowled him for 55 in the 36th over with the Renfrew score on 139.

Hendrickse’s wicket was a very important breakthrough for Greenock, as it soon signalled a change in the direction of the match. Two further wickets followed shortly after his dismissal, with firstly the very dangerous Shahid Abassi LBW to Waleed Jamal for just 4 runs and then in the same over Azhar Sharif clean bowled by Jamal for 45 to leave Renfrew on 160 for 4 after 39 overs.

The two new batsmen, Kashif Parvez and Saleem Sajjad, added 26 runs from the next four overs before the wicketkeeper/bowler duo of Baum and Hempsey claimed their second dismissal of the afternoon to return Parvez to the pavilion for 11. Abdul Shakoor then managed just a single shot to the boundary before being caught by Waleed Jamal to give Hempsey his third wicket of the match.

Kamran Saeed (2) was next out , after a very brief visit to the middle , caught by Fraser Colson as he attempted to score off a Tom Batters pacey delivery, then just four balls later Steven Black was returned to the hutch for a ‘duck’ having edged Batters to wicketkeeper Baum. 188 for 8.

Wickets were falling very quickly at this stage as the overs remaining in the Renfrew innings were winding down.

Sajjad (15) was run out with a fine piece of fielding involving Waleed Jamal and wicketkeeper Baum to take Renfrew on to 189 for 9, and the final wicket fell when Tom Batters knocked over the stumps of batsman number ten, Andrew Mullen, with just four more runs added to the total. Renfrew had tumbled from 178 for 4 to all out 193 in the space of just five overs.

Batters finished with the fine bowling analysis of 4 wickets for 37 runs from 9.4 overs. The other wicket-takers were Jonathan Hempsey 3 for 24 from 9 overs and Waleed Jamal 2 for 57 from 13 overs.

However, commendable though the Greenock bowlers’ efforts were in bowling out Renfrew for 193 in under 50 overs, further analysis shows that yet again far too many ‘extras’ were gifted to the opposition. There were no fewer than 18 ‘wide’ balls and 3 ‘no balls’ which resulted in twenty one extra deliveries and added in excess of thirty runs to the Renfrew total which, with better bowling discipline, would have enabled Greenock to have had to chase a much reduced total. This is an area which the Greenock bowling attack must work on in practice to assist in winning matches.

Following the tea interval, Greenock began their innings with Shailesh Prabhu and Neil Flack once more restored as the opening batting partnership. With 16 runs on the board Flack gloved a ball going down leg side from Ahmed Said and was caught by wicketkeeper Shakoor.

New Zealand amateur Fraser Colson, who has been in consistently good form with the bat , joined Prabhu and by the eleventh over forty four runs were on the board. A short delivery from Kamran Saeed ended the partnership, however, as Prabhu mis-timed his pull shot and was caught at square leg by Kashif Parvez for 23.

Alex Baum, scorer of a very fine 77 last week, failed to trouble the scorer this time as he got a very good delivery from Saeed, with just his third ball faced, which caught the edge of his bat and Saleem Sajjad took the chance at slip.

Greenock’s best partnership of the afternoon then ensued with Chris Hempsey and Colson easing the score along at just on the required run rate, with some good running between the wickets and also some well executed shots which brought boundaries.

The introduction of slow leg spinner Shahid Abassi in the 29th over, proved to be a pivotal decision. In just his third over he captured the wicket of Chris Hempsey, stumped by Shakoor for 39 runs, to bring to an end a partnership of 74 runs. Then in the 37th over, Abassi and Shakoor repeated the feat to dismiss Colson for 58 with the Greenock score on 133 for 5.

Collapse! Three further wickets then fell for the addition of just four more runs and when Harry Briggs was caught and bowled Parvez for 11 with the score on 171 for 9 the game looked well and truly over. But ‘no’, Greg McDougall who had been with Briggs for the ninth wicket partnership of 24 runs, then continued to take the game to Renfrew and very nearly succeeded. Having scored 31 runs, and with just four more runs needed to win, he was caught by Saeed off the bowling of Ahmed Said and the celebrations were with the players in the home team camp.