1st XI batting collapse leads to comprehensive Kelburne win

Greenock 1st XI vs Kelburne
WDCU CSL First Division
Saturday 14th June 2014

Kelburne 217 for 7 MQ Sheikh 68, M McMillan 61, RO Hussain 55; TW Batters 4 for 25
Greenock 1st XI 66 SL Hamilton 4 for 18


Greenock suffered a major batting collapse against Paisley rivals Kelburne on Saturday and, as a result, went down heavily in front of the very sizeable home support which had turned out on what was a fine sunny Saturday afternoon at Glenpark.

Qasim Sheikh, Kelburne’s captain and former Scottish international, got the afternoon off perfectly for his own side when he called correctly at the toss and immediately signalled that his team would bat. However, inside the first four overs it was Greenock who had taken the early initiative with two early wickets claimed by Australian overseas amateur pace bowler Tom Batters.

Opener Graeme Burgess was first to depart when he was dismissed for a ‘duck’, with the score on eleven, having edged a delivery through to wicketkeeper Chris Hempsey. Then, with no further runs added, new batsman Steven McLister was clean bowled by Batters, also without troubling the scorers.

Kelburne needed to settle and get a rhythm going and Matt McMillan and Qasim Sheikh provided an experienced approach to the situation. The two batsmen steadily built a strong partnership taking the score along to fifty in the sixteenth over and were closing in on one hundred when McMillan nicked a ball from Greg McDougall and the chance was taken by Chris Hempsey behind the stumps. The opener had scored a patient 61 from 92 balls in almost two hours at the crease. Score 92 for 3 in the 29th over.

The platform built by McMillan and Sheikh was then taken forward by the Kelburne captain and his cousin Omar Hussain, also a former Scotland International. The two Paisley players scored with shots which sent the ball to all parts of the ground and although Greenock tried a number of bowling changes to seek a breakthrough, none was forthcoming. Their partnership of 120 runs, scored in just 84 minutes, propelled Kelburne towards a sizeable total and only ended when Hussain was bowled by Ben Peterson in the penultimate over of the innings having scored 55 runs at more or less a run a ball.

Peterson then picked up the wicket of Sheikh, stumped by Chris Hempsey, just three balls later as the Kelburne captain attempted to hit the ball for would have been his eighth boundary. Sheikh notched up 68 runs in an anchoring innings for his side having faced 135 balls in just over two hours out in the middle.

Tom Batters, who had returned for a second bowling spell in the latter part of the Kelburne innings, picked up a further two wickets in the final over when firstly Dougie Wylie was caught by Greg McDougall and then Ross McLean had his stumps knocked over.

Had this last two overs of the innings ‘carnage’ happened much earlier, Greenock might have been much better placed at tea, but as it was the Kelburne team enjoyed their mid-match break with a healthy 217 for 7 total on the scoreboard.

Tom Batters returned excellent bowling figures of 4 wickets for 25 runs from 10 overs. Ben Peterson picked up 2 wickets for 38 runs from 8 overs and Greg McDougall had 1 wicket for 48 from 10 overs.

Needing to make a good scoring start to their innings, Greenock opened with captain Shailesh Prabhu and in-form U17 Scottish international Neil Flack. However, in just the fifth over, the fateful finger of umpire Colin McLardie was raised when a delivery from Steven McLister hit Flack’s pads and he was given out LBW having made 9 runs with the score on 19.

This blow for the Glenparkers was compounded only three overs later when new batsman Dwight Thomas got a ball from change bowler Jamie McDonald which lifted off a length. The West Indian amateur was unable to alter his shot quickly enough and gave a simple catch to McLister having scored just two runs.

Shailesh Prabhu (17) gave Steven McLister, fielding at gully, his second catch of the afternoon when Jamie McDonald got another ball to lift and the Greenock skipper could only fend it off to give a straightforward, simple chance. 33 for 3 in the 10th over.

The loss of these three main batsmen in the Greenock line-up presented the Glenparkers with a major task with no real experienced batsmen to steady the innings in the way that Kelburne had managed with Sheikh and Hussain.

Jonathan Hempsey and Aidan Forrest provided a short period of some stability taking the score along from 33 to 52 in a partnership of eight overs, but when Hempsey was bowled by Scott Hamilton for 13 in the seventeenth over, a quite calamitous collapse ensued.

In the next three overs, Greenock lost a further five wickets adding just 14 more runs, all of which were scored by Ben Peterson coming in at number nine in the batting order and ‘having a go’ when all was in reality lost.

Due to an earlier injury Mark Crichton did not bat, and so, as the ninth wicket fell when Peterson was caught by McMillan off the bowling of Hamilton, Greenock’s innings ended with only 66 runs posted on the scoreboard. It was the end of a hugely disappointing match for the Glenpark side on an afternoon which in the first half an hour had looked so promising.

For Kelburne, Scott Hamilton took the bowling honours with 4 wickets for 18 runs from 4.4 overs. Jamie McDonald and former Greenock player Dougie Wylie also picked up two wickets each with Steven McLister the other wicket-taker.

A notable visitor to Glenpark on Saturday afternoon was the great West Indian test opening batsman Gordon Greenidge, pictured above with Tom Batters, who was professional with Greenock in 1990 and 1992. How Greenock could have done with his presence at the crease.