Greenock's batting lets them down again

Greenock 1st XI vs Poloc
WDCU CSL First Division
Saturday 28th June 2014

Greenock 1st XI 157 GJ McDougall 37, GR Crichton 36*; M Nofal 3 for 22, I Malik 3 for 30, H Zaker 3 for 42
Poloc 161 for 5 M Nofal 85*


Greenock are still searching for their second league win of the season after going down to Poloc by five wickets at Glenpark on Saturday afternoon. The Glasgow south side team gained a comfortable win thanks mainly to a fine all round performance from South African Malcolm Nofal who took 3 wickets for 22 runs and then scored 85 not out as his side easily overtook the target of 158 to win the match.

Having won the toss, Greenock captain Shailesh Prabhu opted to bat on what was a warm and sunny afternoon, and with the aim of setting a very challenging total for the visitors to chase. The plan quickly came unstuck, however, as in-form opening bat Neil Flack, fresh from an outstanding century against Stirling County last weekend, was out for a ‘duck’ after just four balls faced.

Prabhu and St Lucian amateur Dwight Thomas briefly got the innings moving by taking the score to 30 in the tenth over before the Greenock skipper was bowled by Intisham Malik for 14.

What took place in the next half an hour was, at least to Greenock cricket supporters, very probably the sorts of feelings experienced by some people watching a horror movie. From 30 for the loss of 2 wickets after 10 overs, Greenock collapsed to 48 for 7 in the 20th over. A repeat of the disastrous innings of 66 all out against Kelburne, from just a couple of weeks ago, looked very possible.

But, out to the middle strode six foot tall, Louis Ware, Greenock’s very talented 14 year old cricketer who is very quickly gaining a name for himself with West district and national age group selectors. He smashed a quickfire 21 runs from just fourteen balls faced and gave the Glenpark side some renewed confidence against the Poloc bowling attack.

When Ware was dismissed caught by Millen off the bowling of South African Malcolm Nofal, the score was still only 70 and Greenock were eight wickets down, but the youngster’s aggressive and positive approach seemed to transfer on to Greg McDougall and Guy Crichton who, over by over, grew in confidence and hoisted the Greenock total firstly to 100 runs on the board in the 31st over and then to 150 in the 41st over.

Greg McDougall led the fightback

This ninth wicket partnership, which yielded 85 invaluable runs, was eventually broken in the 42nd over when McDougall (37) was bowled with the score on 155 by opening bowler Intisham Malik who had returned for a second spell.

There was to be no lengthy last wicket partnership however, as number eleven batsman, Sam Sanghera, was bowled by Euan Sheridan just two runs later, leaving Greenock’s number ten batsman Guy Crichton, pictured below, unbeaten with 36 runs to his name.

The innings total of 157, while significantly below what Greenock would have wished to score, was nevertheless a decent achievement from a position of near hopelessness at the end of the twenty fourth over when eight wickets were down and only 70 runs were on the scoreboard.

For Poloc, Malcolm Nofal with 3 wickets for 22 runs from 10 overs had the best stats, while two other bowlers Intisham Malik and Hasseeb Zaker also got three wickets apiece.

The south-siders reply was from the very first over always well ahead of the necessary run rate. However some relatively early wickets did give Greenock some hope that perhaps the Poloc line-up might be brittle and further wickets might be captured. Firstly, opener Syed Aslam was caught by Aidan Forrest from Jonathan Hempsey’s bowling for 15 runs in the fifth over and then his top order partner Owais Shah was given out LBW to Dwight Thomas having scored 10 runs. Poloc skipper Craig Young was Greenock’s third wicket with the score on 55 when he was caught for just 5 runs off the bowling of Louis Ware.

South African, Malcolm Nofal, proved an altogether different proposition as he completely dominated the innings for Poloc. He scored 85 not out from only 82 balls which included twelve ‘fours’ and one ‘six’, and with James Millen, he put on a partnership of 85 runs in just fifteen overs. Millen was caught, with the Poloc score on 140, by Shailesh Prabhu from the bowling of Ben Peterson having contributed 24 runs to his team’s score.

The few remaining runs did not take long to be scored, but Greenock did manage to pick up a fifth wicket when Ben Peterson trapped Euan Sheridan LBW for 5.

The Glenparkers, who were missing opening pace bowler Tom Batters from their line-up, used six bowlers during the Poloc innings with Ben Peterson 2 wickets for 22 runs from five overs the top wicket-taker. Jonathan Hempsey, Louis Ware and Dwight Thomas each picked up one wicket.

Saturday’s match with Poloc marked the halfway point in this summer’s league fixtures. With just one win secured so far, Greenock must look for improvement in the second half of the league campaign and pick up a number of wins in order to climb the table. The good form of a number of the younger members of the first team squad has provided some encouragement to the Greenock support and in the weeks ahead, the more senior players need to find form themselves in order to make the team a force to be reckoned with in the last seven matches of the league competition.