1st XI start league campaign in style

Weirs vs Greenock 1st XI
WDCU CSL First Division
Saturday 17th May 2014

Greenock 1st XI 221 for 8 ND Flack 67, TW Batters 37; H Anwar 3 for 46, S Afzal 3 for 53
Weirs 155 for 8 H Anwar 45, M Akram 41*, C Smith 40; DK Thomas 4 for 17


Weirs set a revised total of 226 to win by the Duckworth-Lewis method.

Greenock gained an important win against Weirs at Albert Park, Glasgow on Saturday on the opening weekend of the WDCU League programme. Despite rain around most of the west of Scotland, the game was played to a conclusion with just one lengthy stoppage interrupting play during the afternoon.

Weirs won the toss and not unsurprisingly asked Greenock to bat on a wicket which just two days earlier had been unplayable due to the amount of rainfall which had fallen at the Glasgow south side ground. However, it was the Glenparkers who made a good start to the match on a wicket which had firmed up well thanks to the glorious weather on Friday.

Shailesh Prabhu and Neil Flack opened the Greenock innings and after just nine overs had put forty nine runs on to the scoreboard. The partnership was broken when Prabhu was trapped LBW for 19 by change bowler Sherali Afzal with the first ball of the tenth over.

Dwight Thomas, Greenock’s St Lucian overseas amateur joined Flack and they added a swift thirty runs before Thomas was dismissed for 21 having been well caught by Ali Masoom off the bowling of Afzal with the score on 79 in the fourteenth over.

An hour long rain interruption held up the game just three overs later with Greenock on 90 for the loss of two wickets, but that position changed with the very first ball after the restart when Mark Crichton was bowled by Afzal.

Greenock quickly got back into the game after this third wicket loss with what turned out to be the game’s biggest partnership. U17 International Neil Flack, who was batting well, was joined by Australian Tom Batters and the two added a quickfire 76 runs to propel Greenock to 166 in the 28th over before Flack departed having scored a very fine 67 runs. He was out caught by Akram off the bowling of opening bowler Usman Sarfraz who had returned to the home side’s bowling attack for a second spell.

Neil Flack maintains his strong start to the season

Batters became Weirs fifth wicket when he edged a ball from Akram and was caught by wicketkeeper David McCaig in the 34th over. The Aussie had made 37 and the Glenparkers were on 185 with just eight overs of the rain reduced innings still to be bowled.

Harry Briggs, another of Greenock’s bright young teenage prospects, and Greg McDougall continued to push the Greenock score along at a good pace until the 40th over when Weirs gained a double wicket breakthrough when firstly Briggs was bowled by Hafeez Anwar for 21, and then new batsman Dave Sharma gave Anwar a return catch having scored 4 runs in a brief stay out in the middle.

Seeking to score as quickly as possible in the last two overs, Greenock managed to add a further ten runs losing one more wicket and with Greg McDougall remaining unbeaten on 19 as the innings closed on 221 for 8 at the end of 42 overs.

Anwar with 3 for 46 and Afzal with 3 for 53 were Weirs’ top wicket-takers.

When Weirs’ innings got under way, an early breakthrough in just the fourth over got Greenock off to the best possible start, when home team’ captain David McCaig (2) was trapped LBW by opening bowler Dave Sharma. A very useful 76 run partnership then ensued between Hafeez Anwar and Chris Smith taking the Glasgow side to 81 for the loss of just one wicket after 17 overs.

However, the eighteenth over of the Weirs’ innings proved to be the game-changer. It was bowled by off spinner Dwight Thomas, pictured right, and on the fourth ball of the over, Anwar became Weirs’ second LBW casualty having scored a fine 45. Fifth ball of the over new batsman Derek Wright was bowled by Thomas and sixth ball Ali Massoom was immediately returned to the dressing room, also bowled without scoring, and giving the St Lucian overseas amateur his hat-trick.

In the space of three balls Weirs had plunged from 81 for the loss of just one wicket to 81 for 4.

Mohammad Akram coming in at number six in the batting line-up helped steady Weirs but when Chris Smith became Thomas’ fourth wicket, bowled for 40, the Glasgow side were all but beaten at 100 for 5.

Akram played well and accumulated 41 not out by the end of the match reduced 42 overs per side but got little support from the remaining batsmen as his side slipped further and further behind the necessary run rate. At the finish, Weirs had managed 155 for the loss of 8 wickets giving Greenock victory by a margin of 71 runs, as Weirs had been set 226 as their target by the Duckworth /Lewis system due to the rain interruption in the Glenparkers innings and the then reduced overs game.

Dwight Thomas finished with 4 wickets for 17 from 6 overs and Sam Santhosh picked up two late wickets for 14 runs from 4 overs. Other wicket-takers were Dave Sharma 1 for 35 from 7 overs and Mark Crichton 1 for 17 from 5 overs.

So, despite what might have been considered a less than full side which Greenock fielded against Weirs due to availability issues, a fine opening league win was achieved.