Missed chances cost Greenock dear

Greenock 1st XI vs Kilmarnock
WDCU CSL First Division
Saturday 9th May 2015

Kilmarnock 234 F Jawad 104, M Azeem 43; LPJ Ware 3 for 34
Greenock 1st XI 185 BM Taylor 65, RP Mountford 48; N Ali 3 for 27, M Ahmed 3 for32


Greeenock lost their second successive league match on Saturday when the team went down by forty nine runs to Kilmarnock at Glenpark. The visitors put together the useful total of 234 all out and in reply the locals could only manage 185 before their last wicket fell with four overs remaining.

It was another afternoon of 'what might have beens' for the Glenpark side as opponents Kilmarnock relied heavily on their two top order batsmen for most of their run scoring. In particular, it was Fazal Jawad who inflicted most of the damage, with a very fine 104, but Greenock will look back and rue a number of missed chances offered by Jawad which might have changed the outcome of the match very significantly.

Kilmarnock batted first at Glenpark on Saturday afternoon with conditions once again pleasant for cricket with plenty of sunshine and no rain forecast for the duration of play.

The Ayrshire side made a positive start to their innings putting on 64 runs with no loss of wickets from the first ten overs of play. However, Greenock did make a breakthrough in the thirteenth over when first change bowler Phil McIntosh hit the stumps and clean bowled M Azeem for 43 with the score on 76.

Six overs later, Greenock's young 15 year old pace bowler Louis Ware had M Ahmed smartly caught by Blake Taylor for 19 runs. But in those six overs, the partnership between Jawad and Ahmed had put on 53 runs as Kilmarnock scored swiftly from the Greenock bowling attack. And the onslaught continued as Jawad let loose with boundary after boundary until with the score on 186 in the twenty seventh over he finally perished when Rod Mountford took a good catch off Ware's bowling to dismiss the opener for a very fine 104 runs.

Thereafter, the visitors struggled to get any rhythm going in their batting and wickets tumbled very regularly as the Glenparkers fought to get back into the game. Where at one point with Jawad in full cry, a total in excess of 300 runs had seemed a possibility, Greenock clawed the game back and did extremely well to curtail the visitors' innings total to 234 runs when all out in the forty first over.

Six of Greenock's bowlers picked up at least one wicket, with young Louis Ware the most successful with 3 wickets for 34 runs from 6 overs bowled.

Not for the first time in recent years in competitive cricket, Greenock failed to make a good start to their innings. By the end of the sixth over, both of the home opening batsmen were back in the dressing room and Greenock were 25 for 2. First to fall was Neil Flack (2), caught by Jawad off the bowling of Niamat Ali in the fifth over and then in the following over Shailesh Prabhu (14) was run out.

Worse was to follow as three further wickets fell as the Glenparkers tumbled to 56 for 5 in just the fifteenth over. Ty Gilmore was caught and bowled by Ali for 20, Aidan Forrest was caught by Dar off the bowling of Zubair Pasha for 6 runs and Jonathan Hempsey was bowled by Ali for 3. The Greenock side was in a parlous position.

A very fine sixth wicket partnership of 121 runs from Australian amateur Blake Taylor and his countryman, Rod Mountford, signalled a fightback from Greenock. However, Mountford's dismissal for 48, bowled by Ahmed, in the forty fourth over with the score on 177 signalled the end of the home side's battle for victory.

A run rate in excess of 8 runs per over from the last six overs proved too much for the Glenpark lower order and Phil McIntosh and Greg McDougall both perished in quick succession as they sought to score quickly. Then, when Blake Taylor was caught by Ali for 65 from the bowling of Azeem with only five runs added since the loss of his sixth wicket partner Mountford, the match was all but finshed. And the end came swiftly when last man Sam Sanghera (3) was bowled by Ahmed leaving Greenock 49 runs short with almost five overs remaining.

From 177 for five wickets with six overs to go, Greenock collapsed to 185 all out in the space of just twelve balls.

Ali 3 wickets for 27 runs from 12 overs and Ahmed 3 wickets for 32 runs from 10.2 overs were Kilmarnock's top wicket-takers.

Next week's encounter at Glenpark against Glasgow Accies takes on extra significance as even this early in the season, this will be a game that must be won, given that Accies have also lost their first two games.