Darren Walker overwhelms Poloc

Greenock 1st XI vs Poloc
WDCU CSL First Division
Saturday 23rd May 2015

Greenock 1st XI 144 DK Walker 46; N Bredenkamp 3 for 4, A Akbar 3 for 54
Poloc 76 DK Walker 5 for 31, JPC Hempsey 3 for 15


Greenock gained a second league win at Glenpark on Saturday when Glasgow side, Poloc, were beaten by 68 runs in what, in the end, was a quite emphatic victory. Yet it had been a quite different picture earlier in the afternoon when it had looked like Poloc were going to overwhelm the local side. How quickly the pendulum can swing in the game of cricket.

Greenock were inserted by Poloc, following the toss by the two captains prior to the start of the match, and it was the home side who made the better start. Shailesh Prabhu and Neil Flack made a very positive start to the innings and, with just nine overs completed, the openers had posted 56 runs on to the scoreboard.

But then came a dramatic change in the match as firstly Prabhu was bowled by Azbar for 28 and then, with no further runs added, firstly Flack was run out for 14 and then number three batsman Ty Gilmore was bowled by Poloc's South African professional Niel Bredenkamp without scoring. 57 for 3.

And if that was not bad enough for Greenock, worse was still to come. Jonathan Hempsey was given out caught behind in dubious circumstances, also without scoring, and Blake Taylor was adjudged LBW for just one run. 58 for 5.

And still the carnage was not over. Rod Mountford and Aidan Forrest held out for a few overs but then Forrest was LBW to Bredenkamp for 5 and Mountford bowled by Adrees without scoring. 66 for 7 and only twenty two overs of the fifty over innings completed.

Then with Poloc in almost complete control of the match, slowly the pendulum swung back in Greenock's favour. Firstly Greg McDougall and Darren Walker put together a twenty run partnership which ended with McDougall (9) caught by Shuja off the bowling of Akbar and then an innings saving partnership between Walker and 15 year old Louis Ware brought Greenock back into the game.

The former Australian professional cricketer cleverly dictated play for the last fifteen overs of the innings and was very ably supported by his young batting partner. Fifty three vital runs were added in the partnership as Walker turned back the years and demonstrated he had lost none of his competitiveness and determination with an innings of 46 runs which ended in the second last over when he was bowled by Aslam. Louis Ware showed a real maturity of performance by remaining with Walker for thirteen overs and was unbeaten on 12 at the close of the innings, as Greenock reached 144 all out with the last ball of the forty ninth over.

Azeem Akbar with 3 wickets for 54 runs from 15 overs and Niel Bredenkamp with 3 wickets for just 4 runs from 10 overs were Poloc's top bowling performers.

When play resumed after the tea interval, batting hero Walker, fired up by a lot of 'sledging' from a number of Poloc players while he had been at the crease, was soon making the visitors eat their words and wishing that they had kept quiet. In just the second over of the 'Loc innings, Walker, bowled a double wicket maiden to send shock waves through the visitors dressing room as firstly Shah was LBW for 0, then in-form Craig Young was bowled first ball. Two wickets down and zero runs on the scoreboard. The best possible start for Greenock and confusion for high flying, unbeaten Poloc.

Despite this dramatic start, Greenock knew that the key to a winning result would almost certainly depend on quickly removing the two players who now occupied the crease. Overseas amateur Chris Graham and Professional Niel Bredenkamp, both from South Africa, have been the mainstays of Poloc's batting in almost all of the matches which the Glasgow side has played this season.

And it was Walker who once again came good to deliver wicket number three in the eighth over when he trapped Graham (4) LBW. 11 for 3 after 8 overs.

Opening bowler Blake Taylor then got in on the act by clean bowling Aslam (4) and quite soon after Walker gained his third LBW decision when Millen (1) was returned to the dressing room to leave Poloc struggling on 23 runs for 5 wickets.

Key player Niel Bredenkamp was looking dangerous for 'Loc and had accumulated 18 runs to his name when he edged a delivery from Greenock pace bowler Blake Taylor to wicket-keeper Aidan Forrest who took a good catch.

Greenock were now smelling victory and change bowler Jonathan Hempsey kept up the pressure on the visitors as he had Elliott Rousen (8) caught by Shailesh Prabhu with the last ball of the fifteenth over.

Darren Walker then picked up his fifth wicket of the afternoon when he clean bowled Imran Adrees (2) to complete his (almost) one man demolition of a now dispirited Poloc side. And then the rout was completed by Hempsey, who firstly had Malik caught in the covers by Sam Sanghera, and then trapped Akbar LBW for 3. Abid Shuja was top scorer for the visitors with 23 not out.

In just 20.3 overs the Glasgow south-siders had been changed from a confident, lively side to a team all out for just 76 runs and quite bewildered by the events which had unfolded firstly towards the end of the Greenock innings, and then as their own batting was taken apart after the tea interval.

With 46 invaluable runs and 5 wickets for 31 runs from 10 overs there was no doubt that Darren Walker was 'Man of the Match'. Jonathan Hempsey picked up 3 wickets for 15 runs and Blake Taylor 2 for 28.

The pendulum of play had made its way all the way back to Greenock and a fine second league win was the reward for the Glenparkers.