Greenock's batting collapses against Poloc

Poloc vs Greenock 1st XI
WDCU CSL First Division
Saturday 25th July 2015

Poloc 96 JPC Hempsey 4 for 22
Greenock 1st XI 57 TR Keep 38, N Bredenkamp 3 for 0, I Adrees 3 for 10


Any hopes which Greenock were clinging on to for promotion to the Premier Division in the West District were all but extinguished after losing to Poloc at Shawholm, Glasgow on Saturday.

The well worn phrase, 'a game of two halves', could definitely be used to describe Saturday's encounter with Poloc. In the first 'half' Greenock were outstanding, and bowled and fielded probably the best that they have all season. But in the second 'half', their batting display was quite simply woeful.

Poloc were first to bat, and Greenock's opening pace attack of Australian overseas amateur Blake Taylor and 15 year old Louis Ware, capped this year to play in his age group for Scotland, soon had the Glasgow side wobbling at 14 runs for 2 wickets with both opening batsmen bowled.

Under-19 Scottish cap Owais Shah was first out bowled by Taylor for 5 and he was quickly followed by South African Chris Graham bowled by Ware for 6. The fall of these wickets brought Craig Young and South African pro Niel Bredenkamp together to form an important partnership that Greenock knew needed to be broken quickly.

Bredenkamp has been Poloc's top scorer this season with over 350 runs to his name in just seven league matches with two centuries to his credit while Young has been a player who has also contributed important runs for the Glasgow southsiders.

Just fifteen runs into the partnership and Aussie pace bowler Taylor captured the prize wicket of Bredenkamp when Neil Flack took a fine catch to dismiss the South African danger man for just 9 runs.

Twenty nine runs for the loss of three wickets was a very unfamiliar situation for Poloc to find themselves in this season as they have been riding high with recent trophy wins in both the West League Cup and also the Rowan Cup as well as having been winning most of their league matches.

Greenock continued to keep the Shawholm side under pressure due to some fine bowling and fielding and a fourth wicket was picked up when Aslam edged a delivery from Jonathan Hempsey through to wicketkeeper Aidan Forrest to be dismissed for just nine runs. A further wicket went down a few minutes later when James Millen became Hempsey's second scalp when he presented Rod Mountford with a catch, having failed to make a contribution to his side's total.

The home team's 57 for 5 soon became 76 for 7 as firstly Hempsey picked up his third wicket of the innings when Imran Adrees (5) was caught by Ty Gilmore and then Young (23) was run out by a smart piece of fielding by Trent Keep.

Poloc were now just trying to survive and bat through the remaining overs of their innings to add whatever runs they could to boost their team total. And Paul Flanagan and Ihtisham Malik managed to do just that for a number of overs adding fifteen valuable runs until Trent Keep took a magnificent one-handed catch at deepish mid off as he was running backwards to dismiss Malik (7) from the bowling of Hempsey.

The last two wickets of Zaker and Flanagan added only a further five runs as Poloc were all out for 96. Zaker was run out by a fine piece of fielding and sharp throw from Blake Taylor while Flanagan was last man out caught by Rod Mountford off the bowling of Neil Flack.

Jonathan Hempsey was the pick of the Greenock bowlers with 4 wickets for 22 runs from 14 overs, with Blake Taylor picking up 2 for 32 from 8 overs and Louis Ware and Neil Flack each getting one wicket apiece.

Ninety seven runs to win from fifty available overs seemed a total which Greenock should have comfortably chased down but Poloc were not finished in this game, not by a long way and the fifth ball of the Greenock innings presented a portent of what was to follow when Ithisham Malik's pace found the edge of Aidan Forrest's bat and he was caught by wicketkeeper Paul Flanagan.

Jonathan Hempsey and Trent Keep then had runs flowing with three boundaries and a couple of easily run twos, and appeared in confident form. But Akbar got a ball to nip back and Hempsey found his stumps shattered having contributed nine runs to Greenock's total of 20 for 2.

Neil Flack joined Trent Keep and these two seemed at ease with the Poloc bowling and had added fifteen runs when Flack was adjudged by umpire Colin McLardie to have been caught behind off one of his gloves. It was a crucial decision which, had it not been made, may have altered the outcome of the match. But it was, and Flack was returned to the pavilion.

Then Greg McDougall went down with a serious leg injury as a quick single was aborted, and in attempting to run him out, a Poloc fielder threw wildly at the stumps, missed and the ball flew across the square. In many occasions umpires would call 'dead ball' at this point, but McDougall got no such decision and as he lay on the ground about a third of the way down the wicket unable to get up, another Poloc player retrieved the ball and lobbed it in to the end McDougall would have been going to and had him run out. 36 runs for 4 wickets.

From that point on, Greenock's batting quite simply fell apart. Louis Ware smashed a full toss from Hasseeb Zakar to Millen at deep mid off,. Then Ty Gilmore was given out LBW to Bredenkamp, without the opportunity to ask for a TV replay, when the ball may have been rising over the top of his stumps.

Only Trent Keep was batting well and he was nudging the score along quite nicely but needing someone to stay with him. But no one could, and Rod Mountford became wicket number seven when he went after a ball from Imran Adrees and lofted it straight to Zakar.

Keep (38) then lost his own wicket in bizarre fashion when he tried to pull a ball from Bredenkamp but it lifted awkwardly off the pitch, caught the back of his bat, and flew gently to Adrees at short third man. Total 57 for 8.

No further runs were scored as the last two wickets of Taylor and Prabhu were captured by Poloc to give them a win by 39 runs. It was a result which had possibly seemed unlikely a couple of hours earlier but once again Greenock's frailty with the bat was exposed.

Imran Adrees took 3 wickets for just 10 runs, but the star performer was South African pro Niel Bredenkamp who returned the remarkable figures of 3 wickets for nil runs from 5 overs.