Greenock victorious at St Michael's

St Michael's vs Greenock 1st XI
WDCU CSL First Division
Saturday 8th August 2015

St Michael's 151 C Bowie 34; DK Walker 4 for 31, JPC Hempsey 3 for 26
Greenock 1st XI 152 for 6 TR Keep 57*, JPC Hempsey 32; C Brockwell 3 for 37


After two recent league losses which fatally ended their promotion hopes, Greenock got back into winning mode on Saturday when they travelled south to Dumfries and won by four wickets in their league match against Queensberry St Michael's. It was a good team performance and the result maintained the Glenpark side's fourth top position, while also narrowing the gap on Poloc, who are now just a few percentage points ahead in third place.

Greenock won the toss and inserted the home side on a wicket which looked docile but with the aim of quickly getting on top of a team occupying bottom spot in the league and perhaps lacking in confidence following a very heavy defeat in their previous game.

It was a tactic which seemed to be well justified when opening batsman Numan Butt was bowled by Darren Walker, in just the second over of play, without troubling the scorers. And when his opening partner Anthony Hulatt was bowled by Blake Taylor having scored just 9 runs in the fifth over, with the home team total on just 16, Greenock were looking well in command.

The introduction after ten overs of Trent Keep with his left arm spin, quickly paid dividend when Chris Brockwell (7) mis-timed a slow, looping delivery from the Aussie bowler and Sehmet Pandher at deep mid off made excellent ground to take a very fine catch. Worse followed in the very next over when Darren Walker had new batsman Adam Cooper (1) LBW with the score showing 40 runs for 4 wickets.

Indian professional Rohin Thapar, who had come in at number three in the Queensberry St Michael's batting order, was keeping the home score moving and when he was joined by Tom Holmes the two put on a fifth wicket partnership of 25 runs before Walker claimed his second LBW decision of the afternoon when Holmes (13) was trapped in front.

Thapar himself was then dismissed without any further runs being added when second change bowler, and captain of the Greenock side Jonathan Hempsey, had the Indian batsman caught by his brother Chris at short cover with just his fourth delivery. Thapar had made 23 runs.

At this point, Queensberry St Michael's were in considerable trouble on 65 for 6 wickets after 19 overs, and they slipped further into difficulty just two runs later, when new batsman Tanzeel Ur Rehman was clean bowled by Walker as he notched up his fourth wicket of the afternoon.

The Dumfries side then somehow got back into the game, as Greenock failed to drive home the advantage which they had built up with their fine early bowling and fielding performance. The home team's number seven batsman Heera Sharma and number nine batsman Connor Bowie put together an important partnership of 31 runs for the eighth wicket before Sharma was bowled by Neil Flack for 27.

Bowie and new batsman Michael Moss then put together the best partnership of the innings with 52 runs being compiled for the ninth wicket. It ended when Moss (9) was bowled by Jonathan Hempsey with the first ball of the final over of the innings, and, with just two balls remaining, home team hero Bowie (34) became the last man out when he went down the wicket, missed the ball and was stumped by Aidan Forrest.

So the Queensberry St Michael's innings ended 151 all out, which was perhaps seventy runs more than might have been the case if Greenock had fully driven home the advantage which they had built up in the first twenty five overs of the game.

Darren Walker was Greenock's most successful bowler with 4 wickets for 31 runs from 15 overs while Blake Taylor was most economical, bowling 10 overs for just 11 runs and claiming one wicket. Jonathan Hempsey had 3 wickets for 26 runs from 10.5 overs and Trent Keep and Neil Flack both had one wicket each.

After the tea interval, Indian professional Rohin Thapar led the home bowling attack along with Tanzeel Ur Rehman, but it was not until the fourteenth over that a breakthrough was achieved, and it was change bowler Chris Brockwell who claimed the opening wicket when he had Neil Flack (9) trapped LBW with Greenock on 34.

A further twenty seven runs were added before Jonathan Hempsey mis-timed a delivery from second change bowler Adam Cooper, and skied the ball to Connor Bowie who took the catch confidently to dismiss the Greenock captain for a fine 32 runs.

Tasmanian overseas amateur Trent Keep, who had come in at the fall of the first wicket, then took command of the Greenock Innings with a high class display of batting. He was rarely in any sort of difficulty and played numerous very fine shots, the pick of which was a magnificently timed on-drive which raced to the boundary for four runs.

Keep was assisted by Aidan Forrest (10), Chris Hempsey (11) and Sehmet Pandher (12) as the Glenpark side comfortably overtook the home side's total with the last ball of the forty first over of their innings. The Aussie batsman was not out 57.

For Queensberry St Michael's, Chris Brockwell returned bowling figures of 3 wickets for 37 runs from 15 overs, Rohin Thapar 2 for 40 from 10 overs and Adam Cooper 1 for 32 from 7 overs was the other wicket-taker.