Greenock beaten by Stenhousemuir again

Stenhousemuir vs Greenock 1st XI
WDCU CSL First Division
Saturday 22nd August 2015

Stenhousemuir 150 A Davidar 76; BM Taylor 4 for 42, DK Walker 3 for 24
Greenock 1st XI 93 ND Flack 35; A Shahzad 5 for 21



Greenock made the trip through to Larbert on Saturday to meet league leaders Stenhousemuir and, not for the first time in recent seasons, returned empty handed. And yet it could, and perhaps should, have been different. But the Glenparkers just do not seem to know how to win against the Stirlingshire side.

Put into bat by Greenock captain Shailesh Prabhu, Stenhousemuir were soon one wicket down when Akash Rawal (2) was well caught in the gully by Jonathan Hempsey off the bowling of pace opener Blake Taylor, early in the fifth over of play with the score on thirteen runs.

One of Stenhousemuir's 'danger men' Amir Shahzad strode out to the wicket but did not last long as Darren Walker had him trapped LBW in the tenth over for just nine runs with the total on 38.

It was then the turn of South African professional Rushdie Jappie to join Indian opener Ashikanth Davidar but a slack shot and a fine catch by Shailesh Prabhu off the bowling of Darren Walker sent Jappie (2) on the return walk to the clubhouse.

Next up was Yasir Arfat (2), but he too failed to come good for his team and early in the eighteenth over had his stumps knocked back by a ball from Darren Walker.

The dismissal of Arfat meant that the three normally danger men of the 'Muir side were gone with only sixty runs on the board and four wickets down and so Greenock must have reckoned that they were well in the game. But opening bat Davidar was still at the crease and looking comfortable and while he was there, danger lurked for the local side.

Adam Crosthwaite joined Davidar and they put on thirty one runs for the fifth wicket before Crosthwaite was caught by Blake Taylor off the bowling of Jonathan Hempsey for fourteen runs. Then 'Muir captain Ian McDonald joined the opener and a partnership of a further thirty runs were added before Louis Ware had McDonald caught behind the wicket by Aidan Forrest for twelve runs with the score having moved along to 121 for 6 wickets.

Stenhousemuir's final partnership of any value then added twenty two runs between Davidar and Scott Young before the latter was run out with a piece of sharp fielding by Neil Flack.

Ross Jones and Chris Halcrow both then had very short stays at the crease before Davidar, who had batted through the innings was last man out caught by Darren Walker from the bowling of Blake Taylor for an excellent seventy six runs with the innings closed on exactly 150 all out.

Greenock will look back on what may have been the defining moment of the match when, very early in the Stenhousemuir innings, Davidar was 'caught' at point by Rod Mountford, but with the batsman walking off, the umpire, to the bewilderment of all, called him back stating he was not out, as in his opinion, it was a bump ball.

Blake Taylor returned bowling figures of 4 wickets for 42 runs from 9.1 overs and Darren Walker 3 for 24 from 11 overs.

Needing to overtake Stenhousemuir's total of one hundred and fifty runs to win from the fifty overs available, Greenock were in a decent position at the tea interval. However the early losses of Jonathan Hempsey, Trent Keep and Aidan Forrest left the Glenparkers on 31 for 3 after just ten overs.

The loss of key batsman Keep was particularly important as the Aussie had been high scoring in his innings since his arrival in late June. His dismissal, as might have been expected, came from a brilliant low, one handed diving catch at slip by South African professional Rushdie Jappie. It was very probably the innings changing moment for Greenock.

Chris Hempsey joined opener Neil Flack after Forrest's wicket went down and the two batsmen put on twenty eight runs before Hempsey was bowled by Amir Shahzad for twelve runs. Then Flack was bowled by Shahzad for 35 to leave Greenock struggling on 62 for 5.

Louis Ware, fresh from his maiden fifty last weekend, was needlessly run out just five runs later as Greenock continued to implode. And a seventh wicket was lost when Taylor became a second run out victim with the total only on 73.

Two of Greenock's most experienced players Shailesh Prabhu and Darren Walker then settled in to try and salvage the innings but having taken the total to ninety three, Prabhu (14) perished when he was caught by Jappie off the bowling of 'Muir captain McDonald. And the end came quickly as Greenock's last two wickets failed to add any further runs. Walker (12) was last man out when he was LBW to Shahzad giving the home side bowler his fifth wicket of the afternoon.

It was a very disappointing conclusion to what had earlier been a quite encouraging performance in the field for Greenock. But looking on a positive note.....with Stenhousemuir clinching the league title and with it promotion to the Premier Division for 2016 with their win on Saturday, Greenock will not have to play their bogey team next year !