Flack's bowling too much for St Michael's

St Michael's vs Greenock 1st XI
WDCU CSL First Division
Saturday 18th June 2016

St Michael's 75 C Brockwell 40*; ND Flack 8 for 22
Greenock 1st XI 79 for 2 DB Rootes 36*


Greenock made the long, 100 mile journey to Dumfries on Saturday and returned with maximum points to maintain their promotion credentials. The match was a very one-sided affair and concluded by just three o'clock, with St Michael's crushed by an eight wicket defeat at the hands of a very efficient Greenock team.

Jonathan Hempsey won the toss and immediately inserted the home side at their Kingholm ground which lies adjacent to the River Nith on the south side of Dumfries. Overseas amateur Ethan Lulham from Australia and former Scotland age group international Chris Brockwell headed the batting line-up for St Michael's, but got off to the worst possible start. With just the fourth ball of the game, and no runs on the board, Lulham edged an express delivery from Declan White and Phil McIntosh at second slip held on to take a very smart catch.

The early wicket brought St Michael's captain Tom Holmes out to the middle to join Brockwell, with the home team hopeful that both players' good individual form might continue. For around forty minutes that hope looked possible, as the two home batsmen dealt reasonably confidently with the Greenock bowling attack and the scoreboard gradually edged upwards.

However, the introduction into the attack of Neil Flack, in place of Declan White's express pace, possibly caused a drop in concentration by the two home batsmen and, in just Flack's second over, Holmes was trapped LBW for 6 with the total on 28 in the thirteenth over.

New batsman Kyle Jordan, lasted only four balls before being bowled to give Flack his second wicket of the afternoon. Thereafter it was a steady procession as each new St Michaels batsman strode to the crease only to be returned a few minutes later with little troubling of the scorers.

Numan Butt, hit a boundary off the first ball of Flack's third over and then promptly edged the next ball into wicketkeeper Chris Hempsey's gloves. Connor Bowie lasted almost a quarter of an hour for one run before being squared up by Flack and adjudged LBW. Then Chris Lumb became Flack's fifth victim of the afternoon when he was bowled having scored five runs with the total then on 48 for 6 in the 21st over of the innings.

With the home side well and truly 'on the ropes', Greenock skipper Jonathan Hempsey looked to land the knockout punch and re-introduced pace bowler Declan White to the bowling attack, and almost immediately Chris Foster had his stumps skittled as the Aussie bowler's pace was just too much and he was well beaten.

Meanwhile, as the carnage of the home side's batting was taking place, Chris Brockwell, who had opened the innings, was being left stranded as none of his team-mates showed any ability to stay with him and build a meaningful partnership. With seven wickets down and only 49 runs on the board, Brockwell decided that he might as well take a few chances and try and elevate his side's score.

He gained some success in the 27th and 28th overs, as he engineered nineteen runs when he took the initiative and scored three boundaries and also ran a three. But it was too little too late, as in the 29th over of play Flack brought the innings to a close with a first competitive hat-trick. With three consecutive deliveries, he bowled Heera Sharma for 2 runs, followed immediately by John Woodhouse and Connor Lynch, also both bowled.

St Michael's were all out for 75 with Neil Flack returning the astonishing figures of 8 wickets for just 22 runs from 9.5 overs. Declan White picked up the other two wickets to fall to finish with 2 wickets for 23 runs from 9 overs.

With only twenty nine overs played, there was no break for tea, and so, after a quick turn around, Greenock began their reply with Neil Flack and Phil McIntosh, the Glenparker's usual opening Saturday league partnership, heading the batting line-up.

Neither batsman really got going however, with McIntosh caught off a top edge in just the third over and Flack out for 12 from the third ball of the tenth over caught at point off the bowling of Brockwell.

At this point, Greenock were exactly half way to the score needed to win at 38 for the loss of two wickets. Damon Rootes, who had come in at first wicket down was joined by Chris Hempsey and the two batsmen, who had a very productive 96 run partnership the previous Saturday at Glenpark against West of Scotland, once again struck up a good understanding and quickly took Greenock to victory.

In just a further six overs, Rootes (36 not out) and Hempsey (26 not out) added 41 runs as the Glenparkers raced to their fifth consecutive league win in the WDCU Division One and further enhanced their push for promotion back to the Premier Division. With just one more game to go before the halfway point in the league season, Greenock are in second top position just one percent behind league leaders Poloc and over ten percent ahead of third placed side Irvine.

Next Saturday, Poloc travel to play Irvine, while Greenock are at home to second bottom Hillhead.