Greenock secure fighting win over West

Greenock 1st XI vs West of Scotland
WDCU CSL First Division
Saturday 11th June 2016

West of Scotland 189 for 9 IDK Young 65; ND Flack 5 for 50
Greenock 1st XI 191 for 7 DB Rootes 81; G Smith 4 for 28


Greenock consolidated second place in the WDCU Division One table with a fine three wicket win over promotion rivals West of Scotland at Glenpark on Saturday afternoon. The locals kept up their weekend winning ways thanks to another good all round team performance, but with Neil Flack 5 wickets for 50 runs and Damon Rootes 81, the outstanding contributors with ball and bat.

This was a hugely important win for Greenock. Not only has it opened up a gap at the top of the table between Greenock in second spot and Irvine and Stirling County (now joint third), but it has maintained the match-winning momentum which creates confidence within the team.

The warm sunshine of recent weeks was gone but there was still a very sizeable number of spectators who came along to Glenpark to enjoy Saturday's clash between two of Scotland's oldest established clubs.

West won the toss and elected to bat with Cammy Gibb and Gregg Watson at the top of the order. Watson was dismissed with the second ball of the sixth over when he failed to properly get hold of a delivery from Phil McIntosh and was easily caught by Louis Ware at mid off for 7 runs.

Gibb and Aussie overseas amateur Brock McLachlan then struck up a good partnership worth 32 runs which was looking very sound until McLachlan (10) edged a leg-side ball from Greenock captain Jonathan Hempsey and was quite brilliantly caught one-handed at full stretch by wicketkeeper Chris Hempsey diving to his left.

West then lost opener Gibb for 16, lbw to Neil Flack, and Lucas Farndale caught and bowled by Flack with the addition of just another twelve runs, to leave the visitors precariously perched on 57 for the loss of 4 wickets in the 19th over.

However, just as it looked as though Greenock might be gaining the upper hand, the experienced Ian Young and his batting partner Jatinder Singh, slowly but surely fought back as the visitors showed a determination to take back the initiative. Young, in particular, took charge and cleverly ensured that he faced the majority of the balls as the partnership prospered.

Young survived being dropped close to the boundary when on just 14, but took his good fortune and displayed numerous classy shots in the partnership of 77 runs which ended when Singh (25) was clean bowled by Declan White, who had just returned for a second spell. 134 for 5 after 39 overs.

New batsman Miro Ralston took up where Singh had left off and provided the perfect batting partner for Young as the two continued to drive the West total forward in the last part of the visitors' innings. However, Young was out for an excellent 65 just as the two were looking to accelerate. And it took a magnificent catch by Sehmat Pandher to do it. Young took on slow bowler Neil Flack and sent a towering shot towards the top corner boundary at the Fox Street end only for Pandher to make a brilliant running catch.

In the remaining six overs, West added a further thirty two runs but lost the wickets of Ralston (27), David McNulty (7) and Andrew Galloway (3) to finish their innings on 189 for 9 after their 50 overs.

Neil Flack with 5 wickets for 50 runs was Greenock's top bowler. Declan White maintained his fine bowling form with 2 for 31 from his 10 overs, with Phil McIntosh 1 for 38 from 10 overs and Jonathan Hempsey 1 for 28 from 9 overs, the other wicket-takers.

With the forecast suggesting rain on the way, Greenock recognised the need to ensure that their run rate was kept up in case the Duckworth-Lewis (D/L) system was required if the match was cut short. Neil Flack and Phil McIntosh got the innings off to a brisk start with McIntosh, in particular, showing an early inclination to take on the visitors' pace bowling attack. But his aggressive style, which had dispatched the ball to the boundary on three occasions, was overcome by a full pitched, very pacey delivery from Gavin Smith which hit the timbers. McIntosh had scored 14.

Smith gained a second wicket with the score on 34 when he got Flack (14) to edge a ball which was well caught at first slip by Lucas Farndale.

But just as in the West innings, a high scoring partnership put Greenock back on track towards the required total to win the match. In-form Aussie overseas player Damon Rootes and Chris Hempsey took charge out in the middle and the runs mounted and important 'mileposts' were passed. The fifty partnership was posted in the 19th over and the home total reached 100 in the 24th over.

However just as the century partnership came into sight, opening bowler Smith, who had returned for a second spell, made the breakthrough for West by bowling Chris Hempsey for 29. The partnership had added 96 very valuable runs for Greenock.

As often happens in cricket after a lengthy partnership, one wicket quickly brings another and so it was here as in-form Louis Ware was beaten first ball by the pace of Smith who picked up his, and his team's, fourth wicket. 130 for 4 after 29 overs.

Shailesh Prabhu gave a straightforward catch to wicketkeeper Young to make it 141 for 5 but Damon Rootes continued to be in commanding form for Greenock as the West total was run down and he displayed an array of fine shots, when the bowling allowed, and a robust defence against the better balls.

Rootes did finally succumb when he tried to hit Brock McLachlan to the Fox Street boundary only to mis-time his shot and was caught by the bowler himself. He scored a very fine 81 runs, in what was a match-winning innings, and which included fourteen boundaries. Greenock were in sight of victory at 167 for 6 but work still needed to be done.

Sehmat Pandher, scorer of 60 runs against Renfrew last week, came in at number 7 in the batting order and produced another useful innings of 19 runs before giving a sharp return catch to Lucas Farndale. Now the Glenparkers were in touching distance on 177 for 7 from 40 overs.

Greenock captain Jonathan Hempsey joined Declan White with home supporters eager to see the remaining thirteen runs on the board. Hempsey duly scored all of the runs required and the win was secured in 42nd over of the innings.

For West, Gavin Smith returned excellent bowling figures of 4 wickets for 28 runs from his 10 overs, with McNulty, Farndale and McLachlan each picking up one wicket each.

So Greenock's fine weekend form was maintained with this excellent win over West of Scotland and their challenge for promotion at the top of the WDCU Divison One received an important boost.


Saturday's match against West of Scotland was kindly sponsored by ACT Construction (UK) Ltd.