Greenock in reach of promotion after win over West

West of Scotland vs Greenock 1st XI
WDCU CSL First Division
Saturday 13th August 2016

West of Scotland 102 for 6 M Ralston 30*
Greenock 1st XI 103 for 3 ND Flack 51*, CJK Hempsey 36*; D McNulty 3 for 16


Greenock took a huge step towards promotion to the WDCU CSL Premier Division when they defeated their nearest challengers, West of Scotland, by 7 wickets in a rain-affected game at Hamilton Crescent , Glasgow on Saturday afternoon.

The heavy rainfall of Friday, caused a delayed start to the match as the umpires deemed that parts of the ground were not sufficiently fit for play at the scheduled 12noon start time. However, after groundstaff worked hard to improve conditions, the match eventually got under way at 3pm but with each side reduced to just 32 overs to bat instead of the normal 50 overs.

Greenock skipper Jonathan Hempsey won the toss, inserted West, and with just the fourth ball of his first over trapped Cammy Gibb LBW to give the Glenpark side a great start to the match.

Ian Young joined opener Gregg Watson and the two batsmen took the score along quite confidently to 27 in the ninth over at which point Watson played a decent shot towards mid off and decided to try and take a quick single . The decision was fatal, as Declan White made a clean, quick pick up and hit the stumps directly with his throw and ran out Watson who had scored 10 runs.

West's overseas player Brock McLachlan did not last long when he replaced Watson out on the middle. Just six runs had been added to the West score when the Australian amateur was adjudged to be LBW to Neil Flack. And worse followed just one run later when Jonathan Fearn tried to pull a delivery from Greg McDougall only to find the safe hands of Damon Rootes at mid wicket.

Greenock captured a fifth wicket when Neil Flack had Ian Young LBW in the sixteenth over and West were in a spot of bother five down with just 38 runs on the board. But from this difficult position, Miro Ralston and James Fennah engineered an excellent fightback, adding thirty five runs in a twelve over period before Fennah was run out for 18.

Ralston and teenager Lucas Farndale continued the good work of the previous partnership and by the close of the host's innings had pushed West's score up to 102. Ralston was not out 30 and Farndale not out 18. Neil Flack with 2 wickets for 25 runs was the Glenpark side's most successful bowler.

Greenock's batting order plans suffered a setback when shortly before the end of the West of Scotland innings, Neil Flack incurred an injury to his knee while attempting to field a ball at backward point. A makeshift opening partnership was agreed within the Greenock team during the tea interval and when play resumed Harry Briggs and Shailesh Prabhu were the players who took on the role.

Successful it was not, however, and after just eight overs Greenock were struggling on 14 for the loss of 3 wickets and had Briggs, Prabhu and Aussie amateur Damon Rootes all back in the pavilion with West's opening bowler David McNulty responsible for all three dismissals.

Having been administered some painkillers, Neil Flack felt able to bat at number five in the Greenock batting line-up and joined Chris Hempsey out in the middle when the third wicket went down. A very fine fourth wicket partnership then developed and gradually the home total was chipped away.

Then, in the twenty first over, Greenock batsmen made a decisive move scoring eleven runs from an over bowled by Lucas Farndale. And this was immediately followed by the Flack and Hempsey scoring a further 32 runs from the next four overs. These runs took the Glenparkers to the brink of victory which was duly achieved in the 26th over.

The partnership between Flack and Hempsey yielded 89 runs and was a match-winning effort. Flack was unbeaten on 51 while Hempsey scored 36 not out.

With just two league matches remaining, Greenock are now just under eight percentage points ahead of West of Scotland, who are in third position, and the season's target of being promoted back to the Premier Division is tantalizingly close.

League leaders Poloc had their match at Glasgow Accies cancelled due to the ground at New Anniesland having been saturated, and so Greenock are now just over one percent behind the southside team.