Greenock's batting fails again

Greenock 1st XI vs Dumfries
WDCU CSL Premier Division
Saturday 5th August 2017

Greenock 1st XI 61 A Davidson 5 for 11, S Alexander 3 for 16
Dumfries 62 for 4  


Greenock lost heavily to Dumfries at Glenpark on Saturday and in doing so made their position in the battle to avoid relegation increasingly tense with just three matches left in this season's Premier Division.

It has been a season of highs and lows for the Greenock team with fine wins against Ayr and Uddingston but some very disappointing losses to Kelburne and East Kilbride. There have been some good, but ultimately losing performances against Ferguslie and Dumfries earlier in the season and just over a week ago a fine fighting performance against Ayr at New Cambusdoon.

But the consistency of performance has been the Glenpark side's issue throughout much of the season and particularly so since the beginning of July. Since then Greenock's form has dipped and confidence seems to have drained away. For the remaining three weeks, the players need to try and get into a more positive mindset and put in performances which will keep the team in the top division.

With so much wet weather over recent weeks, good batting wickets have been difficult to produce at various grounds across the west of Scotland and Glenpark has been no different. It has been the bowlers who have gained the advantage from the conditions.

So, it has been little surprise when the team winning the toss has elected to field first in the last number of matches at Glenpark. In the period since mid-July when the weather has been generally poor, Greenock have played Kelburne and Dumfries at home, lost the toss, been immediately invited to bat by the opposition, and then bowled out for paltry low scores. Had the coins landed differently, Greenock may well have been in a quite different league position.

On Saturday, Greenock opted for a makeshift opening partnership in an attempt to shield their main batsmen, Kyle Scrimegour and Neil Flack from the Dumfries opening attack. With Shailesh Prabhu and Chris Hempsey, players with top order batting experience both unavailable for this key match, Julien Hulbert was promoted well up the order from his usual position to partner Harry Briggs.

Six overs into play, the tactic seemed to be working well with both Hulbert and Briggs seemingly quite comfortable and fifteen runs on the board. But a fine edge from Hulbert's bat gave Dumfries wicketkeeper/captain Stuart Corbett-Byers a simple catch off the bowling of Scott Alexander to make the breakthrough.

Four overs later, with a further ten runs added to the score, Alexander struck again, gaining the wicket of Scrimegour who mis-timed a drive and presented a straightforward catch to cover. From then on Dumfries were in almost total control as the Greenock batsmen struggled to get into any sort of batting rhythm.

Only teenager Harry Briggs, who scored a fine 56 down at Ayr on the previous Saturday, seemed able to score and when he became Alexander's third victim of the afternoon, Greenock were poorly placed on 35 for 4 in the 18th over.

Just thirteen overs later and Greenock had collapsed to being all out for 61, with Briggs the only batsman to have scored double figures. For Dumfries, second change bowler Alan Davidson almost single-handedly cleaned up the remainder of the Greenock batting with 5 wickets for just 11 runs from 6.5 overs.

Needing just 62 runs to win, Dumfries were odds on to do so with ease when they began their innings. But credit to Greenock, they were determined to make their opponents work hard to win and after just four overs had Dumfries three wickets down with just fifteen runs on the scoreboard.

Enter into the action Dumfries' Australian overseas amateur Josh Forsyth. He was the player who ripped away a win for Greenock when the sides met at Nunholm in early June. On that occasion, in a very high scoring match, Forsyth smashed a quick 42 runs to snatch victory for his side when a win for Greenock had seemed almost certain.

On Saturday, in a quite different situation, Forsyth came to the wicket with Dumfries three wickets down, but only needing 47 runs to win, and blasted seven boundaries to take his team to a very comfortable win in just the fourteenth over.

It was a crushing defeat for Greenock who must quickly regroup and find improved form for the final three matches of the season.

On a positive note for the Glenpark side, despite the defeat by Dumfries, Greenock maintained their league position just above the two relegation places as both East Kilbride and Kelburne both lost out to Uddingston and Ferguslie respectively.


The match was kindly sponsored by West of Scotland Insurance Brokers.