Greenock topple the league leaders

Uddingston vs Greenock 1st XI
WDCU CSL Premier Division
Saturday 1st July 2017

Uddingston 103 PJC Hoffmann 33; JW Hulbert 4 for 23, KG Scrimegour 3 for 24
Greenock 1st XI 104 for 5 KG Scrimegour 32*, ND Flack 32


Greenock travelled to Uddingston on Saturday morning, possibly more in hope than expectation, with a team that was missing four members of the regular squad. They returned in the evening in high spirits having defeated the Premier Division league leaders and in some style.

Skipper Jonathan Hempsey started the ball rolling when he called correctly at the toss and had no hesitation in putting Uddingston into bat, having reckoned that the pitch would provide some assistance, especially early on.

He was certainly proved correct in that decision as his bowlers made full use of the damp and green pitch. Julian Hulbert and Neil Flack opened the bowling and it was not long before the former made a crucial breakthrough, trapping the Uddingston professional, Anwar Hafeez, in front in the third over with the score on 4.

Worse was to follow for Uddingston when their skipper for the day, Hari Singh, was run out for zero by a smart piece of fielding by Kyle Scrimegour.

Hulbert was proving to be real handful and he struck again twice in quick succession, removing Amir Gul, caught by the skipper in the slips, for 10 and then in his next over, his seventh, opener Sam Allan, leg before for 13. Uddingston were 30 for 4 and in desperate need of a stabilising partnership.

They wouldn't get that as in the next over, Kyle Scrimegour, who had replaced Neil Flack, gained an lbw verdict on Nick Martin and then in the next over, the big wicket was captured when Hulbert enticed Ross Lyons into edging behind to Harry Briggs. Uddingston now 31 for 6 and Greenock were cock-a-hoop.

Julian Hulbert completed his spell of bowling, 4 for 23 in 10 overs, 3 of which were maidens, a spell which effectively won the match for Greenock. However, there was still much to do before Greenock could really celebrate. Uddingston made a slight recovery through Raza and Laycock but Scrimegour removed both of them, through catches by Jonathan Hempsey and Louis Ware respectively, the latter a fine overhead effort at mid-wicket, and Uddingston were 59 for 8.

Enter Paul Hoffmann. The ex-Scottish internationalist had recently returned to Scotland and Uddingston, having spent a few years in his native Australia, and he set about restoring some dignity to Uddingston's position with some trademark hefty blows. He was quite severe on Neil Flack's spin, hitting him for two 4s and a six and in partnership with overseas amateur Riley McGuire, he took the score to 93 before Jonathan Hempsey had McGuire caught by young Euan Stewart at mid-wicket for 10.

There was just time for Hoffmann to hit one more six, a massive blow into the adjoining hockey pitch, before he too fell victim to Hempsey, caught by Julian Hulbert at long-on. Uddingston were all out for 103 in the 36th over and Greenock would consider that the job was more than half done.

As well as Hulbert's excellent bowling, which skipper Hempsey reckoned was the best he had seen from him this season, mention must be made of Kyle Scrimegour's efforts, 3 for 24 in his 10 overs, and there was good backing from Jonathan Hempsey with 2 for 15 and also Neil Flack, who, despite the punishment from Hoffmann, still finished with a creditable 0 for 32 in his 10 overs.

After the tea interval, Greenock set out in pursuit of the 104 runs needed for victory. They were looking for a steady start but they didn't get it as Harry Briggs was bowled for a duck in the fourth over by Adil Raza. Kyle Scrimegour joined Neil Flack at the crease and they set about securing the Greenock response. The pace bowling of Hoffmann, Raza and Laycock was seen off and Uddingston resorted to their spin attack for the rest of the innings.

It was off-spinner Hafeez who made the next breakthrough, having Flack caught behind by Allan, for a fine 32 with the total on 58. Scrimegour was looking in good form at the other end, content to wait for the bad delivery to put away and also looking for the singles to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

The next wicket to fall was that of Louis Ware who was caught by Singh off the bowling of Ross Lyons for 8 and Greenock were 72 for 3. Seven runs later and Aidan Forrest was trapped in front by Amir Gul without scoring. When Julian Hulbert was bowled by Gul, also for zero, there were still 17 runs needed for victory. Gul and Lyons were bowling tightly and there was still work needed to be done to claim the win.

Sehmat Pandher joined Scrimegour and between them they quickly knocked off those 17 runs, Pandher finishing the game with a boundary off Lyons. Scrimegour was left undefeated on 32 and Pandher on 11 when the winning runs were scored.

This was a fine team performance, with keen bowling and fielding followed by steady batting in tricky conditions. Julian Hulbert's initial spell was obviously crucial but Kyle Scrimegour's all-round performance was equally important and Neil Flack, although he did not take any wickets, can also be pleased with his contribution.

One point which is worthy of mention is the discipline shown by the Greenock attack in conceding just 6 extras in the Uddingston innings. Contrast this with the 21 extras conceded by Uddingston, and it can be seen how important this part of the game can be. Greenock's bowlers have clearly worked hard on this and these efforts are bearing fruit.

Greenock now move up to 7th place in the league table and with both East Kilbride and Kelburne suffering heavy defeats, they have opened up quite a gap between themselves and the bottom two. Next Saturday's game with East Kilbride at Glenpark is of great importance and a win for Greenock would surely just about secure their place in the Premier Division for another year. But for the time being, let's just savour what was a splendid win over the league leaders.