Greenock so close to first league win

Clydesdale vs Greenock 1st XI
WDCU CSL Premier Division
Saturday 26th May 2018

Clydesdale 263 for 7 Z Ashraf 55, S Krishna 36*, B Pirzada 34*, S Awan 33
Greenock 1st XI 253 for 5 ND Flack 119, ML Smit 63; RD Berrington 4 for 31


Greenock came close to achieving what would have been a magnificent win against top side Clydesdale at Titwood in Glasgow on Saturday. Chasing 'Dale's 263 total, the Glenpark side completed their 50 overs just an agonising ten runs short of the target set, and despite their captain, Neil Flack, scoring a superb century.

Clydesdale won the toss on an afternoon with conditions perfect for high scoring and not surprisingly chose to bat. However, it was the Greenock side which was in control for the first half of the southsiders' innings.

In the third over of the match, Greenock's professional, Saurabh Bandekar, had opener Paul Barbour caught without scoring by Laurens Smit. A further two wickets fell in the first twelve overs.

Angus Guy (22) was bowled by Jonathan Hempsey in the tenth over, but it was the prized wicket of former Greenock player and current Scottish internationalist Richie Berrington in the 12th over which gave the Glenparkers a real lift. Berrington (10) got an inside edge to a delivery from Jonathan Hempsey and wicketkeeper Chris Hempsey took a fine catch to leave Clydesdale on 59 for the loss of 3 wickets.

Sheryar Awan and Zeeshan Bashir then put together a 34 run partnership which ended when Greg McDougall took a good return catch to dismiss Awan for 33 runs. Bashir was next to fall when adjudged LBW to Neil Flack, having scored 27 runs. So after 28 overs, Clydesdale were 109 for the loss of 5 wickets.

Zain Ashraf and Kasim Farid got 'Dale back on course and took the total to 170 before Farid (21) was caught by Sam Sanghera off the bowling of Greg McDougall. Ashraf reached his half century but with the total on 200 he lofted a ball from Neil Flack and was caught by Jonathan Hempsey for 55.

In the remaining eight overs of the innings, Arun Krishna and Bilawal Pirzada regularly found the boundary as they took advantage of some inaccurate bowling and the Clydesdsale innings was able to reach a very challenging 263 for the loss of 7 wickets at the end of their allotted 50 overs.

Jonathan Hempsey 2 for 42, Greg McDougall 2 for 46 and Neil Flack 2 for 34 were Greenock's main wicket takers.

With run-scoring being Greenock's achilles heel so far this season, Clydesdale's total was a formidable one to chase and with regular opening batsman Shailesh Prabhu unavailable, Neil Flack elected to open along with Harry Briggs.

The pair made a sound but unspectacular start to the innings and put on 41 runs before Briggs (22) was caught by Angus Guy off the bowling of Richie Berrington in the 15th over.

Greenock's overseas amateur, South African Laurens Smit, joined Flack and the two batsmen built a superb partnership. At the end of the 25th over and half way through the innings the pair had moved the total to 93 which meant a further 171 runs were needed at a rate of nearly seven runs per over.

Their century partnership came up in the 36th over and in the 44th over the duo had taken the total to 200. Just prior to this Flack reached his own century having batted with some style throughout the innings.

In the closing run chase, with just six overs remaining, wickets began to fall as the Greenock batsmen tried to force the pace and score the runs needed to win the match.

Smit was first to fall, caught by Bashir for 63 off the bowling of Berrington in the 46th over with the score on 220. And just two runs later, in the same over, Flack was caught by Malik having scored a magnificent 119 runs. Jonathan Hempsey and Saurabh Bandekar both came and went and with just under three overs to go thirty runs were still required.

Chris Hempsey and Greg McDougall made a valiant effort but ended up ten runs from the winning target at the conclusion of the innings. Hempsey was 13 not out and McDougall 11 not out.

Richie Berrington was the only Clydesdale bowler to pick up wickets and he ended with the fine figures of 4 wickets for 31 runs from 7 overs.