Greenock come up short at Hamilton Crescent

West of Scotland vs Greenock 1st XI
WDCU CSL Premier Division
Saturday 12th May 2018

West of Scotland 222 for 8 IDK Young 51, N Boller 48; ND Flack 3 for 38
Greenock 170 JPC Hempsey 70; T Gardiner 3 for 29, G Smith 3 for 39


On Saturday at Hamilton Crescent in Glasgow, Greenock showed an improvement from their opening Premier Division performance at Ayr, however it was not good enough to earn their first win of the 2018 season.

The Glenpark side's batting frailties were once again a major factor as West of Scotland were eventually comfortable winners. But it was not just the batting which let Greenock down. A number of dropped catches and some poor fielding also allowed the Glasgow side to accumulate a substantial total from their innings.

West won the toss and opted to bat. However, it was the Greenock team which initially made the better start with both of the West of Scotland's opening batsmen dismissed with just 28 runs on the board. Gregg Watson was first to go thanks to a very sharp catch by Jonathan Hempsey at gully off the pace bowling of Indian Professional Saurabh Bandekar. Watson had previously been dropped twice.

James Fennah was the second wicket to fall. He was caught by wicketkeeper Chris Hempsey off the bowling of Neil Flack for 14.

These dismissals brought together Ian Young and Aussie amateur Nick Boller and these two built an excellent partnership which put West into a very strong match position. Young did have a 'life' when he was dropped on 39 but the partnership eventually yielded 115 runs and then, as so often happens, both batsmen were out in quick succession.

Boller was first to go with score on 147, LBW to Jonathan Hempsey for 48 and then, with no further addition to the total, Young was bowled by Bandekar for 51.

Zimbabwean professional, Trevor Garwe and Jonathan Fearn continued to score at a fairly brisk rate, but when on 14 Garwe was out to a fine caught and bowled by Neil Flack, and shortly afterwards Fearn was caught on the long-on boundary by Jonathan Hempsey as he tried to hit Flack over the boundary rope for a maximum. 179 for 6 at the start of the 45th over.

In the remaining (almost) six overs, West maintained a high run scoring tempo and took their innings total to 222 for the loss of 8 wickets at the end of their 50 overs, with Barbadian Simon Naitram hitting a quickfire 28 runs.

Neil Flack took 3 wickets for 38 runs, Saurabh Bandekar 2 for 37 and Laurens Smit 2 for 49.

After the tea interval, Greenock began their innings with team captain Neil Flack moving up the order to open with Shailesh Prabhu, in the absence of regular opener Harry Briggs who was unavailable. And it appeared that the two players were building a positive partnership until Prabhu (9) edged a ball from West's pace opening bowler Gavin Smith and was caught at first slip by Jonathan Fearn.

Following this setback, Flack and Saurabh Bandekar seemed to be coping comfortably with the West attack and had moved the score along to 40 in the 13th over, when first change bowler Blaal Hussain clean bowled Bandekar for 10 with just his fourth ball.

Only two runs later, Flack mis-timed a hook shot and sent the ball spiralling up over the wicketkeeper and was caught by Fearn for 20. Chris Hempsey was next out LBW to Toby Gardiner and at four wickets down for just 46 runs on the scoreboard, Greenock were facing another batting debacle.

And when South African amateur Laurens Smit was run out in a calling mix up, supporters could have been forgiven for thinking so.

But it was at that point that Greenock's reply took a turn for the better. Number six batsman Jonathan Hempsey adopted a positive approach and runs began to flow. A forty run partnership with Rod Mountford and then a fifty five run partnership with Greg McDougall brought Greenock back into the game.

With eleven overs remaining, Greenock needed 66 runs to win which meant they needed to score at just a run a ball and had four wickets in hand.

However, West got the breakthrough they needed when McDougall was caught by Gregg Watson for 22 off Fennah's bowling and Greenock's tail-end batsmen were unable to give Hempsey the support needed to allow the team to keep up the challenge.

Two further wickets fell with just two more runs added, and with the target now a distance away, Hempsey became the last man out after a very fine innings. He had scored 70, his highest 1st XI score, when he was caught at mid-wicket by Naitram and Greenock were all out for 170.

For West, Gavin Smith took 3 for 39, Toby Gardiner 3 for 29 and James Fennah 2 for 8.