Greenock fail to break league duck

Greenock 1st XI vs Prestwick
WDCU CSL Premier Division
Saturday 18th May 2019

Greenock 1st XI 191 S Bandekar 84, S Chaudhary 4 for 37
Prestwick 193 for 4 F Jawad 75, MT Rao 61, S Bandekar 3 for 28



Despite the best efforts of the weather on Saturday, Greenock completed their first home league game of the season when they took on table-topping Prestwick. Unfortunately, the strenuous efforts that were made to get the game on were not rewarded as Prestwick won, quite comfortably it must be said, by 6 wickets.

Prestwick skipper, Tom Fleet, won the toss and put Greenock into bat, which was not really a surprise, given the conditions and the fact that Greenock had struggled with the bat in their previous league games.

This looked a really good decision as home skipper Chris Hempsey, deputising for the unavailable Neil Flack, was bowled by Prestwick's Australian amateur Tom Lord by the fourth ball of the match. This was the worst possible start for Greenock but professional Saurabh Bandekar and Aussie amateur Zac Barrenechea set about stabilising the innings. They were quite severe on Prestwick's other opening bowler Hulme and he was removed from the attack after 3 expensive overs.

By that time, there had been an interruption to the innings due to rain, which meant that as the start had been delayed by 30 minutes or so, the match would be reduced to one of 48 overs per side and that the Greenock score would be adjusted by DLS.

It was Hulme's replacement, Craig Morrison, who effected the next breakthrough, bowling Barrenechea for 21, which included 4 boundaries, in the 10th over with the score on 43. Jonathan Hempsey was next in and he and Bandekar continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over until Hempsey was bowled by Morrison in the 18th over for 16.

This really set the tone for the rest of the innings as wickets fell at regular intervals, despite several promising partnerships being started but not getting established. Rod Mountford was trapped in front by Sachin Chaudhary for 5 and Sam Sanghera also reached 5 before being run out by a direct hit attempting an ambitious second run when the score was 110.

Sehmat Pandher now joined Bandekar and the two of them enjoyed a breezy but brief spell together until Pandher was bowled by Patterson for an enterprising cameo of 20. The score now stood at 149 for 6 and it was clear that Greenock's best chance of a fighting score lay with Bandekar.

In company with Greg McDougall, he took the attack to Prestwick and the score moved on to 177 before McDougall departed. With overs still left, it was unfortunate that Bandekar was then out, caught off the bowling of Chaudhary for a chanceless 84, an innings that included 9 fours and 1 six.

The Greenock innings ended off the last ball of the 40th over when Cammy Calder was dismissed by Chaudhary. Once again, Greenock had failed to bat out their overs, something which they have been prone to do now for several seasons. This is something that the team simply must eradicate if they are to make progress this season.

Prestwick's openers, Rao and Jawad, made a slow but steady start against Bandekar and Jonathan Hempsey as they set out to overtake Greenock's DLS adjusted score of 189 in 48 overs. After 10 overs, the score stood at 39 for 0 and skipper Chris Hempsey made a double change, bringing on Greg McDougall and Sam Sanghera.

They were unable to make any inroads and it gradually became clear that Prestwick were taking control of the game. Sean Fischer-Keogh was brought into the attack but Rao and Jawad continued to make serene progress and only when Bandekar returned did a wicket fall, Rao being bowled for a fine 61 with the score on 111 - a wicket for Nelson!

Fraser MacDonald, who has had a fine season to date, was next to fall, leg before to Bandekar for just 7, Chaudhary was run out without scoring and for a brief moment, it appeared that Greenock might have a glimmer of a chance at 144 for 3.

Jawad and Fleet made sure that any such chance was quickly snuffed out and although Jawad fell just before the end for 75, the end came with the first ball of the 41st over when Fleet hit Hempsey for the winning boundary.

A comfortable win then for Prestwick. Greenock can at least look back at their best batting display of the season but against that, their bowling for the first time lacked penetration apart from Bandekar who finished with 3 for 28 from his 10 overs. However, if the batting can build on this display, which saw better running between the wickets, and utilise all the overs that are available to them, then better things may be ahead for Greenock.

Next week is a busy one for Greenock. First up on Wednesday is a McCulloch Cup match at Renfrew, Thursday is a home tie in the Murgitroyd Rowan Cup against Clydesdale and the latter return to Glenpark on Saturday in the league. At least, Greenock will not have to face their old team-mate, Richie Berrington who now plays for Clydesdale. He is currently out of action with a broken finger, incurred just after his brilliant 170* for the Western Warriers.