Greenock fail to topple Uddingston

Uddingston vs Greenock 1st XI
WDCU CSL Premier Division
Saturday 1st June 2019

Uddingston 134 H Singh 33; SS Pandher 3 for 24, S Bandekar 3 for 31
Greenock 1st XI 85 S Bandekar 35; M Adnan 4 for 24, N Alexander 3 for 18



Greenock's trip to meet Premier Division joint leaders Uddingston on Saturday failed to provide the win the Glenpark side was searching for. Instead the local side lost the match by 49 runs after a performance which followed a similar pattern to previous league matches played this season .... a fine bowling performance followed by a disappointing display of batting.

There was a delayed start to the match due to the Bothwell Policies ground drying out after the wet weather towards the end of the week, and Uddingston took first use of the wicket. But it was Greenock who made the better start to the match.

After just five overs, Greenock had picked up the wickets of both of the Uddingston openers to leave the Lanarkshire side on 18 runs for the loss of two wickets. The damage was done by Greenock's Indian professional Saurabh Bandekar whose pace bowling returned Mo Awais and Anwar Hafeez to the clubhouse soon after the start of the home team's innings.

Hafeez (3) was first to go when he was trapped LBW in just the third over of play and then two overs later Awais (9) was drawn into a loose shot and Sehmat Pandher held a good catch to give Bandekar his second wicket of the innings.

By the ninth over, Uddingston had progressed well mainly thanks to some fine shots by Harmanjit 'Harry' Singh and the scoreboard was showing 40 runs on the total when Bandekar struck for a third time. His victim on this occasion was Fergus Clarke who was beaten for pace and had his stumps scattered having contributed just 4 runs.

Singh and new batting partner, Scottish internationalist and former Durham County cricketer Gavin Main, looked set for a big partnership, and had added 22 runs from six overs, when first change bowler Neil Flack made an important breakthrough by picking up the wicket of Main, caught and bowled for 12.

At this point in the fifteenth over, Uddingston were on 62 for the loss of four wickets. And the next period of play put Greenock in a strong position as the Glenpark side picked up a further three wickets for just 25 more runs being added to the home team's total.

Greenock's highly promising young pace bowler Sean Fischer-Keogh picked up the prized wicket of former Scottish international Ross Lyons in the eighteenth over when Saurabh Bandekar snapped up a catch to return the Uddingston player to the dressing room for just four runs.

And the young Greenock bowler gained a second wicket when 'Harry' Singh was caught by Ewan Stewart to leave Uddingston in a spot of bother on 72 for the loss of 6 wickets. Singh had been the mainstay of the home side's innings up until this point and had scored 33 important runs for his team.

So, after 20 overs of the reduced 43 overs per side innings, Greenock had a strong hold on the match and were looking to try and finish off the remainder of the Uddingston batting line-up.

But there was to be fighting finale to the innings with the experienced Amir Gul acting as the key batsman in the tail end of the batting order. Recent addition to the Lanarkshire side, Niall Alexander, who joined from Dumfries CC just prior to the start of the league season, added 15 runs with Gul before being bowled by Sehmat Pandher for 9 and then Abdul Sabri, another recent signing from Glenrothes CC, was caught by Fischer-Keogh off the bowling of Pandher for 15. Score then was 111 for 8.

Uddingston pushed the score past 130 in the 34th over before the innings ended quite abruptly when first Bryan Clarke was caught by Rod Mountford from the bowling of Neil Flack for 10 and then Mo Adnan provided a second catch for Mountford this time from the bowling of Sehmat Pandher.

Amir Gul was unbeaten on 20 when the innings closed for 134 in the 37th over. Bandekar with 3 wickets for 31 runs, Pandher 3 for 24 and Flack and Fischer-Keogh each taking two wickets apiece, were the wicket-takers for Greenock.

After the tea interval, the Greenock reply began in quite the opposite manner to that which the team had intended. Instead of a steady start and runs building on the scoreboard without the loss of early wickets, the Glenpark side was quickly on the back foot as firstly in the opening over, Chris Hempsey edged a pacey delivery from opening bowler Niall Alexander to wicketkeeper Bryan Clarke and then in the fourth over with Sabri bowling, Neil Flack gave Clarke his second catch behind the stumps.

A further two wickets went down before ten overs were completed. Australian amateur Zac Barrenechea and his Aussie batting partner Rod Mountford both 'perished' to leave Greenock on 30 for the loss of 4 wickets.

Further wickets fell at regular intervals as Greenock failed to build any meaningful partnerships and with pro Saurabh Bandekar the lone batsman able to score runs. But even he could not preserve his own wicket and was the ninth wicket to fall when he was caught by Awais having top scored with 35 runs.

The innings came to an end with the last ball of the 25th over when Gavin Main had Ewan Stewart adjudged LBW with the score on 85.

Mo Adnan with 4 wickets for 22 runs and Niall Alexander with 3 for 18 were Uddingston's top performers with the ball while Gavin Main with two wickets and Abdul Sabri with one wicket were the other bowlers to gain success.

So, from the play which had earlier put Greenock in a good position to win the game, a poor batting performance once again let the team down and allowed Uddingston to maintain their 100% record in the Premier Division.

Greenock must now look to gain some wins in the remainder of the matches to be played in the first half of the Premier Division season or face an uncomfortable second half of the season in the relegation region.

Next up is a home match against last year's champions Ferguslie and that is followed by fixtures against Stirling County and Poloc before the first half of the league fixtures draws to a close at the end of the month.