Greenock's batting order collapses again

West of Scotland vs Greenock 1st XI
WDCU CSL Premier Division
Saturday 11th May 2019

West of Scotland 116 S Bandekar 6 for 28, JPC Hempsey 3 for 52
Greenock 1st XI 94 S Bandekar 39; G Smith 7 for 15


For the second week in a row, Greenock let slip a great chance to record a win in the WDCU Premier Division, as, having bowled out West of Scotland for just 116, a late middle order collapse resulted in the team once again failing to bring home maximum points.

The match at Hamilton Crescent in Glasgow's west end was played in excellent conditions and having won the toss, Greenock captain Neil Flack invited West to bat first. And Greenock made an electrifying start by capturing FOUR wickets in just the opening three overs to leave the home side rattled.

A 5 run wide ball heralded the start to the match when Greenock's pace bowling professional Saurabh Bandekar sent down a fast, mis-directed 'loosener'. Then two balls later, Shah was first of the West batsmen to be sent back to the pavilion when he was judged LBW. And he was followed in the professional's opening over by Lucas Farndale also LBW.

Jonathan Hempsey then got into the act in just the second over of play when he picked up West's third wicket with yet another LBW decision when he trapped opening batsman Miller (4), and this was quickly followed by Bandekar having the experienced, and often very dangerous West batsman Ian Young (4), caught by Sehmat Pandher.

So, after just three overs, West were reeling on 4 wickets down for 20 runs, most of which were 'extras'.

New batsmen, Fennah and Corner took on the job of steadying the home team's innings and for seven overs did so quite well adding almost 30 runs until Fennah (15) played a loose shot and was caught by Rod Mountford from the bowling of Hempsey with the scoreboard on 48. And that was quickly followed by wicket number six when new batsman Hussain departed without scoring when Bandekar claimed his fourth of the afternoon.

A partnership of 30 runs from Corner and Player brought West back into the game, but in the seventeenth over Neil Flack took a smart catch off his own bowling to dismiss Corner for 29 to put West on 78 for the loss of 7 wickets and Greenock well on top.

Player, batting at number 8 for the Hamilton Crescent team, pushed the score along for his side, but with the return of Bandekar for a second bowling spell, had his stumps scattered in the twenty first over but not before he had contributed an innings of 21 very valuable runs.

Another important innings came from tail-ender Etheridge. He contributed 17 runs before becoming Bandekar's sixth victim of the afternoon shortly before Smith was the last man out LBW to Jonathan Hempsey as West closed their innings on 117 after 25.5 overs.

Bandekar finished with excellent figures of 6 wickets for 28 runs from 10 overs and Hempsey took 3 for 52 from 9.5 overs.

With Greenock forced to make four changes to their team from the previous weekend due to work commitments, young Jamie Nowell was drafted into the side and opened the innings with Zac Barrenechea. The tactic failed to reap any reward however as the young player fell victim to Hussain in just the second over.

Team captain Neil Flack joined Barrenechea out in the middle and these two batsmen were looking quite comfortable together as their partnership took the Greenock score to 24. But then Flack (5) clipped a shot to the leg side and was caught at square leg by Player from the bowling of Gavin Smith

Indian pro Bandekar and Aussie amateur Barrenechea were in no hurry to score and were carefully crafting their partnership when Barrenechea (13) was adjudged LBW to Fennah in the seventeenth over with the score on 41.

Sehmat Pandher was next to the crease, and he and Bandekar added 18 runs together, with the former doing his best to support the pro before falling for 4 runs bowled by Player.

The fifth wicket partnership between Bandekar and Jonathan Hempsey put Greenock into what was looking like a match-winning position until, just after a drinks break, Hempsey knicked a delivery from Smith and was caught by Farndale for 16 to leave the visitors on 82 and five wickets down.

Hempsey's wicket came with the third ball of Smith's seventh over and what followed was another calamitous display from Greenock's remaining batsmen. With the last three balls of the over, Smith dismissed Ewan Stewart, Greg McDougall and Sean Fischer-Keogh in quick order for four wickets in four balls and left Greenock stunned on 82 for 8.

Greenock's hopes now rested largely with Indian pro Bandekar but that hope all but disappeared when he was caught by Farndale off the very first ball of Smith's eighth over for 38 to give Smith the remarkable personal feat of five wickets in five consecutive deliveries.

And it was fitting for the West bowler that it was he who finished the game off when he bowled Sam Sanghera at the start of his ninth over to leave Greenock all out for 94 in the 38th over of the innings.

Smith ended with the quite outstanding bowling figures of 7 wickets for just 15 runs from 8.1 overs and not surprisingly was 'Man of the Match' as he had almost single-handedly demolished the Greenock batting line-up and delivered a victory to West which at the beginning of his own seventh over had appeared unlikely.

It was a near replica of the previous week at Drumpellier and, while it is said that lightning does not strike the same place twice, the happenings of the last two Saturdays clearly shows that in cricket batting collapses certainly can.