Greenock's batting collapses again as Ferguslie win easily

Greenock 1st XI vs Ferguslie
WDCU CSL Premier Division
Saturday 7th August 2021

Ferguslie 240 for 9 T Ahmad 101, A Ghaffar 41; SK Fischer-Keogh 4 for 42, ND Flack 3 for 38
Greenock 1st XI 49 H Tahir 6 for 8


Greenock's disappointing season continued on Saturday at Glenpark when they were heavily defeated by Renfrewshire rivals Ferguslie. The gulf between the second top team of the Premier Division and Greenock at the bottom was stark. The margin of defeat was 191 runs.

And yet it all began so differently.

Ferguslie captain, Riyaad Henry, got his call wrong at the toss prior to the start of the game and Greenock captain Greg McDougall was quick to insert the visitors.

The Glenparkers got off to the best possible start when Sean Fischer Keogh's express pace removed Gregor Preston-Jones with the last ball of the very first over. The Ferguslie opener was beaten by the speed and bounce generated by Fischer-Keogh and he edged the ball through to Lukas Fischer-Keogh behind the stumps.

Riyaad Henry, with three centuries and a total of over 550 runs in the Premier Division this season, joined Omar Hussain and the pair had put on just nine runs when a second wicket was captured. And it was the prized wicket of Henry.

The Ferguslie captain was out for his first duck of the season when he fell victim to the Fischer-Keogh brothers in almost identical fashion to the earlier dismissal of Preston-Jones. Beaten for pace, Henry edged the delivery from Sean and his brother Lukas, keeping wicket, took a relatively straightforward catch well back behind the stumps.

The Greenock team were fired up as their two opening pace bowlers Fischer-Keogh and Gregor Chambers were doing exactly the job which had been asked of them - attack the Ferguslie top order and get wickets.

Even better came with the fourth ball of the seventh over when, for the third time, the Fischer-Keogh brothers were too good for the Ferguslie top order batsmen. This time it was opener Omar Hussain and what a dismissal it was.

Sean's speed and a mis-timed shot from the left-handed Hussain found the edge of the Ferguslie batsman's bat and the ball flew fast and wide of the wicket-keeper. But Lukas dived full length high to his left and took a magnificent one-handed catch. 14 for 3.

Former England test wicket-keeper, Jack Russell, now a renowned professional artist, who was at Glenpark for the afternoon creating another of his cricketing landscape paintings, expressed his delight at what he said was a quite outstanding catch.

Ferguslie now needed to get a grip of the game as Greenock were on top at this stage. And what better way to do so than have two batsman in great form to come together at this critical stage in their innings.

Taimoor Ahmad and Adil Ghaffar, both with centuries to their name in the Premier Division in 2021, and in the top group of the run-scorers in the Premier Division, provided just what the visitors required.

They knuckled down and with fortune on their side as some difficult chances were unable to be taken by Greenock fielders, the Meikleriggs men steadily came more into the match. By the 20th over, the visitors had moved on to 83 and had weathered the earlier storm from Greenock.

Opening pace bowlers, Fischer-Keogh and Chambers, had been rested after their early efforts and Greenock captain Greg McDougall had brought Neil Flack and himself into the attack.

But without any further breakthroughs, McDougall introduced Ewan Stewart into the bowling attack in the 18th over, and the move paid off when Adil Ghaffar was bowled in the 24th over for 41 with score on 88.

Youngster Uzair Ahmad joined Taimoor Ahmad, who by this stage was in fine form and scoring with increasing ease. The partnership defied Greenock's attempts to pick up another wicket as more bowling changes were made and also some more chances were missed.

It took until the 40th over, with the Ferguslie score having doubled to 175, for the fifth wicket to be taken. Greg McDougall at mid-off picked up a nicely played drive from Uzair Ahmad who called for a quick single only for McDougall to hit the stumps direct and run him out for 28.

Experienced batsman, David Stafford, and Taimoor added another thirty runs in six overs before Neil Flack, back for a third spell of bowling, captured Taimoor's wicket. The Ferguslie batsman had just reached his second century of the league season when Flack bowled him for 101.

Then Fischer-Keogh, who had come back into the attack for the closing overs, had Stafford caught close to the boundary rope at the bottom wall by Flack.

And as the visitors' innings drew to a close, Flack picked up two more wickets when he trapped Anup Vejandla leg before wicket for 5 and had Hamid Mahmood well caught by Harry Briggs in front of the practice nets, as the Ferguslie tail-ender send a towering shot towards the boundary.

At the end of the 50 overs, Ferguslie had taken their total to 240 for the loss of 9 wickets. Sean Fischer-Keogh had the very creditable figures of 4 wickets for 42 runs from his 10 overs and Neil Flack 3 for 38 from 10 overs.

Greenock's reply to Ferguslie's very challenging total started badly with two wickets lost in the space of just four balls in the third over. And by the ninth over the Glenpark side were four wickets down with only nine runs on the scoreboard.

Worse followed as the visitors' spin attack completely confused and wrecked the Greenock batting line-up to the extent that by the end of the 15th over they were in total disarray with just 18 runs on the board and nine wickets down.

Only a last wicket partnership of 31 runs from Lukas Fischer-Keogh (14) and Greg McDougall (10 not out) brought the smallest semblance of respect to the score. And just to rub salt into the gaping wounds of the Greenock team, the last wicket fell when Fischer-Keogh was run out in the cruellest of ways.

McDougall smashed a straight drive back towards bowler Mahmood who managed to just touch the ball as it raced towards him and the ball was diverted on to the stumps with Fischer-Keogh just out of his crease. All out 49.

Off spinner Haroon Tahir was the main architect of Greenock's batting malfunction taking 6 wickets for just 8 runs from his 10 overs.

Following the end of the match, further bad news reached Greenock when it was learned that relegation rivals Poloc had beaten West of Scotland. The odds of 'beating the drop' had only worsened with just five matches still to play.