Greenock make disappointing start to league campaign

Greenock 1st XI vs Langside
WDCU CSL Premier Division
Saturday 5th June 2021

Langside 233 Z Khan 103, A Khan 32; GJ McDougall 3 for 65
Greenock 1st XI 152 ND Flack 87*; S Zia 3 for 24


Greenock got their 2021 competitive league season under way at Glenpark on Saturday afternoon but lost out to Langside by 81 runs. The Glasgow side won the toss and opted to bat on what looked like an excellent batting track and it proved that way for 'man of the match' opener Zeeshan Khan who scored a fine century.

In almost typical Greenock style, the two teams had just taken to the field at 12noon when light rain began to fall and after just three overs the umpires opted for a break in play. But not before opening batsman Zia had been well caught by Neil Flack off the bowling of Sam Sanghera for just 2 runs.

Prior to Zia's departure, Zeeshan Khan had announced his intent with a fine shot to the boundary, and when the break in play came at the end of the third over Langside were on 12 for the loss of the one wicket.

The rain shower was mercifully short and on resumption of play new batsman Asad Khan and opener Zeeshan Khan quickly showed that they would be an important partnership to break. Runs flowed steadily and the southsiders had forty four runs on the scoreboard by the end of the eleventh over.

Greenock captain, Greg McDougall, opted for a double bowling change at this point. But it seemed to only spur on Asad Khan who chose to hit change bowler Flack for 12 runs off his opening over including a boundary and then a six out of the Glenpark ground.

But Flack gained his revenge in his second over when Asad attempted another big hit and was caught by Harry Briggs for 32 with the total on 60.

Flack and Gregor Chambers then bowled quite tidily, with Chambers picking up a couple of wickets as Langside moved on to 114 for 4 after 27 overs. Kamran was caught by wicketkeeper Lukas Fischer-Keogh for 9 with the score on 78 and Raja was caught and bowled by Chambers for 11.

Meanwhile, Zeeshan Khan was the batsman Greenock needed to remove, batting with composure and control and offering no chances to the Greenock bowlers.

The fifth wicket partnership added 57 runs in just a little more than ten overs when, with the score on 171, Akram was out LBW to the very last ball of Sam Sanghera's second spell of bowling.

Wickets fell regularly following Akram's dismissal. Arfeen went for just one run, caught by Sean Fischer-Keogh off the bowling of McDougall and then the prized wicket of Zeeshan Khan was captured with the score on 203.

The Langside batsman had just celebrated reaching his century having scored three successive boundaries when he was out for 103 to a fine catch by Chris Hempsey, as McDougall picked up his second wicket.

With seven wickets down and just a bit more than four overs remaining, Langside looked to add as many runs as possible before the tea interval. And number nine batsman Ali did just that scoring 21 not out as the Glasgow team moved on to 233, before he ran out of batting partners with just three balls of the fiftieth and final over remaining.

McDougall was Greenock's most successful, although expensive, bowler taking 3 wickets for 65 runs from ten overs. Flack 2 for 33, Chambers 2 for 35, Sanghera 2 for 58 and Sean Fischer-Keogh 1 for 36 were the other Greenock wicket-takers. 'Extras' contributed 37 runs to the Langside total and Greenock will wish to work to significantly reduce that number in future matches.

After the tea interval, Greenock's openers Neil Flack and Jamie Nowell made a positive start to the home innings by scoring at a brisk rate before Nowell (5) was out in the seventh over to a catch by Zeeshan Khan off the bowling of Afzaal with the score on 26.

Former Scotland Under=19 World Cup captain Neil Flack looked in good form and was scoring freely from the start with some fine shots to the boundary from as early as the second ball of the innings.

Harry Briggs came in at number three in the batting order and he too looked in form. But having scored a couple of boundaries himself with well executed shots, he was adjudged leg before wicket (LBW) for just 9 runs after just a short stay at the crease.

Gregor Chambers suffered a similar fate with the total on 65 and with just three more runs added to the total Chris Hempsey was returned to the Greenock 'tent' having been bowled by Adnan.

Flack and former 1st XI captain Shailesh Prabhu then stabilised the Greenock innings and guided the team's total along to 108 at the midway point of the available 50 overs. But a momentary mis-communication then led to Prabhu being run out for 22 and Greenock were five wickets down and in some trouble in their run chase.

Flack, however, was still going well but needed support from his remaining team-mates if Greenock were to reach their goal. But that hope was given little chance when a further three wickets were quite quickly lost as both the Fischer-Keogh brothers and then teenager Cammy Calder all went cheaply and Greenock were left struggling on 124 for the loss of 8 wickets.

Sam Sanghera and Flack provided a 24 run ninth wicket partnership which briefly offered a glimmer of hope for the home side but that was extinguished when Sanghera (9) was out to a catch by Zia off the bowling of 'man of the match' Zeeshan Khan.

Just a further four runs were added before Langside gained their first Premier Division win when Greg McDougall was bowled by Zia and the Greenock innings ended on 152.

The Glasgow southsiders ended the match with an 81 run win with Zia 3 for 24 their top wicket-taker.

Neil Flack was Greenock's outstanding player having batted throughout the home innings for an unbeaten 87 runs. Had he been able to be supported with some decent partnerships with a few of his batting partners, then perhaps Greenock might have 'brought home the bacon'.