Greenock slump to defeat by Langside

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

Greenock 1st XI 81 M Ali 4 for 19, M Afzal 3 for 13, F Shah 3 for 15
Langside 86 for 4  


Greenock's disappointing season continued on Saturday when they went down by six wickets against Langside at Albert Park in Glasgow. With so much rain having fallen in the preceding 24 hours, and much more all around on the day, it was remarkable that any cricket took place at all.

Three Premier Division matches took place within about two miles of each other on Glasgow's south side. But only two beat the weather, Langside v Greenock and Poloc v Dumfries. The match involving Premier Division leaders Clydesdale v Uddingston was abandoned part way through when a deluge of rain flooded Clydesdale's large Titwood ground, yet somehow the rain missed the other two grounds so close nearby.

Greenock's match was due to get under way at 12 noon, however the umpires delayed the start of at Albert Park until 1.45pm due to the weather having affected the condition of the ground. The match was then reduced to 40 overs per side.

Needing some good luck at the pre-match toss of the coin, Greenock captain Greg McDougall got the call wrong and there was no surprise when Langside then chose to field. Due largely to the wet weather which had been around, the Albert Park wicket looked like one which would present problems for batsmen but give bowlers a lot to enjoy.

So it proved, as Greenock's batsmen, already low in confidence, had to deal with a damp wicket with variable bounce and toiled to get their innings moving forward with any assuredness.

Once again without Neil Flack and Jamie Nowell, who had formed the opening batting partnership for many of the matches in the first part of the league season, Greenock had to elevate batters who would otherwise fill positions further down the order.

The job was given to Harry Briggs and Shailesh Prabhu, but just as in the previous week the plan failed to work. With just seven runs on the scoreboard both openers had been removed by the Langside opening bowling attack.

First to go was Prabhu in the third over when he got an edge to a delivery from Mo Afzaal and was caught by wicketkeeper Asad Khan. Then in the very next over, Briggs fell to a catch by Rouman Butt from the bowling of Shah.

Gregor Chambers and Chris Hempsey stayed together for the next six overs and added eleven runs before Chambers (6) became the third wicket to fall. He misjudged his shot to a ball from Shah and Mo Kamran snapped up the catch which came his way.

Greenock moved from three wickets down to four down the very next ball when Shah picked up his own third wicket as new batsman Sean Fischer-Keogh was beaten and his stumps knocked back.

In the next eight overs Hempsey and Ewan Stewart doubled the score. But with 39 runs on the board, change bowler slow left-armer Mo Ali, dismissed Hempsey (18) when he fell to a catch by Afzaal.

Ali's success in his first over was quickly added to at the start of his second over as he collected two more wickets with his first two deliveries. First ball of the over, Ewan Stewart was caught by Khalid and second ball Lukas Fischer-Keogh gave Ali a return catch.

Greenock were 40 for 7 in the 20th over and struggling badly to build a score of any size. But Chirag Pandher and team captain Greg McDougall worked hard to improve the situation. They added thirty runs in what was the biggest partnership of the innings, before McDougall (9) was bowled by opening bowler Afzaal with the fourth ball of his second spell.

The experienced Phil McIntosh joined Pandher with just two wickets remaining as Greenock looked for some tail end batting runs. But only eleven had been added when Pandher (20) perished with the score on 81, bowled by Afzaal.

The loss of Pandher left just Jonathan Hempsey as last man to join McIntosh. But their partnership lasted precisely two balls as Phil McIntosh, playing his first match for several seasons, lofted the first ball of Mo Ali's seventh over and was caught by Rouman Butt having scored just six runs.

Ali collected 4 wickets for 19 runs from 6.1 overs, while Afzaal and Shah picked up three wickets each.

In reply, Langside, who were needing to score just 82 runs to win, lost an early wicket when Gregor Chambers had Rouman Butt caught by Chirag Pandher with the third ball of his opening over. Asad Khan and Sameer Ali then steadied the innings after that early loss and took the home score to 28 before Chambers got his second wicket.

Opening batsman Sameer Ali had shown that he was in good form and had scored 23, when the pace and accuracy of Chambers proved too good for him in the eighth over. He edged a ball from the Greenock opening bowler and the catch to dismiss him was taken by wicketkeeper Lukas Fischer-Keogh.

Langside moved steadily towards their target scoring at around four runs per over with Asad Khan and Mo Khan both scoring well. But in sight of their win two more wickets fell. First Jonathan Hempsey bowled Asad Khan for 19 with the score on 70 and then Greg McDougall picked up the wicket of new batsman Mo Kamran, bowled for just 5.

There were no more alarms for the Glasgow southsiders and their win was achieved in the 21st over with Mo Khan unbeaten on 27.

For Greenock, this loss leaves just six more matches remaining to find some wins to give themselves the chance of escaping relegation. The crucial games will be against fellow strugglers Poloc and Dumfries. Both of these matches are at Glenpark and both will need to be won.