Greenock unable to break league duck

Poloc vs Greenock 1st XI
WDCU CSL Premier Division
Saturday 19th June 2021

Greenock 1st XI 113 ND Flack 43; K Sajjad 3 for 22
Poloc 117 for 4 S Sajjad 32, K Sajjad 32*


Greenock slipped to their third successive Premier Division defeat on Saturday afternoon when they went down by six wickets to Poloc at Shawholm.

The Glasgow southside team won the toss and inserted Greenock on a slow paced wicket. The tactic to bowl first paid an early dividend when opening bowler Robert Cathcart trapped Shailesh Prabhu leg before wicket (LBW) with the third ball of the sixth over. The score was on 14.

Harry Briggs joined Neil Flack out in the middle and Greenock gradually began to build a fine second wicket partnership with the in-form Flack once again the dominant batsman. He seemed in complete control against the Poloc attack and scored a number of fine boundaries as the score moved along past fifty and provided Greenock with a sound platform to the innings.

Flack was well supported by Briggs who was content to play a secondary role picking up singles rather than looking for boundaries.

The pair were still together in the 22nd over with the score on 71 when Briggs was undone by a ball from Ahmed which barely rose from the 'deck' and bowled him for 18.

The breaking of the Flack/Briggs partnership was the turning point in the match. The pair had added 57 runs and put Greenock into a good position. But as so often happens, one loss leads to another. And so it was at Shawholm on Saturday, as, with just one more run added, Flack edged a delivery from Ahmed, in the Poloc bowler's very next over, and was caught behind by wicketkeeper Saif Sajjad.

Flack's innings of 43 runs was well crafted and included six boundaries.

Disappointingly for Greenock, the partnership was the only one of any note. Instead of building on the work done by Flack and Briggs, the remainder of the batting line-up just could not get to grips with the Poloc bowling. One by one they were returned to the Greenock 'covid' corner as a gradual batting collapse ensued.

From 71 for the loss of just one wicket in the 22nd over, the Glenparkers' innings descended to 113 all out in the 45th over. After the departures of Flack and Briggs, most of the wickets which fell were soft dismissals, with no fewer than five simple, straightforward catches offered to the Glasgow side who accepted them all with increasing celebration.

Poloc used six bowlers and five got wickets. Kess Sajjad was most successful with 3 for 22 from 9 overs. The other wicket-takers were Imran Adrees 2 for 22, Robert Cathcart 2 for 17, Waseem Ahmed 2 for 22 and Ahmed-Raza Hanif 1 for 18.

Set a total of just 114 to win, Poloc required only to bat through their allotted fifty overs with a degree of care to get the win.

Greenock's opening bowling attack was led by Gregor Chambers and Neil Flack providing a mixture of pace from Chambers and off spin from Flack. The Poloc openers Qazi and Ali made slow progress in the opening overs and they survived until Sean Fischer-Keogh was brought into the attack and his extra pace resulted in the opening breakthrough in the fourteenth over when Ali (6) had his off stump knocked over with the score on 25.

Saif Sajjad joined Qazi and the score moved slowly along to 45 in the 21st over. At the same point in their innings Greenock had been 68 for the loss of one wicket.

Fischer-Keogh then struck again, with his pace too much for Qazi, and for a second time the timbers were knocked back and Greenock sensed that they were still very much in the game.

However, Saif Sajjad put the advantage firmly in Poloc's grip when he smashed several boundaries in the 23rd over. But a change of bowling brought immediate reward for Greenock when Sam Sanghera's very first ball had Sajjad caught by Sean Fischer-Keogh for 32 making the score 74 for the loss of 3 wickets at the midway stage of the home side's fifty overs

Kess Sajjad continued where his brother left off and attacked the Greenock bowling, hitting several boundaries as the Shawholm total got closer to the winning line.

One more wicket did get taken as Andrew Mallichan (7) was bowled by Jonathan Hempsey who was making his first outing for the 2021 season. But it did not stop Poloc from gaining a win in the 36th over with Kess Sajjad unbeaten on 32.

Greenock's bowlers stuck well to their task but it was an uphill struggle with not enough runs having been scored in their own innings. Sean Fischer-Keogh continued to show why the Scotland coaches and selectors recognise his potential, as the Under-19 international took 2 wickets for just 13 runs in his 7 overs.

The loss to Poloc puts Greenock firmly on the bottom rung of the Premier Division table and wins will be needed in the weeks ahead if the Glenparkers are to lift themselves from this lowly position.