Greenock's fate sealed at Hamilton Crescent

West of Scotland vs Greenock 1st XI
WDCU CSL Premier Division
Saturday 4th September 2021

West of Scotland 275 for 9 S Page 101, J Oliver 47; SK Fischer-Keogh 3 for 50
Greenock 1st XI 81 B Cole 3 for 9


Greenock were heavily defeated by West of Scotland at Hamilton Crescent on Saturday and the looming likelihood of relegation, which has hung over Glenpark for much of the season, was finally formalised.

The margin of the loss was almost two hundred runs as the Glenparkers, once again, were unable to field a team which could meet the challenges of Premier Division cricket.

When the two sides met at Glenpark in early July, it was a much happier afternoon for the locals as it was Greenock who came out on top. But on that occasion the team contained five players who were unavailable on Saturday. Without their experience and cricketing abilities, the gulf in standard between the sides at Hamilton Crescent was all too apparent.

The win over the Hamilton Crescent side in July has been the Glenparkers' only ray of sunshine in what has been a dismal Premier Division campaign, and with relegation to the First Division now a certainty, Greenock must plan to rebuild and form a team which will be able to make a swift return to the top table of cricket in the west.

But to Saturday's match. West captain James Fennah won the toss and chose to bat first.

Greenock opened up with their usual pace bowling attack of Sean Fischer-Keogh and Gregor Chambers. The duo have been the one consistent highlight in the team's performances throughout the summer, and once more their opening salvos provided an early breakthrough.

With the last ball of the third over of play, West opening bat Benedict Cole was beaten by the pace of Sean Fischer-Keogh and he edged the ball through to Lukas Fischer-Keogh keeping wicket, who took the catch.

Despite their best efforts, and some good tight bowling, the two pacemen were unable to get another wicket as Sam Page and John Oliver showed determination in seeing them off.

The West batsmen built a fine century partnership which was eventually broken in the 28th over when Chirag Pandher took a good return catch off his own bowling to dismiss Oliver for 47 with the score on 124.

David Braithwaite joined Page and scored a very brisk 26 runs before he too was caught and bowled, this time by Sam Sanghera. And Sanghera then trapped incoming batsman Sam Jakobsen for just 4 runs in his very next over to make the score 166 for 4 in the 36th over.

Having batted themselves into a very commanding position, West continued to pile on the runs with James Fennah and opening bat Page taking the score past 200.

Greenock captain Greg McDougall made various changes to the bowling attack to try and get some wickets, and when teenager Aryan Sanghera was brought on he picked up the prize wicket of Page. The West opener had just reached his century when he presented a catching opportunity to Sam Sanghera who held on to take the applause of his son and the rest of the team. Page was out for 101.

New batsman Michael Miller was only briefly at the crease before being given out LBW to the bowling of McDougall himself.

In the closing stages of the innings, with Fischer-Keogh and Chambers both brought back into the attack, Greenock picked up three more wickets. Chambers had Fennah (29) caught by Chirag Pandher before Fischer-Keogh in his tenth and final over had Dave McNulty (9) caught behind and Gavin Smith cleaned bowled without troubling the scorers.

Number 8 batsman Tom Spensley was not out 29 when the West innings closed on 275 for the loss of 9 wickets.

Fischer Keogh was Greenock's top bowler with 3 wickets. The other wicket-takers were Sam Sanghera (2) and Chambers, McDougall, Pandher and Aryan Sanghera each with one.

Greenock's reply to West's mammoth total needed to get off to a quickfire, sound start if the run chase was going to have any chance of success. It did not, as with just fifteen runs on the board and ten overs bowled, the Glenparkers were already three wickets down.

First to go was Shailesh Prabhu with the second ball of the innings. He was caught behind the wicket by David Braithwaite off the bowling of West's top wicket-taker, pace bowler Gavin Smith.

Smith and Braithwaite combined again for the second wicket when Chirag Pandher (4) edged the ball to the wicket-keeper in the seventh over. And just three overs later, Gregor Chambers (3) was bowled by Smith's opening partner John Oliver.

Greenock badly needed a good partnership to develop to try and get back into the game.

Lukas Fischer-Keogh and Ewan Stewart did put together the biggest partnership of the innings for the fourth wicket. They added 33 runs to take the score to 48 before Stewart (14) was bowled by Dave McNulty.

However, when the partnership was eventually broken, the required run rate was way above what Greenock had any hope of achieving. And the team's position was only worsened by the loss of two more quick wickets when Aryan Sanghera and then Fischer-Keogh (14) were dismissed with the score on just 50.

The last four Greenock wickets added another 31 runs before the game ended with Greenock trailing West's total by 194 runs.

Benedict Cole made up for his lack of runs at the top of the batting order for West by running through the Greenock tail-end batsmen. In a spell of a little under four overs he picked up 3 wickets for just 9 runs to end up as the home side's top bowler in the match.