Greenock overcome East Kilbride with ease

Greenock 1st XI vs East Kilbride
WDCU CSL First Division
Saturday 9th July 2022

East Kilbride 79 S Kampman 33; RA Walker 3 for 12, TJ Nicholson 3 for 26
Greenock 1st XI 80 for 2 TJ Nicholson 52


Greenock safely negotiated another hurdle on their path to promotion back to the Premier Division of the WDCU when they comfortably defeated East Kilbride by 8 wickets at Glenpark on Saturday.

On a pleasant, sunny day for cricket, the visitors won the toss and elected to bat first. While Greenock required to win to stay in the promotion hunt, their opponents similarly needed a victory to pull themselves away from the relegation area of Division 1.

East Kilbride's openers, Alan and Gavin Meikle, made a tentative start to their innings, faced by Greenock's opening attack of Gregor Chambers and skipper Greg McDougall. After 3 overs, only 4 runs were on board and these were all courtesy of wides bowled by McDougall. In the 4th over, McDougall enticed Gavin Meikle into a rash shot into the leg side where Harry Briggs took a fine catch. Meikle out for zero with the score on 4 for 1.

By the end of the 6th over, the score had increased to 12 for 1, with amazingly all 12 runs resulting from wides bowled by the Greenock openers. It took until the 4th ball of the 7th over before the first run was scored off the bat.

Alan Meikle had been joined by his skipper, Stewart Kampman, and they struggled to make any headway against the Greenock attack. In the 11th over, by which time Ryan Walker had replaced Chambers, Meikle attempted a rash shot across the line and was given out leg before by the umpire.

The score mounted very slowly and had only reached 29 for 2 after 18 overs as the two Aussies, Walker and Nicholson, completely tied down the batsmen. The experienced Muhammad Ramzan was the next man to fall, caught by Aryan Sanghera off Walker and then Nicholson got into the act, bowling Kakar and then trapping Rajmohan in front off the very next ball. East Kilbride were now 30 for 5 and in dire need of someone to support Kampman.

The next two batsmen did not last long. Steven Moug played back to Walker but in doing so, he hit the stumps with his bat and was dismissed hit wicket. Indeed he hit them so hard that he broke the bails! Then Doyle attempted to attack Nicholson but only succeeded in slicing the ball to Sanghera in the offside. The score was now 39 for 7 with almost half the allocated overs used up.

Shahid Mahmood now joined Kampman and they put on 18 for the 8th wicket, the highest partnership of the innings before Mahmood was pinned in front by the returning Chambers. Chirag Pandher had by now replaced Nicholson at the end of his 10 over stint and he bowled Khan for 6 before Kampman was last out after a stoic innings of 33, made off 100 balls, caught on the leg-side by Briggs off Chambers as he attempted to increase East Kilbride's score while he could.

It had taken 35.1 overs for East Kilbride to amass, if that is the right word, 79 runs. Walker with 3 for 12 and Nicholson 3 for 26 were the main wicket-takers, knocking the heart out of the East Kilbride innings in an outstanding 20 over spell, while Gregor Chambers took 2 for 16. The only negative aspect of the Greenock attack was their concession of 16 wides, without which the visitors' total would have been even sorrier.

If East Kilbride's innings was a turgid affair, Greenock's reply was the exact opposite. Tom Nicholson and Lukas Fischer-Keogh kept the scoreboard ticking over from the first ball with Nicholson the driving force with anything loose or off line being quickly punished. He took 12 runs off the 6th over bowled with 3 exquisite boundaries and by the end of the 10th over, the score had reached 51 without loss.

It looked indeed as if Greenock were heading for a 10-wicket victory but with the finishing line in reach at 73, slow bowler David Doyle removed Nicholson leg before for a well-compiled 52, made off 50 balls with 10 boundaries. 4 runs later, Harry Briggs attempted to hit the winning run but was caught in the deep for just 3 and it was left to Ryan Walker to hit the winning runs in the 16th over to secure the victory.

This result leaves Greenock in second place in the league table on 91%, behind Stenhousemuir who still have a 100% record and who on Saturday recorded a massive 254 run victory over Irvine, who are Greenock's next opponents. Kilmarnock remain in 3rd place, closely followed by Drumpellier and it is these four teams who will decide the eventual promotion places.

For their part, Greenock need to adopt that well-known cliche of taking each game as it comes for the rest of the season. Any slip-up would bring Kilmarnock and Drumpellier right back into the picture.