Greenock's convincing 9-wicket win at Hillhead

Hillhead vs Greenock 1st XI
WDCU CSL First Division
Saturday 25th June 2022

Hillhead 110 GM Chambers 3 for 25
Greenock 1st XI 113 for 1 HR Briggs 52*


Greenock recorded a convincing nine wicket victory over Hillhead at a very windy Hughenden on Saturday. The result means that the Glenpark team finish the first half of the league season with six wins from the seven matches which have been completed. It places the team in second top position behind unbeaten Stenhousemuir and just 3.42 % ahead of third placed Kilmarnock.

Hillhead elected to bat first and James Lindley-Hawe dealt with the first ball of the match with a positive shot which produced only a single due to a fine piece of fielding.

The remainder of the over from pace bowler Gregor Chambers produced a sensational start for Greenock. With his fourth ball, Chambers caught and bowled Hillhead's high scoring New Zealand batsman Ben Ward for a 'duck' and then with his last ball he bowled Hasan Azhar, also without scoring.

After this poor start to the innings, Hillhead settled into a period of cautious batting. A partnership between Lindley-Hawe and Jack Holland nudged the home score along to 38 in the 12th over. But then Greenock made a third breakthrough when Holland (19) presented a return catch to Greg McDougall who was bowling from the Gartnavel end.

Hillhead lost a fourth wicket on 57 when Ross Jones (9) attempted to hit Tom Nicholson's bowling for six only for his towering shot to be brilliantly caught on the boundary by Harry Briggs.

In the eight overs which followed, the home batsmen got completely bogged down by the leg spin of Nicholson and Ryan Walker and only seven runs were added before Lindley-Hawe tried to break out by hitting Walker to the long off boundary. However his shot went straight up skywards and was caught by Nicholson at mid-off. The opening batsman had scored 21 from 80 balls.

Hillhead were in even deeper trouble a little more than five overs later when Rod Mountford was brought on to bowl as a replacement for Tom Nicholson who had completed his allowance of 10 overs. With his very first ball Mountford had Shehroz Mehmood (6) stumped by wicket-keeper Lukas Fischer-Keogh and the home side were then 73 for 6 in the 35th over.

A seventh wicket partnership by Paul Bartlett and Paul Collins added another 31 runs but was ended in the 41st over with Bartlett dismissed for 22. The Hillhead batsman hit a crisp low drive off the bowling of Mountford only to see Ryan Walker take a brilliant catch diving full length to his right at mid-off.

In the following over, Collins (5) was adjudged LBW to the bowling of Ewan Stewart with no further runs added to the score.

Opening pace bowler Gregor Chambers was brought back into the Greenock attack in the 45th over and with just the third ball of his new spell he trapped Mark Forbes LBW without scoring.

Just one more run was added to the total when the Hillhead innings ended on 110 in the 46th over. Jared Bartlett (5) was the last man out caught by Greenock captain Greg McDougall from the bowling of Ewan Stewart.

Gregor Chambers took 3 wickets for 25 runs from 8 overs, Rod Mountford 2 for 15, Ewan Stewart 2 for 18 and Greg McDougall, Tom Nicholson and Ryan Walker each had one wicket.

In the absence of several first team regulars, Lukas Fischer-Keogh was promoted up the Greenock batting order to open the innings with Australian amateur Tom Nicholson. The opening pair made steady progress without any alarms against the Hillhead bowling attack.

After eight overs 34 runs were on the scoreboard with Nicholson and Fischer-Keogh each having found the boundary on two occasions and Nicholson having hit Ayub Khan for a maximum '6'.

However, with the score on 39 in the eleventh over, Hillhead got the prized wicket of the First Division's second top run scorer, Nicholson. He attempted an off drive to a ball from Mark Forbes but instead of the ball coming off the middle of the bat, it found the edge and glided to first slip where Paul Bartlett took a smart catch to dismiss the Aussie for 26.

Harry Briggs, who scored 61 against GHK in the previous league match, joined Fischer-Keogh out in the middle and he continued his fine form with the bat. The Greenock pair batted well together with Briggs taking the major role and the Hillhead total was overtaken in the 31st over.

Briggs was not out 52 having scored six boundaries and one maximum '6'. Fischer-Keogh batted throughout the innings for 24 with two boundaries.

Greenock can now look forward to the second half of the league programme with their promotion hopes still intact and with an important trip to third placed Kilmarnock next Saturday. A win at the Scott Ellis Playing Fields would open a good gap between Greenock and other promotion hopefuls.