1st XI outgunned by Ayr

Greenock 1st XI v Ayr
WDCU Premiership One
Saturday 6th May 2023

Ayr 266 for 7 J Frylinck 91, MM English 69
Greenock 1st XI 147 for 9 T Polkinghorne 54; ND Flack 3 for 19


In the Western Premiership One match against Ayr at Glenpark on Saturday afternoon, the visitors won the toss and opted to bat.

Ayr's opening partnership of Michael English and Neil Flack, who had an opening stand of 172 against Prestwick in their first league match the week before, began as though they would provide a repeat at Glenpark.

The pair had put on 60 runs in just a little more than 12 overs, and seemed in complete control, when skipper Greg McDougall caught and bowled Flack who had scored 17 runs.

Lloyd Jefferson joined English and a further twenty runs were added before Rahul Dalal took a catch off the bowling of Nagendra Nagaraju to dismiss the new batsman for 16.

Ayr's number four batsman Michael Maxwell lasted just five balls before being run out without scoring to leave Ayr on 82 for the loss of 3 wickets in the 19th over and the 1st XI were at this point well in the game.

But opening batsman Michael English was in fine form and along with the team's professional, Namibian Jan Frylinck who had only two days previously arrived in Scotland, runs flowed fairly freely for the next 12 overs.

However, with the first ball of the 31st over, local pro Rahul Dalal trapped English LBW for a fine knock of 69 runs from 75 balls faced. Ayr were 137 for 4.

The delight at the removal of English was short lived as Frylinck and new batsman Jake Woodhouse continued to score at a good pace and a challenging total grew more likely with every over that passed.

Woodhouse was run out for 29 at the beginning of the 41st over when the visitors' score had moved along to 188 and a fifth wicket was captured just two overs later when the often dangerous Scott McElnea was bowled by McDougall for just three runs.

McElnea's dismissal left Ayr on 203 for 6 with seven overs of their innings remaining but with Frylinck very well established at the crease.

The Namibian, who by this time had passed his fifty, continued to score freely and in one over hit a massive six over the Bedford Street wall and quickly followed up with a couple of boundaries. He was within sight of his century when he attempted to hit a second six out of the ground only to be caught by Tom Polkinghorne at deep long off for 91 runs from 91 balls faced.

The visitors' innings was completed at the end of fifty overs with the scoreboard showing 266 for 7, a huge total to chase in the second half of the match.

Needing a good partnership to get the innings off to a sound start, the Glenparkers opened with Tom Polkinghorne and Lukas Fischer-Keogh both of whom had scored half centuries the previous Saturday against Dumfries and shared a 120 run third wicket partnership.

But the plan failed to work as Fischer-Keogh was dismissed for just six runs, caught and bowled by his former Greenock team-mate Neil Flack in just the third over of the innings.

However Polkinghorne and Rahul Dalal began to build a good second wicket partnership and had added 41 runs when Dalal failed to properly execute his shot and was caught by Flack at backward point off the bowling of Frylinck.

The dismissal of Dalal was a big blow to the team who were needing a large partnership if Ayr's total was to be challenged.

A decent third wicket partnership of 54 runs did develop between Polkinghorne and Gregor Chambers before Chambers was stumped by wicketkeeper Miller for 24 off the bowling of Flack.

But with the total on 102 from 32 overs completed, the home side required to score a further 165 runs to win the match from just 18 overs which remained. This meant a run rate of just a little more than 9 runs per over were needed.

A not impossible task but a highly unlikely one ! And so it proved.

Following the dismissal of Chambers, the remaining batsmen in the line-up were unable to make much forward progress against the visitors' bowling as the remaining wickets fell with regularity as the overs ran down.

By the end of the innings the only achievement was that the side had not been completely bowled out and finished on 147 for the loss of 9 wickets. But this total was insufficient to gain any batting bonus points as a minimum score of 160, 60% of the first innings total, was required for the first bonus point available.

For the second league match in succession, Tom Polkinghorne was the top scorer with 54 runs while for Ayr, former Greenock captain Neil Flack produced the best bowling figures of 3 wickets for 19 runs from his 10 overs.