1st XI keep season alive with Dumfries victory

Greenock 1st XI v Dumfries
WDCU Premiership One
Saturday 1st July 2023

Dumfries 143 for 4 S Beveridge 59, J Maritz 40
Greenock 1st XI 145 for 6 RR Dalal 74*


The 1st XI kept their Western Premiership One season alive with an important win over Dumfries at Glenpark on Saturday. Unsettled, showery weather resulted in a delayed start and play only got under way around 3pm instead of 12 noon. It was a match which both teams were keen to play and both needed to win.

The work of groundstaff and players was eventually rewarded when Cricket Scotland Match Official Association(CSMOA) umpires Majid Haq and Ronnie Martin gave the go-ahead for the match to start with a reduced 30 overs per side instead of the usual 50 overs per side.

Captain Greg McDougall chose to insert Dumfries when the visitors lost the pre-match toss of the coin. It was a good omen for the Glenpark side and a positive beginning to the match.

Dumfries began their innings with top scoring batsman Adam Malik and occasional top order batsman Sibo Sithole as their opening pair while the experienced Jonathan Hempsey partnered Gregor Chambers as the team's opening bowlers.

The first two overs provided the visitors with an encouraging start to their innings with ten runs recorded. But early in the third over Malik and Sithole got into a mix-up and Malik was run out thanks to quick-thinking from Greg McDougall and Lukas Fischer-Keogh behind the stumps.

The removal of Malik so early in the innings provided the team with a psychological boost and eager to pick up more wickets. But the visitors settled and despite tight bowling from Hempsey and Chambers the visitors moved on to 37 after the eleven overs without further loss.

However, Sithole and South African overseas amateur Jordan Maritz were only scoring at a rate of less than four runs per over and with the match reduced to 30 overs per side the pair needed to become more expansive with their shot-making.

McDougall made the change to slower, spin bowling to entice the batsmen into hitting out. Rahul Dalal and newly arrived Nikhil Kadyan were introduced into the bowling attack and it soon paid off.

Towards the end of the fourteenth over the Dumfries score had crept along to 52. With the pressure on the batsmen, Sithole, who had only scored 13 runs from 41 balls faced, attempted to hit Dalal to the boundary only to be bowled.

The dismissal of the slow scoring Sithole brought Aussie Scott Beveridge to the middle to join South African Maritz. The southern hemisphere pair raised the run rate to slightly above 5 runs per over during their partnership. But as the end of the 22nd over approached, Maritz was dismissed when he was bowled by Tom Polkinghorne for 40.

The visitors' score at the end of twenty two overs was 94 and so with just eight overs remaining an acceleration in run-scoring was needed to set tehir opposition a challenging total.

An increase in the rate did occur, but few boundaries were made until the twenty seventh over when a late desperate attempt to get quick runs resulted in Scott Beveridge smashing five boundaries before being bowled by Polkinghorne for 59 runs from 49 balls faced.

Following Beveridge's removal only a further five runs were added to the visitors score from the remaining seven balls of the innings to take the final score to 143 for the loss of 4 wickets.

In a good all round bowling and fielding performance, Tom Polkinghorne finished as the most successful bowler with 2 wickets for 23 runs from 4 overs bowled.

Needing just slightly less than five runs per over, the home side were in an excellent position to gain their second Premiership One win of the season.

The innings opened with Lukas Fischer-Keogh and Shailesh Prabhu and the pair made a confident start. Fischer-Keogh hit the visitors' opening pace bowler James Hobman for two boundaries in the first over and then Prabhu joined in with a boundary from Alan Davidson's first over.

However, the good start was short lived as Hobman bowled Fischer-Keogh for 8 runs with the third ball of his second over.

Gregor Chambers joined Prabhu and the pair showed that the tactic was to continue to attack and score quickly. But with 32 runs on the scoreboard Dumfries made a double wicket breakthrough. Firstly Chambers was LBW to Hobman with the last ball of the fifth over. And then with the first ball of the sixth over Chris Brockwell bowled Prabhu (12).

The two wickets brought together Rahul Dalal and Nikhil Kadyan, playing his first game for the Club. The pair quickly gelled and their partnership produced 58 runs before Kadyan (12) provided a return catch to Tom McGrath.

And half way through their innings, at the end of the fifteenth over, the team were on 97 for the loss of 4 wickets, well ahead of the necessary run rate and needing just 57 runs to win.

A fifth wicket partnership of 28 runs between Dalal and Polkinghorne took the team halfway to their target. But then Dumfries struck for a second time with two wickets in two balls to ensure they would not just cruise to their target.

However, there were to be no more successes for Dumfries as Dalal continued to show his class as a batsman. He stroked his way to 74 not out from just 54 balls and was supported for the final act by Aryan Sanghera.

The winning runs were scored with the first ball of the 25th over and appropriately it was a boundary from Dalal which brought the victory.

So the 1st XI gained the win which was so important and now have eight games remaining to find some further wins to try and retain their Premiership One position.