1st XI lose out to Renfrewshire rivals

Greenock 1st XI v Ferguslie
WDCU Premiership One
Saturday 13th May 2023

Ferguslie 238 G Preston-Jones 61, B Esakhiel 37, U Ahmad 35; RR Dalal 4 for 39
Greenock 1st XI 126 GM Cambers 45; H Tahir 3 for 23


The 1st XI are still without a competitive win in the 2023 season. On Saturday the team fell to its third successive league defeat at the hands of 2022 Scottish Champions of Champions, Ferguslie.

It would have been an unlikely win had the Glenpark team managed to turn over their Renfrewshire rivals and in the end the difference in the overall abilities of the two teams was clear to see.

But despite winning by the handsome margin of 112 runs, Ferguslie did not have it all their own way during the match. The locals showed that they have a team which is not a long way off being able to compete closely with a top team such as Ferguslie.

On the warmest Saturday afternoon of the season so far, skipper Greg McDougall won the pre-match toss and invited Ferguslie to bat.

And it was the home side who were first out of the blocks. With only the fifth ball of the first over of play, the visitors' professional Mo Mayet was removed thanks to a brilliant catch taken by the home professional Rahul Dalal.

Mayet drove a good length delivery from Gregor Chambers into the cover area and it looked to be heading for the boundary until Dalal dived full length to his left and took a magnificent catch just inches from the ground.

The visitors quickly got over this setback as Gregor Preston-Jones and Bahadar Esakhiel built a fine partnership. After ten overs the two batters had taken their team's score to 51.

It was then that Greg McDougall brought himself on to bowl and it very nearly paid dividends. With his first ball, Preston-Jones played a full drive straight back to the bowler who almost held what would have been a magnificent catch.

The Ferguslie pair continued to score well and took the score to 97 in the 24th over at which point Esakhiel was then caught and bowled by Rahul Dalal having scored 37 runs.

The locals then picked up a further four Ferguslie wickets quite quickly, including Preston-Jones who was dismissed for 61 runs. He was caught by wicketkeeper Lukas Fischer-Keogh from the bowling of Dalal. The visitors' total when the sixth wicket fell was 133.

At this point, the team were very much in the match. But once again Ferguslie managed to get a partnership working thanks to Mo Ghaffar and Uzair Ahmad and the score moved on to 173 before Ghaffar was bowled by Nagendra Nagaraju for 16.

Ahmad was next to go just two runs later. He fell to a fine catch deep in the field by Harry Briggs from the bowling of Chirag Pandher, having scored 35 runs. And with just six overs remaining Ferguslie had scored 175 for the loss of 8 wickets.

Had the bowlers managed to finish off the Ferguslie innings quickly the team would have been in a good position. But those last six overs yielded 63 runs due to a combination of loose bowling and some fine shot-making by Haroon and Daoud Tahir.

Ferguslie were all out for 238 with just three balls of the 50th over remaining.

Top bowlers for the home side were Rahul Dalal with 4 wickets for 39 runs from 10 overs and Greg McDougall with 2 for 18 from 7.3 overs.

The 1st XI's reply began badly with the loss of both opening batsmen within the first nine overs and with only 18 runs scored. And when Dalal was removed cheaply in the tenth over, the prospects of winning the match had all but disappeared.

Wickets continued to tumble as the Glenparkers could not get a decent partnership going. At the mid-point in the innings they had slumped to 77 for the loss of 7 wickets

With only bonus points to play for, they needed to score a minimum of 60% of the Ferguslie score to secure the first of these and so there remained a target of 144 to aim for.

Gregor Chambers, who had come in at number five in the batting line-up, and Chirag Pandher at number nine developed a good partnership and for a while it seemed that the team might well manage to reach the first bonus point target.

Both players were scoring well and seemed to be getting confident with their batting. But then in the 35th over Pandher was adjudged LBW to Taimoor Ahmad immediately after having hit the Ferguslie bowler back over his head and out into Fox Street. Pandher had scored 18.

Chambers was the last man out in the 40th over for a fine innings of 45 runs as the innings ended on 126 all out.

Hartoon Tahir was the Paisley side's most successful bowler returning stats of 3 for 23 from 10 overs.