1st XI obtain vital win at Prestwick

Prestwick v Greenock 1st XI
WDCU Premiership One
Saturday 29th July 2023

Greenock 1st XI 183 T Polkinghorne 62, HR Briggs 54; R Alexander 3 for 21, S Chaudhary 3 for 25
Prestwick 144 D Du Randt 39, F Rao 35


The 1st XI gained a hugely important win against Prestwick on Saturday. The victory was by the margin of 39 runs and keeps alive the team's hopes of retaining their place in the WDCU Premiership One division.

Not for the first time in recent weeks the unsettled weather caused issues in matches across the Premiership and at the Henry Thow Oval there was a rain interruption to play during the Prestwick innings.

The Duckworth Lewis Stern (DLS) system was referred to at the time of the rain interruption and showed Prestwick to be 21 runs behind the necessary run rate. This would have given Greenock the win had there been no further play. However, as play was able to resume, and there were no further breaks for rain, the match was able to be played out in full.

Skipper Greg McDougall won the pre-match coin toss and elected to bat first.

The team lost opening bat Shailesh Prabhu in just the second over of play but this brought together Tom Polkinghorne and Harry Briggs and the pair settled in to a fine partnership.

After ten overs they had taken the score to 46 with Briggs, in particular, displaying some attacking shots. In one over from Jonathan Hulme, he hit the Prestwick bowler for a four, a six and another four in consecutive balls.

By the end of twenty overs, the score had moved on to 86 with Polkinghorne and Briggs continuing to be comfortable with the home bowling.

But with 102 runs on the scoreboard, and immediately following a drinks break, the 98 run partnership was broken when Briggs was caught by wicketkeeper Fleet from the bowling of Inderjit Singh for 54.

With a fine platform having been created, there was the prospect of a high total to target with slightly more than 20 overs remaining and eight wickets in hand.

In-form Rahul Dalal joined Polkinghorne and the run-scoring tempo increased as the pro looked to put the team into a strong position. However, an attempted six hit off the bowling of Singh found the safe hands of South African amateur Donovan Du Randt just inside the boundary line in front of the clubhouse in the 36th over and Dalal was returned to the 'shed' for 19 with the score on 138.

Despite the loss of Dalal, and also Lukas Fischer-Keogh soon afterwards, the run-scoring continued at a good pace with Polkinghorne and Gregor Chambers cleverly alternating the strike with good running between the wickets.

But with the score on 172 in the 42nd over, Polkinghorne, who had been the anchor in the batting, fell in similar fashion to Dalal when he was caught in the deep by Euan McBeth for a very creditable 62 runs.

The removal of Polkinghorne signalled a collapse. Instead of using the remaining eight overs to take the total over 200, the last five wickets fell for just eleven runs as Prestwick ripped through the remaining batting and the team were all out for 183 with just two balls of the 50 over innings remaining.

Top wicket-takers for Prestwick were Ronan Alexander with 3 for 21 and Sachin Chaudhary 3 for 25.

The team made the best possible start after the tea interval by capturing the wicket of Prestwick's second South African amateur Matthew Van Der Mescht with just the fourth ball of the very first over. The opening bat clipped the ball from pace bowler Gregor Chambers off his legs straight to Chirag Pandher at square leg who took a straightforward catch.

Prestwick then settled into a steady run-scoring rhythm with Sachin Chaudhary and Tom Fleet looking sharp and scoring a number of boundaries as the home score moved along at the target rate of four runs per over.

The important wicket of former professional Chaudhary was gained in the sixth over when he edged a delivery from Sam Sanghera and Lukas Fischer-Keogh took the catch behind the stumps. He had scored 19 with four boundaries and was looking dangerous as always.

Worse followed for Prestwick, as just four balls later at the start of the seventh over Gregor Chambers captured his second wicket when he trapped new batsman Euan McBeth (1) LBW to leave the Ayrshire side struggling on 27 for 3.

Sam Sanghera picked up his second wicket and Prestwick's fourth with the score on 40 in the tenth over when he trapped Tom Fleet LBW for 12.

Donovan Du Randt and Gurupreet Singh steadied the home innings and looked comfortable for a period as seven overs went by and 25 runs were added. But then Greg McDougall in just his second over bowled Singh for 14.

And the game moved further in the team's direction with the fall of Prestwick's sixth wicket in the very next over. New batsman Inderjit Singh attempted a big hit off the bowling of Rahul Dalal only to be caught at deep mid wicket by Aryan Sanghera.

Prestwick were then 68 for 6 after 18 overs and with 32 overs still to be played needed 116 runs to win at a rate of just 3.6 runs per over.

Donovan Du Randt and Fletcher Rao got a good partnership going and had added 38 runs when heavy rain interrupted play after 26 overs had been bowled.

When play recommenced Sam Sanghera was brought back on to bowl but the first over of his second spell went for ten runs with Du Randt and Rao each helping themselves to a boundary.

However, next over Chirag Pandher was brought into the attack and with his very first ball had Du Randt brilliantly stumped by Lukas Fischer-Keogh for 39 to make Prestwick 114 for 7.

Rao and Callan Turner added another 16 runs before Dalal picked up Prestwick's eighth wicket by trapping Turner LBW for 6.

The win was wrapped up in the 37th over. Firstly, Rao was run out by a piece of fine fielding from Aryan Sanghera when the Prestwick batsman set off for a run only to be turned back by his batting partner Ronan Alexander. Rao had scored 35.

And just two balls later Alexander was bowled by McDougall to give the team an impressive and massively important third league win.

Chambers 2 for 25, Sanghera 2 for 45, Dalal 2 for 37 , McDougall 2 for 27 and Pandher 1 for 9 were the wicket-takers.

Four matches remain in the Premiership programme for the team to gain results to remain in the top division. The win at Prestwick will have given the team a real incentive to do so.