1st XI lose out in low-scoring game at Dumfries


Greenock 1st XI 107 CJ Nowlan 37; C Reynolds-Lewis 5 for 26, A Davidson 3 for 27
Dumfries 108 for 7 CJ Nowlan 3 for 40


Dumfries Cricket Club's home ground Nunholm has seldom been a happy hunting ground for the 1st XI in recent years and so it was once again on Saturday.

Normally a ground which provides high scoring matches, this one was an uncharacteristic low scoring affair which nevertheless produced an exciting finish.

Captain Greg McDougall won the toss of the coin prior to the start of the match and chose to bat first. But with several first team players unavailable, the batting order took on an unusual appearance with Chirag Pandher, normally a lower order batsman, being elevated to open with Connor Nowlan.

The opening partnership started off reasonably well with Nowlan scoring three boundaries in the first 4 overs. However, with the second ball of the sixth over Pandher was bowled for 3 by Alan Davidson with score on 18.

Just two overs later, Davidson picked up the wicket of new batsman Angus Tolhurst who edged a good length delivery to Jacob Van Zyl at first slip. This was a major blow as Tolhurst had been the in-form batsman for the team with almost 200 runs scored by him in two matches last weekend.

Worse followed with both Cammy Calder and PJ Bryceland both removed without scoring before 12 overs had been completed and with the visitors' score struggling at 43 for the loss of 4 wickets.

The afternoon deteriorated even further when Connor Nowlan, the only batsman who seemed able to score runs, was judged leg before wicket (LBW) trying to sweep Calum Reynolds-Lewis in the fifteenth over. He had scored 37 runs and the score had moved on to 58.

Right arm slow bowler Reynolds-Lewis then collected a hat-trick in the seventeenth over of the innings. First, he trapped Usman Mansoor LBW, then had Vishal Yadav caught at short cover and lastly bowled Greg McDougall, all three batsmen failing to trouble the scorers. 58 for 4 wickets had plunged to 58 for 7 wickets.

Sam Sanghera and Muhibullah Ahmadzai then stemmed the flow of wickets with a much needed eighth wicket partnership of 39 runs which took the score to 97 before Ahmadzai was given out LBW to Reynolds-Lewis having contributed 14 runs.

Sam Sanghera used his experience and remained not out at the close of the innings in the 32nd over. He scored 28 runs from 62 balls but showed that staying out in the middle and occupying the crease brings runs. Greenock were all out for 107.

Having scored 290 runs against Glasgow Accies on the opening Saturday of the season just last week, Dumfries must have fancied being able to easily score the 108 runs to win the match.

The home side made a steady start to their innings with openers Chris Bellwood and Adam Malik putting on 26 runs from the first six overs. Connor Nowlan then had Malik caught by stand-in wicketkeeper Chirag Pandher.

A second Dumfries wicket went down with the last ball of the tenth over when Angus Tolhurst's slow left arm bowling deceived Jacob Van Zyl and Pandher took his second catch of the innings.

Then just two balls later with the second ball of the eleventh over, Nowlan bowled Bellwood for 22 with the score on 41 for 3.

If Dumfries were beginning to get a little anxious, their concerns became greater when two more quick wickets fell with the home team score in the sixties. Dawson was caught by Tolhurst for 7 and then in the very next over Maritz was caught by Ahmadzai for 14.

The score was 67 for the loss of 5 wickets in the twentieth over. Still 41 runs needed for the win.

Alan Davidson, whose innings in summer 2023 thwarted a Greenock league win at Nunholm, lasted only two overs before being caught by Sam Sanghera off the bowling of Chirag Pandher who had changed from wicketkeeper to right arm slow bowler.

The visitors sensed that one more wicket could lead to the lower order collapsing and a win would be possible.

However, Fergus Bainbridge and Wahid Jabarkhil settled in to make a match-winning partnership before Bainbridge was caught for 28 by Sanghera to give Pandher a second wicket.

It was the wicket the team had been searching for but it came too late as only seven more runs were needed to give Dumfries the win. And the win came shortly after in the 29th over without any more alarms for the home side.