Greenock give themselves lifeline
William Dick (CricketMedia Scotland)
IT is fair to conclude that Greenock’s 150th anniversary celebrations will not be remembered for any vintage performances on the field.
Indeed, a season marred by atrocious weather and some pretty mediocre cricket has often looked destined to end in relegation from the Western Premier Division.
Certainly, there have been few reminders of the glories that saw the proud Glenpark club dominate the domestic game less than a decade ago.
However, reports of Greenock’s demise may have been exaggerated.
There is life yet in a side who travelled to Langloan on Saturday as bottom-of-the-table no-hopers against upwardly mobile Drumpellier, the form side in the division with three consecutive wins.
Greenock headed back down the M8 having secured a morale-boosting victory to lift them off the foot of the table and restore belief that they can still dodge the drop to division one.
Their performance in the field was based on team work with wickets shared around while Drumpellier posted a respectable 195-7, Stevie Allison (42no) and Graeme McLaren (41) the main contributors.
The run-chase was dominated by the individual brilliance of Sailesh Prabhu, an often unheralded opening batsman.
On this occasion Prabhu carried his bat for a superb unbeaten 79, featuring ten boundaries, as Greenock won with seven wickets and nine balls to spare.
Mpho Sekhoto, the South African professional, lent able support with 46.
At the other end of the table the lead changed once again as Clydesdale’s defeat to Uddingston allowed Dumfries to reclaim top spot.
The bitter rivalry which is a feature of fixtures between Clydesdale and Uddingston threatened to spill over during a fractious Titwood clash.
Indeed, umpire Brian Papworth was forced to appeal for calm at one stage as both sides appeared to give as good as they got during some lively verbal exchanges.
The cricketing exchanges ultimately went in favour of Uddingston who had the game’s star performer in Calum MacLeod.
MacLeod first claimed three wickets as Dale fought back from a difficult start to post 222-8, Majid Haq top-scoring with 52.
The Uddingston captain also led the way with the bat, his unbeaten 76 underpinning a successful run-chase during which Sri Lankan Ras Priyadarshana made 75 before MacLeod’s brother, Allan, hastened the end with some lusty blows.
Dumfries, meanwhile, rediscovered their early season form with an impressive run-chase against Ayr at Nunholm.
Craig Thyssen 83 had helped the visitors post 215 despite Chris McCutcheon’s three wickets.
However, Chris Bellwood again demonstrated his growing prowess with the bat.
Sitting in the top ten in the averages, Bellwood already has a score of 99 to his name in the present campaign.
Here his composed unbeaten 92, complemented by Scott Beveridge’s 54, was enough to guide Dumfries to a four-wicket win with an over to spare.
West of Scotland have also edged ahead of Clydesdale, rekindling their title hopes with a comprehensive nine-wicket win at Stirling who have now fallen below Greenock at the foot of the table.