Greenock 214 for 7 (25 points)

Ferguslie 180 all out (5 points)

Greenock gained a magnificent win over Premier Division leaders Ferguslie at Meikleriggs on Saturday. Prior to this match, the Paisley side had played and won all five of their league matches and had lost only once in all competitive games played this season. Greenock had won only one league match and had only just moved off bottom spot following last weekend’s win over Uddingston. Saturday’s win moved Greenock up one more placing.

Greenock won the toss and opted to bat on a perfect afternoon for cricket. Openers Neil Flack and Harry Briggs made a great start by putting on 75 runs at a brisk pace of five runs an over. Flack, in particular, was taking the home bowlers, Jamie Carruthers and Daoud Tahir, to task in this early phase of the match as he found the boundary five times and also hoisted a maximum six.

The partnership ended in the sixteenth over when Briggs was stumped by David Stafford for 23 off the bowling of Hamza Tahir. But the runs continued to flow as Saurabh Bandekar joined Flack and the Indian professional showed his class with numerous fine shots which helped push the run rate up above five runs an over and on track for a potential score of above 250.

However, Ferguslie got back into the game by removing Bandekar in the 24th over when he was caught by Michael English for 33 off the bowling of Hamza Tahir with the score on 132. His dismissal saw the brisk run rate drop back and when Flack was caught by Riyaad Henry for 76 off the bowling of Haroon Tahir in the 29th over, only a further twelve runs had been added.

Greenock’s middle order dug in and kept the scoreboard ticking over but the flambuoyant strokeplay of the first half of the innings was over. Where earlier in the season Greenock might have collapsed, the middle order batted with purpose and the home bowlers were not given easy wickets.

Laurens Smit scored a useful 18 runs before becoming victim to Michael English’s bowling. And a fine 27 run seventh wicket partnership between Rod Mountford and Greg McDougall took Greenock past the 200 run mark in the 47th over. English was once again involved as he gained an LBW decision to remove McDougall for 14.

In the final two overs of the innings, Mountford (14 not out) and teenager Tom Forrest (7 not out) added a further 12 runs without loss and Greenock’s innings ended on 214 for the loss of 7 wickets.

Ferguslie opened their innings with Gregor Preston-Jones and Michael English both of whom had scored centuries in the Paisley club’s fine Scottish Cup win over Clydesdale the previous Sunday. There was to be no repeat of that feat as Preston-Jones was dismissed for just 12 runs caught by Rod Mountford from the bowling of Saurabh Bandekar with the score on 26 in the seventh over.

South African amateur Eliott Moses and English took the Ferguslie score along to 71 in the sixteenth over when Jonathan Hempsey struck to gain the first of three important wickets for the Glenparkers.

Moses was caught by McDougall for 30 and with just five more runs added the prized wicket of English was captured when the Ferguslie batsman was caught by Bandekar for 29.

Hempsey then picked up his third wicket when former Scottish internationalist Omar Hussain (6) was caught by Shailesh Prabhu and the Paisley side had slumped from 71 for the loss of one wicket to 83 for the loss of 4 wickets after 20 overs.

With high flying Ferguslie on the ‘back foot’ and in the unaccustomed position of struggling to avoid defeat, Neil Flack gained a sixth wicket for Greenock when he had Riyaad Henry smartly caught by Bandekar for 17 to leave the Paisley side on 102 for 5 midway through their innings.

And when Jonathan Hempsey had David Stafford (6) caught by Sean Fischer-Keogh with the score on 117 for 6, Ferguslie were in deep trouble.

A forty one run partnership between Taimoor Ahmed and Haroon Tahir provided some hope for the Meikleriggs supporters, but a three ball spell from Indian professional Saurabh Bandekar decisively moved the match in Greenock’s favour.

First to go was Haroon Tahir (24) brilliantly caught by wicket-keeper Harry Briggs diving full length to take a one handed catch. Jamie Carruthers and Hamza Tahir boththen had their middle stumps ripped out of the ground to leave Ferguslie on 158 for 9. Significantly this was Bandekar’s first ever career hat-trick and it came at a perfect time for Greenock.

Ferguslie's last wicket fell on 180 when Neil Flack had last man Daoud Tahir LBW for 13 leaving Taimoor Ahmad not out on 36.

Greenock’s celebrations took place on the park with the players overjoyed with the win, and off the park a sizeable Glenpark support applauded what was a great victory for Greenock and Ferguslie's first Premier Division loss of the season.

Hat-trick hero Bandekar took 4 wickets for 44 runs, Hempsey 4 for 43 and Flack 2 for 31.

On Saturday afternoon, Greenock’s 2ndXI (Glenpark) had a fine league win over second top GHK/Strathclyde at Glenpark. Put into bat, the Glenpark XI scored 154 for the loss of 7 wickets after 40 overs with Dave Sharma 41 and Mark Farrell 29 the top scorers.

In reply GHK/Strathclyde were bowled out for 96 in just 21.3 overs. Ewan Stewart with 3 wickets for 31 runs and Jamie Nowell 2 for 35 were Glenpark’s main wicket-takers. But it was a fine all round fielding display with three run-outs and six catches taken which set up the victory.

Also during the past week, the Greenock 1stXI gained a good West League (McCulloch) Cup win over Renfrew and each of Greenock’s age group teams U11, U12, U14 and U16 recorded wins.

Greenock Cricket Club is sponsored by Cleaning Supplies 4U