A SIGNIFICANTLY understrength Greenock side was outplayed by Premier Division leaders Clydesdale at Glenpark on Saturday afternoon and the visitors returned to Glasgow with a win, 25 points and their unbeaten run intact.

Nevertheless, throughout the match, the Glenpark side never gave up and showed grit and determination against a much more experienced side which included Scotland’s most capped international and former Greenock player Richie Berrington.

Berrington, who still lives close to Glenpark, played an entertaining innings for the spectators to enjoy as he showed his class with a fine century on his ‘old’ home ground.

Before the start of play, Clydesdale won the toss and elected to bat.

But once play was under way, it was Greenock who got off to the best of starts with both openers removed within the first four overs.

Gregor Chambers’ pace proved too much for Paddy Barbour who was first to go, leg before wicket (LBW) for just one run in the second over.

Then in the fourth over, Chambers struck again by having Gould caught by Greenock team captain Greg McDougall to leave Clydesdale with just 10 runs on the scoreboard and with both of their opening batsmen gone.

However, these two early wickets were to prove the only successes for Greenock for a very long period in the Clydesdale innings.

Craig Young, fresh from his top score of the season of 81 against West of Scotland, and Berrington came together and the two experienced players were soon building a fine partnership.

Fifty runs were noted on the scoreboard in the 12th over, and just nine overs later the visitors had passed one hundred with both Young and Berrington completely at ease with the Greenock bowling, especially once the opening pace bowlers Sean Fischer-Keogh and Chambers were rested.

The Clydesdale pair built a magnificent partnership of 197 runs before Young was removed LBW for 83 by Greenock’s teenage pace bowling prospect Usman Mansoor in the 36th over.

The wicket came in Mansoor’s own very first over and after play had been suspended in mid-over for a short period due to a rain interruption.

The break in play meant the visitors’ innings was reduced to 47 overs instead of 50 and so slightly more than 10 overs remained to be played by the Clydesdale batsmen when Fawad joined Berrington out in the middle.

Runs continued to flow as Clydesdale set their sights on a massive total. However, the re-introduction of Sean Fischer-Keogh for a third spell of bowling paid immediate dividend when he clean bowled Fawad for 14 with the very first ball of his new spell with the score on 238.

Berrington reached his century to the applause of his team-mates and spectators but just a short time later was bowled by Chambers in the 43rd over for 107 runs with the score on 249.

Mughal and Kasim Farid added a further 20 runs before the visitors’ innings closed on 269 for the loss of five wickets after 47 overs.

Chambers with three wickets for 47 runs from his 10 overs was Greenock’s most successful bowler.

Greenock were without their normal opening pairing of Neil Flack and Jamie Nowell, who were both unavailable, and, after the break between innings, Shailesh Prabhu and Chambers were asked to take on the task by Glenpark captain McDougall.

However, the new partnership failed to fire and with just 16 runs on the scoreboard Prabhu (10) was caught by Berrington off the bowling of Khan in the fifth over of the innings. And worse was to follow, as Chambers (seven) was bowled by Khan in the seventh over and then new batsman Chris Hempsey had his stumps hit by Cairns in the eighth over to leave Greenock on 17 for three.

Number three batsman Harry Briggs stood firm as a further three home batsmen departed before 50 runs were on the board.

Sean Fischer-Keogh and Mansoor were both caught by Berrington while Lukas Fischer-Keogh was caught by Barbour.

An innings best partnership of 67 runs between Briggs and Ewan Stewart put the Greenock innings on to a better footing before Stewart (12) was LBW to Farid.

He had provided a gritty support to Briggs for more than 20 overs. The score was 110 for seven.

With the target of 289 never a possibility, Greenock continued to gain a degree of respectability in their innings as Sam Sanghera and Briggs took the score to 135 before Sanghera (11) was LBW to Jawad.

Briggs was next to go on 160 having batted for 43 overs for his 64 runs, but having held the Greenock innings together.

McDougall was not out 17 as the Greenock innings closed on 169 for nine after 47 overs.

Although never going to overhaul the massive Clydesdale total, Greenock showed some fighting spirit by batting through their innings and denying the league leaders taking all 10 wickets.

Khan was top wicket-taker for Clydesdale with three for 18. Krishna two for 23, Farid two for 37, Cairns one for 20 and Jawad one for 21 were the other wicket-takers for the visitors.

l Greenock Cricket Club is sponsored by Cleaning Supplies 4U.