Uddingston 369 for 6 wickets (25 points)

Greenock 141 for 9 wickets (0 points)

GREENOCK were well outplayed by Premier Division defending champions Uddingston at Bothwell Policies on Saturday as the Lanarkshire side rattled up a massive total which the Glenparkers were never likely to reach.

The omens had not been good for Greenock from even before the game got under way.

With a number of first-team players unavailable due to a variety of circumstances, team captain Greg McDougall had hoped to win the all-important toss prior to the start of the match.

But the toss went the way of the home team and, not surprisingly, Uddingston captain Bryan Clarke then chose to bat on the sunniest and warmest Saturday afternoon of the season, and on a wicket which was baked hard and made for run-scoring.

Greenock’s regular opening pace attack of Sean Fischer-Keogh and Gregor Chambers did get the early breakthrough which the team had hoped to achieve.

Chambers removed Zaighum Ahmad for just three runs in the fourth over when the Uddingston opener was adjudged LBW.

The score was just 21 and the Greenock team were encouraged by the first wicket to fall. But it was a false dawn.

Harmanjit ‘Harry’ Singh came in at number three in the batting order to join Mo Awais and the pair quickly developed a partnership which the Greenock bowlers were unable to contain.

In-form Awais, who hit 79 a week ago in Uddingston’s Premier Division win over West of Scotland, and also a magnificent 217 against Poloc at Shawholm in early July, was once again in scintillating form for his side.

The significantly understrength Greenock side toiled manfully in the hot afternoon sun against the two in-form batsmen, but it was a largely joyless task.

McDougall rotated his bowlers as the heat made bowling a tiring business and Awais and Singh scored runs with seeming ease all around the large Bothwell Policies ground.

With four regular 1st XI players missing and several 2nd XI players elevated to playing Premier Division cricket, the Uddingston batsmen ‘made hay’ while Greenock had a long, sweltering afternoon in the field.

The first 50 runs on the scoreboard was achieved in the 10th over and thereafter there was only an acceleration in the run rate. The Lanarkshire side’s hundred came up in the 16th over and 200 in the 31st over. It was all Uddingston.

Having scored a quite brilliant century and then passed 150, Mo Awais was eventually dismissed for 164 in the 39th over when Jamie Nowell held on to a catch off the bowling of team captain McDougall.

The partnership between Awais and Singh had put on 248 runs and taken the score to 269. And with 11 overs still to be bowled, Greenock’s long afternoon was still far from finished.

With Awais gone, a further 56 runs were added before the third wicket fell. Gavin Bradley was the batsman out for 36.

He edged a delivery from pace bowler Sean Fischer-Keogh, who had been brought back into the attack for a third spell, and was caught by Lukas Fischer-Keogh behind the stumps.

New batsman Fergus Clarke was out the very next ball to the very same Fischer-Keogh combination to make it 325 for four.

Two overs later, Singh having just reached his century, became the Fischer-Keogh brothers' third victim. He had scored 106.

Following Singh’s dismissal, a further 31 runs were piled on in the last three overs during which Greenock picked up a consolation sixth wicket when Anthony Thorp (six) was caught by Sean Fischer-Keogh from the bowling of Gregor Chambers with just three balls of the innings remaining.

Ross Lyons was 26 not out as the Uddingston innings closed on 369 for loss of six wickets.

After an energy-sapping 50 overs in the field, and with the largest total of the Premier Division season to chase, it was little wonder that the Greenock team welcomed the interval between innings to try and rest and regroup.

Uddingston were without opening pace bowler Niall Alexander and on this occasion his normal opening bowling partner Abdul Sabri was joined by Tom Willmott.

And just as in the home team’s innings, an early wicket was achieved when Nowell was dismissed with the score on 22 in the fourth over. The Glenpark opener was caught by former Greenockian and Scottish international cricketer Ross Lyons from the bowling of Sabri.

Harry Briggs and Chambers then came together and compiled Greenock’s best partnership of the afternoon. They demonstrated a determination and resilience against the Uddingston attack and added 41 runs before Briggs was caught by Willmott off the bowling of Ahmad for 32.

Jay Janampally, moved up from the 2nd XI, was the third wicket to fall with score on 91 in the 26th over.

He and Chambers had added 28 runs and caused home team captain Bryan Clarke to try a variety of bowlers to obtain a breakthrough.

The wicket of Janampally (seven) with the score on 91, signalled the loss of several Greenock wickets in quite quick succession.

Chambers, who had painstakingly batted for an hour and 42 minutes, and shown an encouraging return to batting form, was the fourth to fall when he became Gul’s second victim of the afternoon.

The scoreboard was showing 96 when Lyons took a good catch to dismiss him for 31 runs.

Then in the space of 10 overs and with only five more runs added to the score, Sean Fischer-Keogh, Chirag Singh, Aryan Sanghera and Ewan Stewart all perished, with the score at 101 for eight in the 37th over.

Determined to make Uddingston work all the way to the end of the 50 overs to capture the last two wickets, McDougall and Lukas Fischer-Keogh frustrated the home bowlers as the overs ticked away.

The ninth wicket pairing put on 34 runs, McDougall being the main contributor with a season personal best of 22 before being bowled by Awais in the 47th over. Teenagers Fischer-Keogh (12 not out) and Usman Mansoor then played out the remaining 18 balls to leave Greenock on 141 for nine at the end.

With just one win from eight, Greenock are currently firmly rooted at the bottom of the Premier Division. But in the weeks ahead, with home matches coming up against fellow relegation contenders Poloc, and Dumfries and an away fixture with Langside, there may well still be an escape route to be found.

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