GREENOCK made the perfect start to their 2022 league programme with an emphatic 65-run win over Anderson East Kilbride on Saturday.

Batting first, Greenock compiled 165 for the loss of seven wickets. But this was from just 30 overs.

The innings was interrupted by a downpour of rain which resulted in the curtailment of what should have been a 50-over innings.

The very localised rain interruption came early in the innings. Greenock had batted for just 5.2 overs when there was a very heavy downpour.

Although the heavy rainfall was brief, it was only after a stoppage which lasted for almost three hours to allow for drying out of the ground that umpires Gavin Gemmell and former Scotland international Majid Haq finally agreed that conditions were suitable to restart.

When play recommenced, the Duckworth Lewis Stern calculation indicated that the Greenock innings would be reduced to just 30 overs. So batting tactics needed altering.

With just a little under 25 overs remaining in the Greenock innings, it now became essential that the Glenpark side’s batsmen scored at a brisk pace immediately from the restart.

Resuming on seven runs without loss, Greenock had an early setback when opening batsman Harry Briggs was caught by Adil Hussain off the bowling of first change bowler David Doyle with the score on just 19.

This brought Ryan Walker out into the middle to join Tom Nicholson and the two young Australians quickly got to grips with the hosts' bowling.

They put on 52 runs before Nicholson, who had been the aggressor in the partnership, was bowled by Muhammad Ramzan for 42.

Walker and Gregor Chambers kept the runs flowing by adding 28 in just six overs before Doyle picked up his second wicket. Chambers was stumped by Gavin Meikle for 16.

At this stage, with 20 overs bowled, Greenock’s score was 99 for the loss of three wickets.

The incoming batsmen now knew that quick runs were needed to take the team's score to as high a number as possible.

In the next two overs 16 runs were scored but two more wickets were lost. Shailesh Prabhu and Chirag Pandher were the batsmen out. Pandher hit a quickfire 10 runs from just half a dozen balls, which included a massive six, before he was caught by Kampman off the bowling of Doyle.

But Walker was still at the crease and batting well and when he was joined by teenager Lukas Fischer-Keogh a fine sixth-wicket partnership was built. The pair put on 31 runs in just six overs as they sought to maximise the runs from the last number of overs.

With just two overs remaining, Walker (44) was out when he was caught off the bowling of Pieterson by Sahil Kakar just short of his half century.

Fischer-Keogh (27) became the seventh wicket down in final stages of the innings when he was bowled by Mo Khan with the score on 158. And with seven runs scored from the final over, Greenock finished on 165 for seven.

Doyle returned the best bowling figures for EK with three for 48 from six overs.

Due to the earlier rain interruption and reduced number of overs of play, the Lanarkshire side were set a DLS target of 174 from 30 overs and got off to the worst possible start to their run chase.

With the very first ball of the innings, Gavin Meikle was run out thanks to a sharp piece of fielding by Tom Nicholson. Then, with just 15 runs on the scoreboard, Stewart Kampman was caught by wicketkeeper Fischer-Keogh off the bowling of Cammy Calder.

Greenock picked up a third wicket with the score on 25 and East Kilbride were in some trouble. A fourth-wicket partnership of 29 runs by Ramzan and Aziz steadied the EK innings but was unable to lift the run rate to the required level. So with just 12 overs of the 30 overs innings remaining EK needed a further 114 runs at a rate of almost 10 runs per over.

Only the middle order trio of Ramzan (43), Izaz (15) and Kakar (14) were able to keep some runs flowing for the home side. But with the latter two removed to leave the home side on 96 for six it was left to Ramzan to put up any final resistance.

The introduction of Ryan Walker into the Greenock bowling attack by team captain Greg McDougall was the key decision in finishing off the Lanarkshire side’s batting.

Firstly he had Ramzan caught by ‘keeper Fischer-Keogh in the 28th over then in the 30th and final over of the match Walker removed Pieterson, Hawkes and Carton in the space of just the first four balls of the over.

East Kilbride were all out for 109.

Wicket-keeper Fischer-Keogh had a fine afternoon with 27 runs and then three catches and two stumpings. But it was Walker with 44 runs and four wickets for 22 runs who was the man of the match.

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