GAVIN Smith, the West of Scotland pace bowler, produced a devastating spell to trigger a second consecutive horror batting collapse by Greenock and clinch a sensational win for the Partick side at Hamilton Crescent.
Smith’s 7-15 included an astonishing burst of five wickets in five balls as Greenock, on course to surpass West’s modest 116, lost their final six wickets for just 12 runs.
His effort drew warm praise from former Scotland star John Blain who brought Smith through the ranks while coaching at West a decade ago.
Blain said: “Gav is a genuine strike bowler – he’s one of these guys who when he gets it right bowls sides out and clearly that’s what he has done against Greenock.
“I’m really pleased for him because he is a genuinely talented bowler. When I first came across him he was a bit disillusioned with the game and was thinking of packing it in.
“But something clicked between us and he started to enjoy the game again and really work at it.”
Earlier Saurabh Bandekar took 6-28 as the Glenpark men claimed the initiative while Rob Corner top-scored with 29 as West’s 116 represented a recovery from 48-6.
Bandekar then appeared to be leading Greenock to a morale-boosting win with 39 until Smith, having claimed four wickets at the end of his previous over, returned to have the Indian pro caught by Lucas Farndale from the first delivery of his next over.
That was the final straw for Greenock who found themselves all out for 94, having been in control at 82-4.
Smith believes West’s prospects are bright for the season ahead, saying: “I think everyone at West feels we should be challenging for silverware this year. We’ve assembled a really good team and have a strong amateur pool which is important.
“I’m delighted with the wickets but funnily enough it’s not my best figures as I once took 8-27 against Kelburne in the old WDCU first division.”
Defeat was another crushing blow for Greenock who seven days earlier had slipped from 41-2 to 50 all out at Drumpellier.
Elsewhere Fraser Macdonald continued his impressive early season form as 2017 champions Prestwick secured a second win at the expense of newcomers East Kilbride.
Macdonald hit a composed 112 from 157 balls as the Ayrshiremen posted 243-8 at Henry Thow Oval before Sachin Chaudhary’s 4-27 clinched a 56-run win, despite Moneeb Iqbal (43) and Umair Khan (41) battling bravely.
Skipper Riyaad Henry claimed 4-13 and Haroon Tahir 3-12 as champions Ferguslie bounced back from last week’s defeat against Uddingston to secure a 58-run win over Drumpellier at Meikleriggs.
Leaders Uddingston proved too strong for Stirling at Bothwell Castle, Hari Singh top-scoring with 75no as the hosts posted 217-7 before completing a 34-run win.
Elsewhere Lesibo Ngoepe’s debut half-century was not enough for Poloc to claim a rare win over local rivals Clydesdale at Titwood.
Instead the South African’s attractive 68, featuring eight boundaries and a maximum, was eclipsed by Scotland’s Richie Berrington whose 82 helped Dale overhaul the visitors’ 200 with three wickets in hand.