It has already been a season to remember for Langside. Having marked its centenary with a first-ever promotion to the top flight in 2019, the Western Premier Division’s newest member followed up a winning start to the campaign with a 16-run victory over near rivals Poloc last Saturday. The team formerly known as Weir’s has been, in author and club stalwart Richard ‘Siggy’ Young’s memorable phrase, a “wee fish biting the bum of the bigger fish around it” for 102 years now, and, for skipper Sameer Zia, that fighting spirit is still very much a part of the fabric of the club as it takes on its greatest challenge yet.
“Playing in the Premier Division for the first time is a tough gig, no doubt about it,” he said. “A lot of our guys have never played in that league or against these big names – we’re playing against the best cricketers from the west of Scotland here.
“Relatively speaking we’re a small club from the southside, and it’s a lot for the guys to go out there and play Premier Division against the likes of Clydesdale, Ferguslie, Prestwick and Uddingston who have been playing there for many, many years.
“But it’s a learning experience every time we play, and we are targeting those teams towards the bottom end of the table. A lot of the sides that come up from Division One go straight back down having never won a game, so it’ll be a win for us if we manage to survive.”
Langside’s opening-day victory at Greenock, powered by Zeeshan Khan’s 103, was followed by defeats to Stirling County, Uddingston, Prestwick and Ferguslie, but with the all-rounder stepping up again with 4 for 24 against Poloc, the club is now well-placed within that lower-table pack.
“We probably need to win two more games to be able to say to ourselves that we are eighty to ninety percent sure of safety,” said Sameer, “so this is a big week for us, and I’m sure Dumfries have been keeping as much of an eye on it as we have. We are playing at home which gives us an advantage, and I’m really looking forward to it.
“If we manage to win this one, we’ll have a third win under our belt, and that would be great.”
But equally significant have been the changes off the field, with the Weir Engineering Group transferring ownership of the club’s Albert Park ground to the Langside Sports Club last summer. Any sadness at the loss of the team’s traditional name has been tempered by the gains in its long-term security, however, and a number of improvements are already starting to take shape.
“There are a lot of good things happening,” explained Sameer. “We have bought new covers, we plan to put in an electronic scoreboard, we have a plan to refurbish the clubhouse which will be starting very soon, and we’re putting in new nets as well, so it’s all going well since we became part of the sports complex.
“It’s just great news for the club.”
Western Premier Division – 24 July 2021
SM Cricket Stirling County v Clydesdale (at New Williamfield)
Langside v Your Move Dumfries (at Albert Park)
M8 Driving Ferguslie v Poloc (at Meikleriggs)
Prestwick v McCrea FS West of Scotland (at Henry Thow Oval)
Tunnock’s Uddingston v Greenock (at Bothwell Castle Policies)
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