IMAGE: DAVID POTTER
WEST of Scotland will tomorrow attempt to step-up their title bid when they visit in-form Poloc for an eagerly anticipated Glasgow derby at Shawholm.
The early pacesetters recovered impressively from their first defeat of the campaign to beat Stirling a week ago but, as the season enters the second half, the Hamilton Crescent troops are wary of the threat posed by a Poloc side who have recovered from a difficult start to carve out three consecutive wins.
West skipper Ian Young said: “The team showed great spirit to bounce back from the defeat against Ferguslie. We prepared really well for last week’s game and stuck to our plans.
“We know Poloc have a couple of dangerous players but I think overall we will go into the game confident of getting a result although we know it will be a very tough test.
“We believe we can push on and be title contenders and it’s shaping up to be an exciting second half of the season.”
While West pick from a settled squad, Poloc go into the clash missing several key players. Zaighum Ahmad continues to serve a ban, Kess Sajjad contracted chickenpox while on duty with Scotland U19s in midweek while Ahmad Chaudhry is injured.
Despite recent good result a Poloc spokesman declared: “West go into the match as favourites and Poloc will have to play at their best as a unit to take anything from it.”
It is also derby day in Lanarkshire where leaders Uddingston make the short journey to Coatbridge to meet a Drumpellier side keen to build on last week’s win over East Kilbride.
Bryan Clarke, the Uddingston captain, is wary of dangerous opponents and said: “Drumps are always very competitive at home but we’re in pretty good form and have a settled look.”
Champions Ferguslie, having been skittled for just 67 against Prestwick a week ago, restored self-belief 24-hours later with a thumping Scottish Cup win over Renfrew in which Taimoor Ahmad scored 126 and Haroon Tahir claimed 8-23 and the Meikleriggs men will start favourites to win their home clash with a Clydesdale side who have slipped to fifth in the table.
Ferguslie skipper Riyaad Henry, whose team are playing catch-up in fourth place, said: “I think every game is now very important for us so we are all up for it and will give it our best shot in the second half.”
Prestwick, the team who inflicted last week’s misery on Ferguslie, travel to Stirling knowing that victory will maintain the pressure on leaders Uddingston.
Skipper Tom Fleet declared: “Last week’s win gives us great confidence going into the second half of the season.”
It is make-or-break time for East Kilbride and Greenock, one of whom will celebrate a first victory of the campaign when the sides meet at Torrance House but defeat could have disastrous consequences even with eight games still to be played.
Both sides also suffered the midweek disappointment of quarter-final defeats in the McCulloch Cup so are desperate for a morale-booster.