After the weather forced the abandonment of all but two of the games in Round Five, week six of the Western Premier Division sees bottom play top as Greenock face Clydesdale at Glenpark. It’s been a tough few weeks for Greg McDougall’s side, but he is optimistic that the form which brought them their first victory of the season last Saturday can be carried forward into the remainder of their campaign.
“We played really well against West of Scotland,” he said, “it’s the best we’ve played all year. The wicket was quite tricky at the start – it was doing a bit off the seam so it wasn’t the easiest to bat on right away – but if you played your shots attackingly, that’s when you got most of your rewards.
“That’s what happened when we batted – we came out really strongly and lost our first wicket at around eighty-odd, when in the previous weeks we’d been three or four down at that stage. Neil Flack scored another fifty for us,” he added. “His form is really good at the moment.”
In addition to Flack, who has now scored 203 runs and taken five wickets in the competition, Greenock’s bowling has also been consistent, having put them into some good positions over the course of the season so far.
“Sean Fischer-Keogh, who plays for the Scotland Under-19s, has a great opening partnership with Gregor Chambers,” said Greg. “In the first fifteen overs we’ve been on top in all the weeks we’ve played, really, and Neil’s bowling is improving every week as well. Batting-wise we do rely on him, but there are also players like Harry Briggs, who got 27 not out on Saturday – he took a bit of time, but that was what was required in the situation.
“It’s quite a young team really. I’m thirty and the third-oldest by quite a bit – the next oldest is probably Neil, who’s only twenty-three. But that’s a very good thing for the club, and it was great that we all stood up as a team last week.”
And Greg is hoping for more of the same on Saturday.
“Clydesdale are a very strong outfit this season, as they have been for the last ten years or so,” he said, “but I’m looking forward to facing them. If we perform on the day, we can probably beat most teams in that league, so there’s nothing to fear for us.”
While Greenock were breaking their duck at Hamilton Crescent, Clydesdale endured the first of two weekend abandonments at Langside, with the two sides’ Scottish Cup quarter-final being postponed twenty-four hours after their league game finished with no result. Next at Albert Park is third-placed Ferguslie, for whom Riyaad Henry and Taimoor Ahmad scored unbeaten centuries as their side chased down 250 against Prestwick to halt a run of two straight losses.
Fraser Macdonald’s side visit Shawholm, where Mo Awais scored a remarkable 217 out of Uddingston’s 329 for 6 before their match against Poloc was abandoned at the halfway point. Awais’s innings was the highest-ever in the division in its current form, Twitter’s Western Analyst confirmed, while the Western Warrior also became the sixth WDCU batsman to pass two thousand career runs. After their slow start with the bat this year, Bryan Clarke’s team are finding their form; Dumfries, one place above them in the table, will need to find the best of theirs, too.
The final match of the week is at Hamilton Crescent, where seventh-placed West of Scotland will be looking to get their league campaign back on track against high-flying Stirling County. At 146 for 1, County had looked on course for a big total when the rain swept across New Williamfield last Saturday; it will be fascinating to see if West can turn home advantage into some regained momentum after their tough weekend on the road.
Western Premier Division – 10 July 2021
Greenock v Clydesdale (at Glenpark)
Langside v M8 Driving Ferguslie (at Albert Park)
McCrea FS West of Scotland v SM Cricket Stirling County (at Hamilton Crescent)
Poloc v Prestwick (at Shawholm)
Your Move Dumfries v Tunnock’s Uddingston v Langside (at Nunholm)
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