As the battle for supremacy at the top of the Western Premier Division moves towards its latter stages, so that at the other end of the table is beginning its crescendo too. While Langside all but guaranteed the continuation of their top flight status with victory over Greenock last weekend, the other two teams in the relegation mix know that every point from now on in is going to be vital.
Less than one percent separates Dumfries and Poloc after their meeting ended in a 30-run victory for the latter last Saturday, and after giving leaders Clydesdale an almighty scare the week before, the Shawholm side is taking form as well as confidence into the division’s final weeks.
“It was a great win,” said Andrew Mallichan. “The boys played really, really well. It’s good that we now have a bit more consistency in our availability, which has been our biggest problem throughout the year with COVID and illnesses and everything else, but we’ve managed to get a few weeks with more of our players available, and it paid off for us with that win over Dumfries.
“We’ve been scrapping all season, fighting against stronger teams than us, to be honest, but on any given day we can beat just about anyone. We have good, talented cricketers at Poloc, and when things fall our way we’re certainly good enough.
“I wasn’t surprised that we pushed Clydesdale,” he added. “I knew we would have a chance, and I’m confident the boys can get the wins we need to stay in the division.”
With games against Greenock and Langside to come, Poloc has, at least on paper, an easier run-in than Dumfries, who are still to play three of the top four, beginning with Clydesdale this weekend. Greenock face a similarly tough assignment at home to second-placed Ferguslie: if Poloc can upset the form book at Hamilton Crescent, the pressure will be mounting on their relegation rivals.
“Over the next few weeks we’re definitely looking to target our games against Langside and Greenock,” said Andrew. “They’re games we really need to win to have any chance of staying up. But I think we have a good chance against West of Scotland as well – we’ll push them right to the edge as we did Clydesdale, I’m sure.
“The table doesn’t lie,” he concluded. “West have been a better team than us throughout the course of the season, but on our day, we can definitely get the result.”
Elsewhere, Langside travel to New Williamfield, while Uddingston, in fourth, entertain third-placed Prestwick in what is a must-win game for both if they are to keep up the pressure on Clydesdale and Ferguslie at the top of the standings.
Western Premier Division – 14 August 2021
Greenock v M8 Driving Ferguslie (at Glenpark)
McCrea FS West of Scotland v Poloc (at Hamilton Crescent)
SM Cricket Stirling County v Langside (at New Williamfield)
Tunnock’s Uddingston v Prestwick (at Bothwell Castle Policies)
Your Move Dumfries v Clydesdale (at Nunholm)
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