can the boys topple the table?
Greenock Wanderers face arguably their toughest home test of the season tomorrow when they face title and promotion favourites Allan Glens at Fort Matilda in the British Telecom sponsored West Regional League First Division.
The visitors are currently unbeaten in the league and have amassed an almost perfect haul of points from their nine games played so far. Nine victories have been recorded, all but one of them by securing the try scoring bonus point, which means they sit on forty- four points out of a possible forty- five.
They presently occupy third spot in the table but only because they have played less games than current pace setters Garnock and second placed Carrick.
An excellent scrap is developing at the summit for the solitary promotion slot and with the title almost certainly going to one of the top three they are all focused on winning on a weekly basis to ensure they are not the team to slip up and hand the glory to their competitors.
Glens are a proud and popular old club and a bit like Partick Thistle in a football context are most rugby supporting Glaswegians favourite other team.
They have been out of the limelight for far too long and deserve to be playing at a higher level and most Glens enthusiasts are hoping that this will be their season to secure promotion and get back into the national leagues.
The earlier fixture between the sides in October was unfortunately marred by what initially appeared to be a serious injury to Wanderers starlet Dario Zavaronni. The game was abandoned after 22 minutes while the stricken player was attended to on the field after sustaining what appeared to be a neck and back injury.
Thankfully he walked out of the Victoria infirmary in Glasgow later that evening and has made a full recovery but it was a sensible response by the medics and officials on duty to stop the game to ensure the players health was not unduly risked by unnecessary movement. That fixture has still to be replayed and has been rescheduled for 17 March at the Bearyards in Bishopbriggs.
Wanderers will be itching to get back into action after their most recent fixture away at Kilmarnock was postponed last weekend.
A fortnight ago they pushed current table toppers Garnock all the way at Fort Matilda and were unfortunate to succumb to late pressure and lose the match. The locals posted their best display of the season that day and with confidence high there appears to be no better time to face one of the division’s big guns than tomorrow.
Although the previous encounter between the sides only lasted 22 minutes Wanderers did enough to show that they can compete with Glens and when the match was abandoned the locals were only five points down.
In truth it was a rearguard action for the entire duration but some excellent defence particularly from youngster Brad Cleary on the right wing did much to frustrate the home attack which, for the highest scoring team in the division, seemed surprisingly bereft of ideas as how best to get past Cleary and his colleagues.
Another sterling defensive effort tomorrow is a necessity if Wanderers are to better the more favoured Glaswegians in what would, if the Octavia Terrace men prevailed, be the divisions surprise result of the day.
The locals are definitely improving and in recent weeks have shown some admirable resolve. Head coach Iain Forster has clearly instilled a large dollop of courage and self-belief in his charges over the festive period and there is a new found determination evident in the squad.
Up front skipper Dougie McIntyre will call the shots and he has plenty of experience to count on in the shape of Murray McDonald and Calum Robb.
Australian prop-forward Hugh Davies will also be vital at scrum time as he attempts to get the nudge on the tight-head side and keep Wanderers on the front foot.
The return of experienced scrum –half Michael McLaren has also been a massive fillip for the locals and he will form a talented and tactically aware partnership at the pivot with Ant Devlin.
Strike runner Kieran Smith is back to his barnstorming best and with speedster Chris McCarron joining him in central midfield the Wanderers attack looks potent.
Current league positions would indicate that Glens should be too good but Greenock can raise the bar on occasions and if they can replicate their form from a fortnight ago then they are in with a real chance of causing an upset.